Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Final Appointment - 1954 film review

Final Appointment is a good example of the Fifties black and white crime movie. Short and snappy and appealing, with a bonus in the appearance of a future star. This is a story about a series of killings that are clearly connected. A journalist (played by John Bentley) investigates, in collaboration with a colleague who fancies him (Eleanor Summerfiled) and an affable if sceptical cop (Liam Redmond).

The film begins with Bentley waiting for an appointment with a snooty solicitor (Hubert Gregg). He's told brusquely that you can't walk in off the street and demand an appointment with the senior partner. Nowadays, of course, you'd have to spend ages proving your identity so that there could be full compliance with anti-money laundering legislation. No such bureaucracy sixty years back...

Bentley has discovered that three men have been killed on the same date in each of the past three years. And that the solicitor is receiving threatening letters. Bizarrely, the solicitor doesn't seem in the least bit bothered. There's not a strong plot reason for this remarkable lack of legal caution. Soon the connecting link between the deaths becomes clear. I felt this revelation might have been held back a bit to increase the mystery. I was also not quite convinced that the motive was strong enough to justify such havoc. Anyway, for most of the film, the focus is on identifying the killer, and trying to avert the murder of the irritating solicitor..

The cast is a good one, and includes that versatile actor Sam Kydd. But I was particularly pleased to spot Arthur Lowe working in the solicitors' office. Yes, Captain Mainwaring himself, looking exactly the same as he did many years later. It's a small part, though; he was a minor figure in those days. Overall, it's a film well worth watching, directed by Terence Fisher with a screenplay by Kenneth Hayles. The source was a play by Sidney Nelson and Maurice Harrison called Death Keeps a Date.

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