Director: John Brahm
A dramatic thriller set in a foggy London in the beginning of the 20th century. A composer, George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar) struggles with the writing of a piano concerto, while he realizes that he suffer from black outs when he hears dissonance.
The film begins with this sequence:
After that George returns home to meet his girlfriend Barbara (Faye Marlowe). He has blood on his forehead and a knife in his pocket. He can't explain why to his girlfriend, because he can't remember. Soon they hear the newpaper boys shouting about a murder having been commited in that part of London where George had just been. Barbara persuades George to believe that he couldn't have done it. George is worried anyhow, and decides to contact a doctor he has heard of, that know a lot about the modern findings of psychology, Dr. Allan Middleton (played by the wonderful George Sanders).
The doctor advices him to take a break from the stress of writing the concerto, and befriend other London citizens. That's when George meet nightclub singer Netta Longdon (Linda Darnell). He becomes obsessed with her, and she takes advantage of his interest for her by making him write songs for her. George is too blind of devotion that he can't see that his stress returns, and soon other attempts of murders are commited around him.
I saw this film for the first time yesterday, and I deeply regret that I hadn't seen it much sooner. This might be one of the greatest films I've ever seen, easily reaching the top ten. (Not that I ever rank the films I see, but if I did I'm sure this one would be on it.)
The actors are at their best, the music is both beautiful and inconvenient, the photography is wonderful with a great contrast in the gray scale. But most of all they managed to show the protagonist's dramatic change when he turns into a different person with uncomplicated and brilliant techniques. The noise in his head, the rings on the pool of water that pauses in its movements, and of course the brilliance of Laird Cregar's acting.
Here follows a great documentary on Laird Cregar that I found on the extra material for Hangover Square, which tragically enough was to be his last film. In only twenty minutes you learn a lot of him and the tragedy of his death.
(God, it took a lot of time before this piece of film was uploaded on the blog, so see it!)
George Harvey Bone: All my life I've had black little moods.
George Harvey Bone: But, Dr. Middleton, music is the most important thing in the world to me.
Dr. Allan Middleton: No, Mr. Bone, the most important thing is your life.
Netta Longdon: "All for you. There's not a thing I wouldn't or that I couldn't do." You wrote that for me, George. But you've never really tried to find out, have you?