29 April 2017 | boblipton
A Carol Reed Mystery
Nurse Margaret Lockwood is acquitted of killing her patient by poison -- we see the woman commit suicide, so that's fine. However, when her next patient dies under almost identical circumstances, can she escape the hangman's noose?
Twentieth Century-Fox spared no expense for their British production of this movie. They hired director Carol Reed and a fabulous cast, including Margaret Lockwood, Barry Barnes, Emlyn Williams, Roger Livesy, Basil Radford.... well, the list of performers whose name you'd recognize goes on and on. Sidney Giliat wrote the screenplay. Unfortunately, there are some problems with that script. There is never any doubt as to Miss Lockwood's innocence, and the attempt to do a Hitchcock-style thriller is weakened, both by the lack of Hitchcock's black humor and much of a sense of trying to hide from the police. Most of the actual action takes place while Miss Lockwood is in prison and on trial.
Without comparing it to other works, how does it stand on its own, as a mystery and courtroom drama? Pretty good. There seems a very real chance until the very end that Miss Lockwood will be found guilty, and the way she is acquitted is very clever. All the performers do a fine job and Carol Reed's direction is impeccable. I might have been happier if her guilt had been left in doubt; from my viewpoint, not showing the first patient kill herself might have better served the movie's suspense. However, there is still plenty of excellence to go around.