User Reviews (11)

Add a Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Inspector Lawton (Dennis Price) and Sgt Todd (Rex Garner) investigate a series of murders, in which well off young women are being attacked and robbed after leaving London's trendy nightclubs in the wee small hours. Lawton's younger sister, Joan (Peggy Evans) is engaged to be married to a hard up novelist called Teddy King (Philip Saville) and Lawton is shocked when the evidence points to him as being the killer. However, in a showdown at the docks, it transpires that Teddy has a twin brother who turns out to be the culprit.

    Overall, Murder At 3AM is a competent British b-pic that more than served its purpose at the time - to fill the lower half of the double bill and to enable British studios to fill their quota of movies, which The Cinematograph Act of 1927 passed by parliament stated they had to produce. Films like this became known as quota-quickies for that reason and the greater majority of them had a reputation for being awful but from time to time you did get the odd gem that sometimes outshone the main feature. This particular film was released as the supporting feature to Genevieve in 1953. I remember reading a review for this film somewhere stating that it was among the worst of these films made at that time but having seen it I would say that it was competent and entertaining if only in an undemanding way. Mainly because the story is simply your run-of-the-mill murder mystery and there is nothing for which the film can claim any originality and the motive behind the crimes when it comes leaves you thinking "Yeah so what?" I was attracted to it because of the presence of the late but great Dennis Price who sadly gets very little to do here in the role of a Scotland Yard detective but then again the film did not really demand much. The film's best performance comes from Leonard Sharp in a light comedy relief role as an elderly sailor who assists Lawton in tracking down the killer's hideout on the docks. But Old Skip is only willing to help when he is bribed with brandy from Sgt Lawton's hip flask who is annoyed when at the end of it he has none left for himself. The film was directed by quota-quickie specialist, Francis Searle, who keeps the proceedings moving along at a brisk pace ensuring that the audience was kept mildly entertained for the hour and it does not looked as rushed as a number of these pictures all too often did.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A nice little British thriller with an interesting plot and a good cast but a bit rough round the edges. Look out for (well you can't really miss) the super-sized calendar on the wall in Inspector Lawton's (Dennis Price's) office displaying the date - NOV 11. It was obviously made that way to draw attention to the date, but it's a big TOO big, suggesting that Scotland Yard were all short-sighted. Character actor Leonard Sharp overdoes it somewhat as brandy-guzzling 'Old Skip' who despite his boast that he operates and lives on a boat appears to reside in an old shed. Philip Savile gets to play two parts who are supposed to be half-brothers (not twins) but look exactly the same, except one (the villain) wears a beret - so he must be up to no good! The ending is somewhat rushed, and a bit bizarre, where the bad brother is overpowered the other (even though the brother is wearing handcuffs) and then falls through a window and lands in The Thames but no one bothers to go after him. Perhaps they were planning a sequel?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This thriller has Dennis Price, unusually, playing the part of a detective. He is in charge of a case of a serial killer attacking women in the early hours of the morning, as they leave various nightclubs.

    Dennis Price plays Inspector Lawson who enlists the help of his best friend to help unravel the case.

    His friend, Edward King, played by Phillip Saville, comes up with a theory that the murderer is using the initials from various nightclubs to spell out the name of his next club.

    After following numerous red herrings, including suspecting the inspectors closest friend, the murderer turns out to be his friends long lost twin brother!

    A cheap and cheerful quickie spoilt by the overuse of organ music that belongs to the silent era.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Scotland Yard is baffled (aren't they always??) by a series of attacks on wealthy women, each of the victims are seen leaving exclusive clubs, they are tracked to their homes where they are then left for dead after being robbed of their valuables. This nifty little crime drama throws the viewer in at the deep end instantly, a woman is murdered, the clock strikes 3 am and a rather nervous man is trying to explain why he was late again to his annoyed girl friend. He goes home when, in the shadowy room, a girl's arm is seen draped over a chair!! Conventionality kicks in and the man is revealed as a policeman and the girl, his sister, who has stayed up to tell him of her engagement to a moody crime writer.

    Quota quickies had been around since the 1930s as part of a British drive to boost the flagging film industry but after the war, ticket prices dropped in an effort to once again get people back to the cinemas. But the public wanted more and the question was asked "What's on with it"!! A lot of the time cheap films looked exactly what they were but occasionally terrific little movies came along and "Murder at 3am" was one of them.

    Whilst the cast is a small one, everyone looms as a suspect. Teddy, Joan's fiancé, being a crime writer hits upon a novel approach and the police are willing to listen to any lead!! With each woman seen leaving a different club, by spelling out the first letters of each club, it begins to give the police a clue as to where the killer will strike next - the only trouble is he doesn't!! Inspector Peter Lawton (who is still a suspect in the viewer's eyes as played by a debonair Dennis Price) is wondering - could it be Teddy or even an inside job!! Suddenly one of the survivors identifies a photo slipped into an identikit by an over-zealous constable and the action accelerates.

    The big surprise for me is that this was Peggy Evan's last film. She was not only in the almost cult "quota quickie" "Penny and the Pownall Case"(1947) but was memorable as Dirk Bogarde's increasingly anxious girl friend in "The Blue Lamp" (1950). These two should have given her a reasonable career but she only made 10 movies. She did live a long life but retired way too early!
  • MURDER AT 3AM is a short and cheap British crime film, directed by the one and only Francis Searle - a man who made more low budget films than any other, seemingly. I wonder what he would have done with a real budget? This stolid little film is notable only for featuring a lead role for Dennis Price, one of the biggest name stars to appear in one of Searle's films.

    The story is about a serial killer on the loose who makes a habit of murdering women on the street at precisely 3 am. The police desperately search for patterns and soon discover links to a local shipyard and gradually - very gradually - they work to bringing the murderer to justice.

    Sadly, MURDER AT 3AM just isn't very good as a crime film. The crime aspects are kept limited and the police procedural stuff is by rote. Price can do nothing with his part and only Leonard Sharp shines as the booze-addled old skipper who helps to solve the crime. The finale features a silly plot twist which is impossible to take seriously.
  • Dennis Price stars as a Scotland Yard police inspector who with sidekick Sergeant Rex Garner gets an assignment to find out who is doing a series of murders on women coming home from nightclubs in and around three o'clock in the morning. As it is barely an hour we don't get too much in the way of character development and no real great reason why the killer is doing what he's doing.

    These B films as they would be called here are called 'quota quickies' on the other side of the pond. Accent on the quickie here because this film sure has a hurried quality to it. The producers just wanted to get this one off the assembly line and before the British movie-going public in a big hurry.

    Complicating things is the fact that Price has a sister played by Peggy Evans who is going out with Philip Savile who comes under suspicion. Of course there's a real good reason why he's under suspicion, but I'll save that in case one wants to see it.

    I have to warn you that the copy I rented from Amazon has some horrible sound quality. I hope the public when they saw it in the theaters wasn't similarly inconvenienced.
  • Denis Price is visibly aging from the lean and furtive looking young leading man of the forties to the jaded spivs he later made his comeback as in this very low budget police procedural that manages a bizarre final twist despite clocking in at only an hour in length.

    The low budget, general air of amateurishness and bizarre organ score by Eric Spear actually makes the film authentically creepier than better budgeted films of its era (enhanced by atmospheric photography by S.D.Onions). Making the killer motivated purely by robbery for his early morning attacks on unprotected women doesn't ring true, though (especially as Price himself had played a thinly-disguised Neville Heath a few years earlier in 'Holiday Camp').
  • B Movies, in this case D or E movies do not come much better to British lovers of old long forgotten gems of which this is a crackerjack. It Has all the ingredients to delight, a terrible central lead, a silly plot, a villain known as MISTER X, and a mystery you will never see it coming twist ending, that is outrageously terrible. The second unit photography of London streets and scenes, that centers on the Thames river scene of 65 years ago is an entertainment in it's own, while the plot is like a watered down saturday morning serial, and all the more marvelous for it. I loved this movie, it is a hoot, a classic when terrible is actually wonderful. Do watch and do enjoy!
  • Police inspector Dennis Price is called on to investigate a string of murders. The victims are women, their jewelry and cash is taken, and the murders always take place about 3AM. As the investigation advances, he comes to believe the perpetrator is Philip Saville, the boyfriend of his sister, Peggy Evans.

    It's a cheap quota quicky directed by uninspired director Francis Searle. Price doesn't offer much in the way of an interesting performance. He is too unemotional and efficient, with no sign of brilliance, resulting in something like a procedural movie; it's a type of mystery that doesn't appeal to me. In addition, Eric Spear has provided an overwrought score performed on the organ that is downright annoying.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A killer is attacking women he trails from night clubs and always at Inspector Lawton investigates the crimes and finds his task more complicated by his sister Joan's boyfriend becoming a suspect.Eventually the truth turns out to be something different. It's not an exciting film, too much talk, and the twist at the end comes out of nowhere and doesn't add much. There is a little location filming by the picturesque River Thames but mostly it is studio bound.

    Inspector Lawton is played by Dennis Price and he basically walks through the part supported blandly by Rex Garner playing the dour Sergeant Todd. Peggy Evans acts the part of Joan as best she can but it's a thinly written role.Leonard Sharp as Old Skip hams it up but he is entertaining. On the whole a routine movie.
  • This film seems to have been made in the smallest film studio ever.In one scene there are 4actors crammed in what seems to be a broom cupboard..When they take to a boat on the river there is no attempt at back projection,merely a black background.The story is feeble and poorly constructed and doesn't make a great deal of sense.Dennis Price is unable to salvage anything from it.