'The most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen,' squawked the Monthly Film Bulletin. 'Nauseating muck', 'about as fragrant as a cesspool', 'a wicked disgrace to the British film industry' echoed the national press. The film's 'hero' - a down-at-heel newspaperman - is indeed a nasty piece of work, and as insensitive as his colleagues in the real world to the fondly passionate relationship between Miss Blandish and her morbidly introverted kidnapper. But the critical hysteria over this confident, well-crafted homage to Hollywood is puzzling. The sets, the acting, the smoothly effective direction are all remarkably good, redolent of a short-lived maturity attained by British cinema in the late '40s. James Hadley Chase's novel was remade in 1971 as The Grissom Gang.