This mixture is not, as the professionals like to say, seamless; in fact, like Laughton, Gilling appears to delight in showing the seams, as these different textures clash and meld. The overall effect is lyrical, poetic, dreamlike. But this is no Jean Cocteau film. Like much British genre cinema of the early 1960s – a field far more appreciated now than it was at the time by critics and connoisseurs – the atmosphere is mucky and amoral, saturated in cynicism, cheap thrills and low-life gangsterism.
October 14, 2013