Adapted from Leigh Howard’s novel, this intelligent thriller from Joseph Losey is one of the directors more underrated films. An impoverished Dutch painter living in London, Jan, falls in love with a sophisticated married French woman, Jacqueline, slightly his elder, her relationship with him turns from art student into mistress. After initially meeting at the Tate Gallery, Jacqueline persuades Jan to allow her the use of his studio and to teach her how to paint – but this is merely a ruse to seduce him and commence an affair that will be dictated by her.
Some time later, Jan hurriedly arrives to keep a rendezvous at her swanky apartment and is confronted by the police who accuse him of having murdered her. After being grilled by hard-nosed Welsh Inspector Morgan, via flashbacks the web of deceit involving Jan slowly unravels. The case then becomes a little more complicated because Jan believed she was married, and police commissioner Sir Brian Lewis intimates to Morgan that he doesn’t want a scandal involving high-ranking diplomat Sir Howard Fenton, who the victim was also a mistress to. After Morgan and Jan meet Lord and Lady Fenton at the airport, it becomes apparent the case is more complex than it appears. —Britmovie.co.uk
Joseph Walton Losey (January 14, 1909, La Crosse, Wisconsin – June 22, 1984, London) was an American theater and film director. After studying in Germany with Bertolt Brecht, Losey returned to the United States, eventually making his way to Hollywood.
While in Hollywood, Losey co-directed the original U.S. production of Galileo, by Brecht, with Brecht himself as the other co-director. Charles Laughton, who had worked with Brecht on the translation / adaptation, performed the lead role. In the context of that production, Losey also made a half hour film based on Galileo’s life.
During the McCarthy Era, Losey was investigated for his supposed ties with the Communist Party and was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses. His career in shambles, he moved to London, where he continued working as a director.
Even in the UK, he experienced problems: his first British film, The Sleeping Tiger, a 1954 film noir crime thriller, bore the pseudonym Victor Hanbury… read more
First and last scene : Harry Krüger hops around in the London streets. Between these two light scenes, there will be intense scenes of dialogues exploring the differences between British social classes, the presumption of innocence, deceit and hierarchical pressure. These are all germs of the themes handled by Joseph Losey in the masterpieces he will shoot in the 60's. Recommended.