The Long Dark Hall

Two great Broadway stars at their greatest!

Crime Drama
86 min     6.4     1951     United Kingdom


A devoted family man tries to help a beautiful alcoholic showgirl with her life, and becomes the the only suspect when someone else murders her.


John Chard wrote:
Circumstantial evidence old boy. Juries won't have it. They don't like it and they don't trust it. When Arthur Groome (Rex Harrison) finds his girlfriend murdered at her Earls Court flat and becomes stricken with grief and fear and promptly runs from the scene of the crime. Questioned by the police about the crime, Arthur, a married man, in panic denies all knowledge of the girl. Soon, however, he finds himself charged with murder and inexorably drawn towards the gallows... Directed by Anthony Bushell and Reginald Beck, it is adapted to screenplay by Nunnally Johnson and William Fairchild from Edgar Lustgarten's novel. Harrison's real life wife at the time, Lilli Palmer, plays his loyal spouse here, while Benjamin Frankel scores the music and Wilkie Cooper is the cinematographer. Largely ignored and underseen these days, due in the main that some critics of the time noted it has uncomfortable parallels to the real life Harrison and Carole Landis suicide affair - plus Harrison himself quickly denounced the film as dreadful - it's actually a decent wrong man court case picture often filmed in gorgeous film noir styles. There is no mystery element here, for we know Arthur is innocent, and in fact we know who the killer is. We are given two murders in the first twenty minutes, each a year apart, the first is photographed on the outside in shadows, gaslights and upon a moist cobbled alleyway. The second, where the object of Arthur's lovelorn attention (Patricia Cutts) resides, is stifling in its cruel intensity. It's a sly story of obsession, circumstantial devilments, manipulation and somewhat oddly, loyalty. The suspense is ramped up as Arthur gets ever deeper in the mire during the court case (look how Cooper photographs the critical sequences in court), while his loving wife is being befriended by the real murderer (a wonderfully rat faced Anthony Dawson) who has his own distorted motives that he wants to bare out. Viewing it now the police work due to the writing comes off as being very shoddy, and the finale is just a bit too much leftfield to wholly satisfy. Yet this is a very tidy Brit-Noir styled suspenser that comes recommended to fans of leading man and noirsh visuals. 7/10