12 October 2009 | robert-temple-1
Superior British noir ruined by ridiculous ending
There is a strict rule with IMDb reviews not to reveal the ending, so that shall remain undescribed. Up until that point, this is a very solid post-War British noir. American actor Lloyd Bridges plays a former American army captain who returns to England six years after the end of the War to renew a romance with his old flame, played by Moira Lister. She has become involved with a petty criminal and has been blackmailed by him when she tried to break off with him a year earlier. There are some good atmospheric shots down along the Thames in the East End of London at now-vanished riverside locations; it is ironical that much of what survived the German bombing has been destroyed in the past twenty years by developers, and the only way to see it now is in old movies like this one. Rachel Roberts, in her second film, plays a barmaid at the Spread Eagle pub in the East End. She was later to marry Rex Harrison, and she became a favourite British film actress in the 1960s, her most famous role being in 'This Sporting Life' (1963). She committed suicide in 1980 at the age of only 53. The 'limping man' of the title is a mysterious limping sniper who assassinates Lister's man friend on the runway at London airport, just as Bridges turns and asks him for a light for his cigarette. The police eventually discover the coincidence of Bridges being present at the murder of the man who had been involved with Lister, whom Bridges then visits, so that it all looks like a complicated conspiracy. But Bridges, like all square-jawed American heroes, is innocent, of course. However, what is Moira Lister's role in all of this? And why does she act so strange? What is really going on? It is a really good yarn, but then, as I have already pointed out and as other reviewers have also loudly complained, there is an absurd ending which infuriates the viewer, which is why so many reviewers have been highly upset. If you can brace yourself for that disappointment, the film is well worth watching.