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  • This is one of the 369 films included in Micheal F Keaney's excellent British Film Noir Guide. He gives it three stars out of five. Originally made as theatrical B features, the Edgar Wallace titles, forty-seven in all, were sold as an anthology series to TV. If, like me, you were born in 1961 or thereabouts , they were a familiar late night treat back in pre-video days when there were only three channels. Not all of them, according to Keaney, qualify as noir. This one certainly does. John Carson plays the spurned lover of Justine Lord (who is given many close-ups by James Wilson's excellent camera) while Anthony Bate plays the justifiably wary husband. The plot is unusual, and the tension mounts, as Carson plays a dangerous psychological game. Twenty minutes in (the entire film is 62 minutes) you might think you know where this is going but the plot takes some interesting turns. Fans of British noir will enjoy it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This may be included in the Edgar Wallace Mysteries set but it garnered high praise at the time from critics, even scoring a thumbs up from the prestigious Films and Filming.

    It starts ambiguously with some sexy banter between Ann and Tim - Tim trying to persuade her to return to the West End in his new play "you're miscast here among the plants and chickens"!! A stoical Ralph (Anthony Bates) looks on - for now, Ann is content to be his wife and they have been planning a holiday house swap - which goes horribly wrong. Thinking they're getting a posh West End flat with London views, they get the run around - a bogus address and their own stately home being fleeced of all it's valuables (even the police sneer at "people who happily hand over their keys to strangers"). However by the time the Longmans arrive home the contents have been mysteriously restored!!

    But things are all wrong - Ann's beloved garden has been vandalized, the chickens and pet canary have been poisoned and during a riotous party one of the drunken guests stumbles on their little dog - dead. I think the one hole in this story is that they don't immediately suspect Tim who was the only person who knew the deep affection that Ann felt for the garden and her little peke. Certainly not the people who were going to house-sit, the very working class Dandy Nichols and Duncan Lewis - what would they be doing with posh digs in the theatre district!! - alarm bells should have been raised!! Ann can't cope with anything and goes rushing off to - Tim, who she had had an affair with before her marriage. Ralph does some sleuthing when he finds out from the police that another house in the area had been burgled by the same "house swap gang" which starts him thinking - why was their house spared? It leads him to a shady antique dealer who finally admits their house had been targeted but a man returning for his overnight bag had stopped them in their tracks!!

    Some fabulous scenes - the opening shot as Tim pursues Ann through the garden, a scene in which Ann is dressing for bed, she is chatting but there is no response, someone trips over in the dark - but it's only Ralph. Ann's face has ran the myriad of emotions. And because of Ann and Tim's theatricality Ralph comes across as taciturn and moody, making him a good red herring!! Also for a cheap production, Tim's flat was incredibly stylish with a elongated couch and a long narrow glass top coffee table that really made the seductive scenes between Ann and Tim pretty suggestive!!

    Both John Carson (the man with the James Mason voice) and Anthony Bate could play their roles in their sleep - they are in top form here. Justine Lord was terrific as the shallow and weak Ann. In lots of series she was often pretty window dressing but here she shows real acting depth. After this, TV director Alan Bridges was compared to Losey and Antonioni but he never reached those heights - his big movies were "The Return of the Soldier" and "The Shooting Party" from the 1980s.

    Very, very recommended!!