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Circle of Danger (1951)

CircleDangerPoster2

Here’s an RKO release by way of the British film industry at a time when it was common for an American actor to film abroad due to taxation loopholes. For this mystery effort we get Academy Award winner Ray Milland as an ex Navy man who comes to England after the war looking for answers. It seems his brother had joined the British forces before America’s entry into the war and had been killed on a commando raid.  The problem is it all seems a might suspicious. He was the only member of the squad killed. A single gunshot wound to the head was his undoing. Without saying it outright, Milland is on a vengeful manhunt.

The trail leads him from London to Wales and across Scotland as he questions the remaining squad members. Keeping his real motives close to the vest he claims to be looking for his brothers personal items. Along the way romance ensues for Ray with beautiful Patricia Roc. She happens to be somewhat involved with the commando squad leader. This of course only adds to the melodrama that plays out over the films 86 minute running time.

milland

The director of the film has developed a bit of a following over the years. Jacques Tourneur. He was of course associated with the Val Lewton productions and was behind the camera for one of the greatest of Noirs, Out of the Past. Location shooting adds to the film`s overseas flavor along with a cast of local actors.

Admittedly the film did not go in the direction I had expected which I guess one could consider a good thing as it`s not routine. Overall it`s fairly watchable from Milland`s post Oscar period and with Tourneur behind the camera it only adds to my interest. For a little light comedy to break up the serious tone it`s fun to see Milland trying to figure out the British breakdown of money as he goes about paying cabbies throughout the film.

I am not sure if this is readily available as my copy is on the poor side and it was given to me by good friend. If you do find it let`s just say you could do worse.

4 Comments »

  1. One of the relatively few Tourneur films I’ve yet to see. He was always an interesting and subtle director and this is a title I’m keen to see at some point.

  2. There’s something so wonderfully British about this film – I guess it’s the scenery but it’s something else too: perhaps the light comedy or the ‘correct-ness’ of everything. I’ve only seen it once, on a rainy Sunday afternoon probably, but that’s the image that stayed with me!

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