The Strange Affair

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York plays a solemn young constable new to the Metropolitan Police who is convinced that right is right, but gradually discovers that life just isn't like that; caught in a squeeze, he takes one hapless step after another, until the bitterly cynical ending has him languishing in jail while the particularly vicious gang of crooks go free. Essentially it's a well-written anecdote about police manners and methods, straight out of some TV cop series, but as viewed by Greene's wilfully wayward camera, it becomes a bizarre, quirkishly funny thriller which laces its documentary surface with a fine grain of fantasy. Much of Greene's later work disappointed, but here he displays a visual flair (gang violence in an echoing warehouse, murder among the wrecked cars in a scrapheap, seduction in a fantastically opulent boudoir) that would not entirely have shamed Welles in his Lady from Shanghai mood.

By: TM

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