Director: Lawrence Huntington
Script: Lawrence Huntington
Cast: Clifford Evans, Patricia Roc, David Farrar, William Hartnell, Anne Firth, Robert Beatty, Eric Clavering
Running time: 73 minutes
After a $50,000 heist in New York, two of the suspected robbers walk free from court, after no money is found, and waste little time in looking for their former accomplice, Jim Raynor (Clifford Evans), who has the money hidden away. When he realises they’re after him he hightails it back to England and goes to stay with his sister, Joan (Patricia Roc), who runs a guest house in London. And it’s not just his two partners in crime that are looking for the missing money; Scotland Yard are also on the case and closing in…fast.
In fact Inspector Thompson (David Farrar) is quite a smart cookie and soon has Mr Raynor on his radar, but during his investigation he starts to fall for his chief suspect’s lovely sister, when he pretends to be a guest at her B & B, which you just know is going to get rather awkward by the end!
As Raynor navigates his way through the criminal underworld of 1940s London, and tries to set up meetings with fences and such like, his sister starts to suspect that he’s up to something ‘off-the-books’ and might be in danger so decides to take matters into her own hands, resulting in a dangerous waterfront liaison between the Raynors and the American mobsters.
Suspected Person is a moodily shot proto-noir thriller featuring numerous nefarious characters, an ahead of his time detective, an anti-hero brother, and a very spunky dame – and I mean that in the 1940s sense of the word, so stop giggling at the back!
There’s also some memorable dialogue on offer, including one exchange between the mobsters, who are fresh in London town, and spending an evening at a nightclub owned by an associate of theirs. One says to the other: ‘I can read dames like a book’. ‘How so?’ replies the other. ‘I use the braille system!’ he retorts. And, as was very typical of this period in cinema history, everyone seems to speak in quick, clipped tones, which is quite amusing nowadays, but was very ‘in’ back then.
Also of note, during the final confrontation between the cops and the criminals down by the docks, we see some rather weird tactics being used by the police. The fact that the lead officer encourages his men to rush into a room full of armed men is quite eyebrow raising, especially since one cop gets badly shot, and is treated like he’s just collateral damage!
Suspected Person is a fun, fairly fast-paced film, even if the dialogue and the mannerisms of the people involved do really date it at times. Plus any film that features a rather young-looking Bill Hartnell (Dr Who number one), as a detective’s put-upon and rather thick stooge, is well worth a look.
Network Distributing are, err, distributing Suspected Person on DVD. The only extra on the disc is an image gallery including 15 stills and a poster from the movie.