The Impersonator (1961)

  |  Mystery

The Impersonator (1961) Poster

In a small English town a schoolmistress meets a sergeant from the nearby U.S. airforce base and they decide on a date. When they miss each other at a cafe as arranged, a train of events is... See full summary »


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26 February 2010 | robert-connor
| Mummy?
When a USAF sergeant stationed on a base in England is suspected and then accused of murdering a woman, both he and a local school teacher must race to clear his name and find the real killer.

Fascinating mix of pedestrian acting, atmospheric scenes and period themes in this British B movie. All the action occurs against the backdrop of how a small, provincial English town exists alongside a US air base. Mostly depicted as drunken revellers, the USAF flyers are viewed with irritation and eventual hostility by the local townsfolk. Added to this is an interesting depiction of a working single mother, balancing parenthood, running a business and trying to chase some semblance of a social life - all credit to Burke here, as she captures Mrs. Lloyd's strengths and vulnerability in equal measure. The central relationship between Crawford's Sgt. Jimmy Bradford and Griffiths's prim school teacher lacks credibility, although whether this is due to performance or the extreme differences in character etc. is open to debate.

In lots of ways this is just a standard 'wrong man' procedural, yet there are a number of elements that raise it above the mundane - the eerie lighting and sound during the two evening scenes in the town's municipal gardens; the relish with which the murderer approaches his victim - almost drooling and glistening with depraved pleasure; the sweetness of the children enjoying the pantomime and most of all an astonishing performance by John Dare as the little boy caught up in a nightmare. A more natural performance by a child actor would be hard to find - witness the delight on his face as he watches the pantomime, his sadness and bewilderment momentarily forgotten, and best of all the simple sequence where he wakes up, crawls out of bed and wanders around the house looking for his mother, gradually realising that for the first time in his young life his mother isn't there. This sequence alone is worth the 'price of admission' and all credit to Shaughnessy for creating such an extraordinarily moving, even shattering scene.

Not a masterpiece by any means then, but definitely worth a look.

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