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  Suspected Person The Biggest Unanswered Question Is Where Is The Money?
Year: 1942
Director: Lawrence Huntington
Stars: Clifford Evans, Patricia Roc, David Farrar, Anne Firth, Robert Beatty, Eric Clavering, Leslie Perrins, Eliot Makeham, John Salew, William Hartnell
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's in the headline news, a low level hoodlum has been shot dead and the two suspects are on the lookout for another, an Englishman called Jack Raynor (Clifford Evans), who has apparently run off with the takings from a robbery to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. His ex-bosses, Franklin (Robert Beatty) and Dolan (Eric Clavering), believe they know where he's headed for, back to London with the loot, so travelling on forged passports they set off after him, inexorably closing in. Raynor, meanwhile, thinks he can get away with this and settles in the home of his sister Joan (Patricia Roc) who he has been taking care of financially from a distance; she is delighted to see him, but the longer he stays with her the further she grows suspicious of his motives. Will the police manage to get him first?

There's not one mention of the war in Suspected Person, a potboiler from the middle years of the conflict, which should give you some idea of the escapist purpose to writer and director Lawrence Huntington's B-movie. So no Nazi spies, no espionage plots, simply a straightforward thriller where the bad guys and coppers alike home in on the supposed hero as his sister attempts to rescue him from their clutches. One drawback with that was that Clifford Evans wasn't a particularly engaging or even appealing leading man, more of a character actor with his widow's peak emphasising a rather cold countenance, but it was the script that proved his undoing when you found yourself caring not a whit whether Raynor got away with his subterfuge or otherwise. Better to concentrate on Patricia Roc, then.

She was at this point in her career fast becoming the nation's sweetheart as far as the movies went, one of the biggest box office draws for around ten years in the forties to the early fifties, thanks to her wholesome beauty and uncomplicated, attractive persona, making her ideal identification material for her female fans, and not insignificantly popular fantasy material for her male fans. Of course, away from the camera she wasn't uncomplicated at all, flitting from affair to affair and apparently intent on seducing as many men as she could, which lent her the nickname "Bed Roc" in the industry - Ronald Reagan was probably her highest profile conquest. Although she had a certain twinkle about her when you watched her performances, there was little to indicate her, shall we say, extensive experience in real life, and the British public were happy to keep it that way, preserving her image of the ideal, presentable young lady of the day.

Also in the cast was David Farrar, the broodingly handsome leading man who was a better focus for heroics here than Evans, for he played the police detective who goes undercover to inveigle his way into Joan's life all the better to get to the heart of the schemes of her brother. That said, it took a while for him to make his mark on the narrative, spending seemingly half his scenes with future Doctor Who William Hartnell as his second-in-command in their office, making pronouncements about their suspicions based on what facts they had, not exactly the pulse-pounding excitement you might have wanted from your typical thriller. In fact, Suspected Person was strictly routine, and might have operated better if Raynor had been more a victim of circumstance or even an innocent on the run; as it was when Joan is misguidedly assisting him and the detective was being made a fool of, there wasn't much to latch onto. But if you had a hankering for a vintage British crime drama, this was as typical as they got.

[Restored print on this Network British Film release, and a gallery as an extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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