Dear Murderer

(Arthur Crabtree, UK, 1947)


This film has many of the hallmarks of a classic film noir – dark, shadowy lighting, a treacherous femme fatale, a complex plot studded with flashbacks.

But you know it’s a quaintly British, soft-boiled thriller – as opposed to a hard-boiled American one – the moment a man who is about to be murdered protests to his attacker: "Steady on – perhaps you will be good enough to explain your quite extraordinary behaviour!"

It is uninvolving, but not without historic interest. As a Gainsborough production, it is one of many British genre films of the period that have been recently critically rediscovered. It is noteworthy also for the participation of Betty Box, who was tellingly promoted in her day as "Britain’s woman producer".

© Adrian Martin May 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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