EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LONG MEMORY, THE (director/writer: Robert Hamer; screenwriter: from the novel by Howard Clewes/Frank Harvey; cinematographer: Harry Waxman; editor: Gordon Hales; music: William Alwyn; cast: John Mills (Phillip Davidson), John McCallum (Supt. Bob Lowther), Elizabeth Sellars (Fay Lowther), Eva Bergh (Ilse), Geoffrey Keen (Craig), Michael Martin-Harvey (Jackson), John Chandos (Boyd), John Slater (Pewsey), Thora Hird (Mrs. Pewsey), John Glyn-Jones (Gedge), Vida Hope (Alice Gedge), Harold Lang (Boyd's chauffeur), Fred Johnson (Driver); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hugh Stewart; Hollywood's Best; 1953-UK)|
|"A well-crafted and acted Brit
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A well-crafted and acted Brit film noir, though downbeat.
It's based on the 1951 novel by Howard Clewes and co-written by Frank Harvey and director Robert
School for Scoundrels"/"The
Scapegoat"). The revenge
thriller is fueled by the desperate protagonist being too gentle to
exact his punishment on those that did him wrong.
An embittered Phillip
Davidson (John Mills) is released from prison after serving 12
years for a murder he did not commit, and goes to live on a rundown
barge in a muddy Thames estuary. Honest
Supt. Bob Lowther (John
McCallum) orders him followed
fearing he will go after the three witnesses he claims are liars. The three witnesses--Fay Driver (Elizabeth Sellars), now the wife of Lowther and mother of a
young son; Fay's drunken
criminal father, now deceased; and ex-boxer Pewsey (John
Slater)--lied as witnesses at Phillip's trial, resulting in his
conviction of the murder of Stephen Boyd (John Chandos)--whose unrecognizable body
was recovered from a burning building.
While Phillip tracks down the
witnesses, he will eventually discover that racketeer Boyd faked his
death and is now operating on the London docks under the name of George
Berry. While the cold-hearted opportunistic Fay, confesses to hubby
that she lied to protect her elderly craven father (Fred Johnson). Hubby tells her that it will be awkward
for him, but she must tell Scotland Yard the truth to correct a
horrible injustice even if she will be charged with perjury and he will
have to resign the position he so coveted.
There are just too many plot
conveniences and too many improbable events in the climax to keep
things real. There's also a contrived romance, that sticks out like
a sore thumb, between lost-soul abused drifter foreigner Ilse (Eva Bergh) and the always angry anti-social Phillip.
woman gets down on her hands and knees to scrub the floors of Phillip's
barge and rekindle human feelings again in the reluctant lover through
her unconditional love, as her love overcomes his hate to make him
human again. Though it's flawed as drama, it works just
fine as a moving observation
of the pain caused by loss and
how vengeance if not examined
properly can turn one into a monster.
Mills, the key to whether the
film works or not, is decent in the role as the sympathetic tortured
soul, who survives all his misfortunes to get a chance to have a fresh
start in life.
REVIEWED ON 2/8/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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