Review: Time Without Pity

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Time Without Pity is a British noir from 1957. This film is directed by Joseph Losey. Losey has an interesting story himself. He was directing films for RKO and was in Italy filming The Stranger on the Prowl when he was summoned to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Instead of going back to the United States to testify, he stayed in Europe and eventually found steady work in Britain. His trouble with the Un-American Activities Committee may have started when he directed the re-make of M in 1951. This film was singled out by the Committee, here is a look at some of the history of that film here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/11/06/news-a-long-lost-film-noir-gets-a-second-look/

This film has an interesting plot with an amazing twist at the end. The story revolves around David Graham played by Michael Redgrave. David has been in an institution for his alcoholism, with no contact with the outside world. When he is released he finds out his son is in prison and scheduled to be hung the next day. He goes to visit him and is determined to find the truth and save his son.

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Through out the film David fights his alcoholism, which is hard with the added stress he is under. David meets some interesting characters along the way and does whatever he needs to do to help his son.

This is a good film with some outstanding scenes. The opening scene of the murder of a young women is very well done.

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I also loved the scene at the racetrack with one of the characters driving his Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing, getting it prepared for a race. Even though the scene really doesn’t make much sense, it is visually stunning and entertaining. I also truly loved the final scene, I will not talk much about this so I don’t ruin the film for those who have not seen it.

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Favorite Tidbit: Peter Cushing plays a small role as the lawyer for David’s son. He would make The Curse of Frankenstein next, which would launch Cushing’s career as a Horror Icon.

Edit: A few clarifications should be noted: (1) THE PROWLER and THE BIG NIGHT were both filmed in the US and released after M in 1951. Losey was in Italy filming STRANGER ON THE PROWL when it was announced by HUAC that Losey was one of the witnesses it wanted to testify on September 17, 1951, and who had not yet been served a subpoena. He returned to the US in October, could find no work, and left about a month later to live permanently in England. (2) M is more akin to the culmination of Losey’s issues with the US government than the start. The FBI file on him began in late-1943, and he was under surveillance due to his beliefs, actions and associations. His two pre-’51 feature film releases, THE BOY WITH THE GREEN HAIR(1948) and THE LAWLESS (1950), demonstrate that his 1951 features were not a newly found consciousness. See “Joseph Losey: A Revenge On Life” (David Caute 1994), pp. 86-109.

Thanks for the clarification on Losey, Mr. Field.

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