Film4: Tuesday 13 October, 11.00am
After serving 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit, John Mills tracks the liars whose testimony put him away. Committed performances in adour crime picture from Ealing Studios master Robert Hamer, out onloan to Rank and – according to Mills’ memoirs – drunk most of the time.
Strikingly filmed in black and white under glowering skies in London and the grottier parts of Graves end (which, seven years after WWII, was probably all of it), it has a touch of Hamer’s atmospheric classic It Always Rains on Sunday, and Mills hangs out in a Thames Estuary café of Dickensien dinginess.
There’s some contrivance in the script (co-written by Hamer from a story by Howard Clewes): Mills’treacherous ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Sellars is now married to John McCallum, the detective in charge of the case. No wonder Mills is grumpy. In a notable cast, John Slater is scarily convincing as an old boxer with scrambled brains. “Heart-stirring,” according to the Manchester Guardian of the day.