Recovering alcoholic British writer, David Graham, is released from a Montreal sanitarium and flies to London where he has 24-hours to find evidence to save his neglected son Alec from the gallows. Alec was convicted of killing Jenny Coles, a girlfriend he loved who broke up with him, who was found beaten to death in the Stanford family apartment where he was a guest. Robert Stanford is the belligerent wealthy sports car manufacturer and the adoptive father of the sensitive Brian, who is Alec’s best friend since their university days. Brian’s neurotic mother Honor is the vulnerable adoptive mother of Brian who has secretly fallen in love with the gentle but troubled Alec and believes Alec is innocent but is too weak to help. The lad was arrested after he was found drunk and unable to recall events of that fatal evening, as all the circumstantial evidence pointed in his direction.
Jeremy Clayton is the lawyer paid for by Stanford to defend Alec, at his wife’s urging, who has given up all hope and chooses to sit on his hands. The neglectful irresponsible father must fight the clock and the urge to drink, as he earnestly believes his son is not a murder and believes that more so when he questions the dysfunctional Stanfords, Vicky Harper, Robert’s former secretary and mistress who was given a big promotion after the murder, and Jenny’s chorus dancer sister Agnes who after she gets over her initial anger at the tortured father reveals she didn’t know that her sister was seeing someone else. The writer miraculously stays sober long enough to inspect the crime-scene apartment for clues, break down the circumstantial evidence case put forth during the trial, become introspective, reconcile with his disappointed and disapproving son and prove that he’s now willing to do anything to make up to his son for being a bad father. —Ozu’s World of Movie Reviews
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
A lot of mirrors in this adaptation of a stage play. I must confess that the idea of an investigation made by a man who's drunk half the time is original and that Michael Redgrave deserved the BAFTA nomination he earned for his performance. I also liked a lot the hysterical behaviour of Leo McKern. in short, it's a kind of 24 Hours shot more than 50 years ago. Cinema always arises from its own ashes. Recommended.