Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Hangman's Wharf - 1950 film review

Hangman's Wharf is a very good title, I think. It's the name of a short 1950 black and white film, directed by Cecil H. Williamson. It began life as a BBC radio serial written by John Belden, about whom I have been able to find out nothing. I almost wondered if it was a pseudonym adopted by Francis Durbridge, but there's no evidence of that.

Yet there are one or two Durbridgesque features to the storyline, including one of his favourite devices, the Enigmatic Message which lures our hero to an assignation at the Deserted House where, surprise, surprise, a corpse is waiting for him. There's also a touch of light-heartedness among the mayhem which reminded me of Durbrdge. Perhaps Belden was a disciple.

Dr David Galloway (John Witty) is a talented G.P. with hardly any patients- those were the days! An idealistic, he's opened a surgery in Shadwell, but hasn't endeared himself to the locals. When he gets a message calling him out to an accident on board a boat at Hangman's Wharf, he sets off only to find that he's been misled. But he bumps into a sinister rough-neck and a posh chap who send him packing. Then a warning shout from a young woman (Genine Graham) alerts him to the fact that someone is trying to kill him by dropping a barrel on his head.

The woman is a pretty young journalist, and he and she go to the police. But the affable inspector (Campbell Singer) doesn't beleive their story, and soon it becomes clear that someone is trying to frame the doctor for murder. The plot is nothing special, but it moves along at a decent pace. Singer is the only member of the cast with whom I was familiar, but I thought Genine Graham made the most of a limited role as the doc's love interest. I'm surprised she didn't become better known.

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