Time Without Pity (1957)

  |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Time Without Pity (1957) Poster

The day before a young man is to be executed for killing his girlfriend, his alcoholic father shows up to try to prove his innocence.


6.8/10
1,215

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24 August 2006 | Bunuel1976
7
| TIME WITHOUT PITY (Joseph Losey, 1957) ***
Rather hysterical but engrossing and very well-acted melodrama (particularly by Michael Redgrave, a BAFTA nominee, and Leo McKern), ostensibly a murder mystery but with a manifest position against capital punishment.

Interestingly, the culprit is known from the very beginning but, saddled with an alcoholic hero, one is never sure whether he'll be able to prove his son's innocence of murder; the denouement, then, is terrific - as unexpected as it is ironic. Losey's expressionist style (aided by Freddie Francis's chiaroscuro cinematography) is in full sway here: actually, according to film critic Gerard Legrand - writing in "The Movie" - this was the film were the director really came into his own; I can't vouch for that myself since I have yet to watch three important films he made earlier i.e. THE PROWLER (1951) and M (1951), both Hollywood productions, and THE SLEEPING TIGER (1954), Losey's first effort following his relocation to Britain.

It's undeniably a powerful film though relatively verbose (it was adapted from a play by Emlyn Williams); like I said, Losey drives his actors to fever pitch and he has chosen a most capable cast - including Ann Todd, Alec McCowen, Peter Cushing, Renee' Houston, Lois Maxwell, Joan Plowright, Peter Copley and Richard Wordsworth! The only false note throughout, perhaps, is to be found in the score by Tristram Cary - which is so over-the-top that, at times, it even drowns out the dialogue!

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