|ESCAPE (director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; screenwriters: Philip Dunne/based on the novel/play by John Galsworthy; cinematographer: Frederick A. Young; editor: Alan L. Jaggs; music: William Alywyn; cast: Rex Harrison (Matt Denant), Peggy Cummins (Dora Winton), William Hartnell (Inspector Harris), Betty Ann Davies (Girl in Park), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Pinkem), Maurice Denham (Crown Counsel), Jill Esmond (Grace Winton), Norman Wooland (Minister), Frederick Piper (Brownie - convict), Cyril Cusack (Rodgers), John Slater (Salesman), George Woodbridge (Farmer Browning), Patrick Troughton (Jim); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Perlberg; Twentieth Century Fox; 1948-UK)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Uninteresting remake of Basil
Dean’s Escape! (1930).
It's directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
("The Honey Pot"/"Guys and Dolls"/"Julius
Caesar"), who tries to bring it up to date. The film
is based on John Galsworthy 1926 play on the
legal system's rigidity.
Hyde Park, former WWII pilot, Matt Denant (Rex
Harrison), converses with a prostitute. A policeman
arrives and starts roughly pushing her around. Matt
defends her and in the ensuing struggle pushes the
policeman on the ground. The policeman's head hits the
ground and he's accidentally killed. At the trial Matt
is found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to
three years in Dartmoor Prison. It leads to
Matt's prison escape, whereby he's hidden by the
socialite Dora Winton (Peggy Cummins) who feeds and
clothes him. Matt rebuffs her attempts to get him to
return to prison, as he vows to never return and makes
plans to flee to France with a little help from
friends. But his plans fall apart when an engineer
sells him out for the reward money. When pursued by
Inspector Harris (William Hartnell) he ducks into a
church for sanctuary. But as the cops close in he
surrenders in the church rather than have the kindly
minister (Norman Wooland) put in an
awkward position of not telling the police the truth.
Dora vows to wait for him.
Harrison gives a good performance, the pic was too
predictable and filled with too much artificial
inspiration to ring out with the usual noir film
delights it should have been entitled to.
REVIEWED ON 9/21/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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