4 September 2015 | Spikeopath
I like poodles!
Beyond This Place (AKA: Web of Evidence) is directed by Jack Cardiff and adapted to screenplay by Ken Taylor from the A.J. Cronin novel. It stars Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Emlyn Williams, Bernard Lee and Jean Kent. Music is by Douglas Gamley and cinematography by Wilkie Cooper.
Paul Mathry (Johnson) was evacuated from Liverpool to America during WWII. Twenty years later he is back in Liverpool believing his father had died a hero during the conflict. The reality is that his father, Patrick (Lee), has been serving a prison sentence for the murder of his pregnant mistress. But something doesn't seem right about the trial, so Paul does a little digging...
Not a great deal to get excited about here, it's a routine mystery - cum - thriller, that is based in Liverpool (not London as some reviewers elsewhere seem to think) but drafts in two American name actors to supposedly perk things up. It never really gets off the ground for dramatic impact, sending Johnson on a mission of truth and justice without ever really putting him in jeopardy. While his relationship with Miles' troubled Lena Anderson is a subplot of no consequence, as is her back story which is sad but isn't given any dramatic heft.
On the plus side is oodles of noirish atmosphere, various camera workings of substance and scene staging that lift proceedings. Night scenes are suitably cloaked with an air of unease, be it blinking pelican lights or spinning shadow lamps, Cardiff and Cooper get the most out of the meagre budget. Other sequences see a shot through distorted glass and one excellent one that has Kent framed in striped surroundings - while she is wearing a leopard skin coat, the contrast of which suits her character perfectly.
Value here for noir visualists, but instantly forgettable once the berserker finale has played itself out. 6/10
Tidbid: James Bond fans will note that it sees Lee and Geoffrey Keen together, they both would later feature in a number of Bond movies.