The smart, red-herring-filled screenplay for The Vicious Circle was expertly written by Francis Durbridge. Based on Durbridge’s successful television serial, The Brass Candlestick, The Vicious Circle casts John Mills as a Harley Street surgeon who receives a call from a film producer asking him to meet film star Lisa Daniely at the airport. He agrees and a reporter, Lionel Jeffries, offers to drive him there. After taking Daniely to Claridges, Mills joins his fiancée, Noelle Middleton, and his playboy friend Derek Farr.
The following day, Mills finds Daniely dead on the floor of his flat and when Scotland Yard Inspector Roland Culver arrives on the scene, he refuses to believe that the movie producer telephoned the doctor or that the reporter ever existed. Further plot twists take place involving the mysterious Wilfrid Hyde-White of the Special Branch, the discovery of another body – which turns out to be one of Mills’ ex-patients (René Ray) – before the complicated plot is brought to an unexpected and highly satisfying denouement.
Durbridge’s screenplay is given an admirable exposition by the well-chosen cast, headed by Mills. Farr scores with a disarming performance as Mills’ two-faced friend and Roland Culver is both urbane and menacing as the man from Scotland Yard. Hyde-White, Mervyn Johns (as one of Mills’ fellow practitioners), Lionel Jeffries, Middleton and Ray, too, make their presence effectively felt.
Cast: John Mills, Derek Farr, Noelle Middleton, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Roland Culver, Mervyn Johns, René Ray, Lionel Jeffries
Director: Gerald Thomas
Screenwriter: Francis Durbridge, based on his television serial The Brass Candlestick
Producer: Peter Rogers
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Composer: Stanley Black
UK / Romulus / 84 minutes / 1957