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Richard Llewellyn's adaptation of his own play is something of a transatlantic compromise. Calleia, a vicious Mafia-style gangster nastier than Edward G Robinson ever was in his heyday, heads a profitable black market racket in post-war Soho, throwing vicious tantrums and pursuing his hedonistic pleasures (ex-girlfriends get knuckledustered and dumped in the Thames) while his partner, a cheery Cockney wide-boy (Patrick), takes care of the business end. His comeuppance - brought about when an intrepid girl reporter (Landis) stirs up trouble, and her ex-army husband (Farr) leads troops of local workers in a pugilistic rescue - is very British and slightly risible. But taking the whole thing by the scruff of the neck, the talented Gréville turns it into something rich, strange and rather wonderful. His boldly stylised direction, backed by Hone Glendining's expressionistic lighting and the daringly over-the-top performances (Calleia and Patrick are both marvellous), gives this grippingly black yet bleakly funny thriller an almost Wellesian edge.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Edmond T Gréville
Screenwriter: Richard Llewellyn
Cast: Carole Landis
Joseph Calleia
Derek Farr
Stanley Holloway
Nigel Patrick
Ruth Nixon
Carol Van Derman
Hay Petrie
John Slater
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