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Long Arm, The (1956, Jack Hawkins, John Stratton)

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Absorbing police melodrama The Long Arm is, said The Star “the most enjoyable game of cops-and-robbers since The Blue Lamp“. But where The Blue Lamp offered a cosy and rose-tinted picture of the police, the passage of seven years provided a markedly cynical view of the life of the Scotland Yard Detective-Superintendent shown to be full of tedium and frustration.

No sooner does JACK HAWKINS return to his suburban home and neglected wife DOROTHY ALISON than he is recalled to the Yard. Hawkins and his new assistant JOHN STRATTON are on the trail of safe-cracker, RICHARD LEECH. Hawkins discovers a link between a series of recent crimes and, following up a clue suggested by his son MICHAEL BROOKE, finds the criminal was an employee of the safe-manufacturer, and traps him at the climax at London’s Festival Hall.

The film boasts the major merits of an Ealing production; a detailed handling of the process of detection, believable characters, human interest, understated humour and strong casting. And able support is provided by Stratton, Alison, Brooke, Leech, GEOFFREY KEEN as Hawkins’ paper-bound colleague and MEREDITH EDWARDS as a voluble Welsh garage proprietor.

production details
Country: UK | 96 minutes
Release Year: 1956

Director: Charles Frend
Writers: Janet Green, Robert Barr
Additional dialogue: Dorothy/Campbell Christie

cast
Jack Hawkins as Supt Tom Halliday
John Stratton as Sergeant Ward
Michael Brooke as Tony Halliday
Glyn Houston as Police Sergeant
Meredith Edwards as Mr. Thomas
Dorothy Alison as Mary Halliday
Geoffrey Keen as Jim Malcolm
Ursula Howells as Mrs. Elliot / Mrs. Gilson
Richard Leech as ‘Nightwatchman’ / Gilson
Sam Kydd as Police Operator

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