I always admired Cavalcanti's I Became a Criminal (1947) They Made Me a Fugitive (original title) and did not realize that he made another Film Noir. There may be more. Cavalcanti was a Brazilian-born film director and producer who worked in France, England, and Brazil. The story was based on the Ernest Raymond novel, the screenplay was by J. Lee Thompson who later directed U.K. Noirs (Murder Without Crime (1950), The Yellow Balloon (1953), Young and Willing, aka Weak and the Wicked (1954), Blonde Sinner, aka Yield to the Night (1956), and Tiger Bay (1959)), and in the US he directed Cape Fear (1962). Additional dialog is credited to William Douglas-Home.
The Cinematography was by Derick Williams, and the Music was by Philip Green. The film stars Richard Todd (The Interrupted Journey (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Intent to Kill (1958), Never Let Go (1960), The Longest Day (1962)) as Herbert Edward Logan, Patricia Plunkett as Rosie, Stephen Murray (Silent Dust (1949) as Christopher Drew, Michael Laurence as Jim Heal, Vida Hope as Olive Mockson, Rosalyn Boulter as Frankie Ketchen, George Hayes as the Artist.
|Christopher Drew (Murray) lt.|
|Frankie (Rosalyn Boulter)|
Jim is away enough nights that Frankie has a pinch hitter named Herbert Logan (Todd) a professional burglar, go to bat while Jim is away. Herbert trusts Frankie enough to stash his wad of dough with her. She hides it behind a heater grate in a wall.
|Kip and Frankie|
|Herbert Logan (Richard Todd)|
|Jim Heal (Michael Laurence)|
Jim quickly leaves the flat and goes to shack up with Frankie's rival B-Girl, Olive Mockson (Vida Hope), who always had the hots for Jim. Jim turns back Olive's clock to establish an alibi. Kip/Christopher reads about Frankie's murder in the paper, The police suspect Herbert as the main suspect, because of the public row he and Frankie had at the pub. Herbert suspects she was killed by Kip Marlowe since she told Herbert that he was coming by later.
|Olive Mockson (Vida Hope)|
Kip/Christopher, decides to stay quiet and not reveal to the police that he was the last man to see Frankie alive and that it was Jim who was trying to break in while he was still with her. Christopher now completely doing away with his Kip persona, figures the police will figure out who the real murderer is.
|Rosie (Patricia Plunkett)|
Herbert meanwhile getting back from Glasgow, reads in the paper that he is a wanted man. He skips back out of London going on the lamb. He meets and falls in love with Rosie (Patricia Plunkett). Herbert is soon caught, tried, and convicted, of murder. His alibi was that he was out that night pulling a burglary with his partner in crime 'Jocko' Glenn, the jury didn't believe his witness. His sentence is commuted to fifteen years however based on a letter written to the prosecutor from Christofer signing it Kip Marlowe. He says that he was with her rather than Herbert, and it gives enough details of Frankie and her flat to be believed.
Herbert spends the next fifteen years in prison all the while claiming to be innocent. Christopher writes his first novel along with many others, and becomes a very successful novelist and playwright. When Herbert is released he marries Rosie who has been loyal to him all these years. They have a son, but life is pretty tough because Herbert being an ex con cannot hold on to a job. Their son gets sick and they need money for a doctor.
|I left a wad of money at Frankie's|
|Herbert confronts Christopher|
Herbert remembers the swag he left at Frankie's and wonders if it's still there where she hid it. He cases the flat. Finds that a drunk artist now has the flat and decides to do one last burglary to see if the loot is still there. It is but so is a newspaper clipping with Christofer Drew's poem.
One night, it all goes Noirsville. Herbert is listening to a radio play and he hears a character speaking words and phrases that only Frankie used to use. Herbert now knows whoever wrote the play must be Kip Marlowe.
A well acted enjoyable noir that sorely needs a restoration screen caps are from an online streaming site. It's about the quality of online prints of Detour. 7/10 as is could go higher with a decent print.