Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom/USA, 1954. Victor Hanbury Productions, Sidney Cohn. Screenplay by Harold Buchman, Carl Foreman, based on the novel by Maurice Moiseiwitsch. Cinematography by Harry Waxman. Produced by Victor Hanbury. Music by Malcolm Arnold. Production Design by John Stoll. Costume Design by Evelyn Gibbs. Film Editing by Reginald Mills.
This poorly assembled Joseph Losey thriller plays like a cheap version of the later film Cast A Dark Shadow, which also starred Dirk Bogarde as a charismatic madman. After psychotherapist Alexander Knox is attacked by a psychotic thief (Bogarde), he decides to invite him into his home and treat him instead of turning him over to the police. Knox makes him feel as welcome as possible, not restricting his movement or judging his behaviour but hoping to get at the core of what makes the man bad. Unfortunately, Bogarde is not inspired to be the best he can be, frequently sneaking out of the house to cause mischief, eventually bringing home the law in the form of a frustrated Hugh Griffith. Meanwhile, his cruel treatment of Knox’s lonely wife Alexis Smith instigates a love affair between them that has her make plans to run away with him. Besides the uninspiring performances from a cast of either disinterested or, in Knox’s case, not particularly charismatic actors, this one’s preposterous narrative is almost impossible to swallow and the lack of exciting drama really doesn’t help save it.