Saturday, July 26, 2014

Amble On

After watching Highly Dangerous, I figured I should watch the other Eric Ambler/Roy Ward Baker suspense film, The October Man (1947).

October Man stars John Mills (father of Hayley), who is in a terrible bus/train accident, which kills the little girl in his care. When he is released from hospital, he is suicidal, slightly amnesiac and, well, troubled. He does this very well - looking troubled and haunted. He moves into an old-fashioned boarding house, where he acts twitchy but polite - quite British actually. At this point, you are wondering whether he'll kill himself or someone else first.

Well, someone does get killed - a floozy who had borrowed money from him. Of course, Mills is a suspect - he doesn't even seem to be sure he didn't do it. At least his girl, Joan Greenwood, believes in him. Doesn't she?

So both of these movies features a mentally unsettled protagonist who must solve a crime. Other than a few thematic similarities, they are pretty different - Dangerous is more of a comic thriller, with a light tone along with the suspense. October is a dark, tense psychological thriller. The noir cinematography is impressive (oppressive?). Although this was made first, I'm glad I watched it second. These two movies make a great double bill.

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