Even though Patrick Holt's anti-hero was wooden and didn't really make you care about his plight this movie got a lot of praise in it's day - Honor Blackman as his harassed but cool wife elevated proceedings and Alfred Shaughnessy in his directorial debut made it brisk and efficient. Quite densely plotted about the sexual activities among the middle class it has Holt as Paul Pearson, newspaper editor and "family man" - in fact the opening scene explores the duality as a pair of shadowy legs creep down the stairs, furtive with gun in hand but it is only Pearson playing cowboys and indians with his son. A secret phone call between him and Diana (Naomi Chance) reveals his double life - but someone else knows, it is his nosy neighbour from across the street who often listens into the party line and can't wait for him to get his comeuppance!! He has quite a bit to hide as well - it seems that his dalliance with Diana has been going on for years and friend Bill often has to supply him with alibis!! On this occasion he asks whether Lyn (Blackman) knows about his gambling debts - she doesn't!! More secrets!! The alibi usually involves a card evening but things go wrong when Lyn rings and while on the phone Bill notices through a mirror that his partner is cheating at cards. A schuffle breaks out and Bill is stabbed - with the knife Paul has left behind after confiscating it from his son!!
The police visit and the truth about the affair comes out - Paul is now
banking on Diana giving him a truthful alibi - the only problem is Paul
had threatened her with harm if she reveals their meetings. A thoroughly
nice chap - NOT!! So initially she lies to the police but when she realises
the gravity of the charges she is keen to put things right - but someone
wants her to maintain the deception!!
Even if you are never in sympathy with Holt's character, "To-Day's Cinema"
called it "an hour of very honest enjoyment". Alfred Shaugnessy may have
only directed four films but they were all good ones. He later turned to
writing and was a main stay of "Upstairs, Downstairs".
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