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FRIGHTENED MAN, THE(director/writer: John Gilling; cinematographer: Monty Berman; editor: Jack Slade; music: John Lanchbery; cast: Dermot Walsh (Julius Roselli), Barbara Murray (Amanda), Charles Victor (Mr. Roselli), John Blythe (Maxie), Michael Ward (Cornelius), John Horsley (Harry), Annette D. Simmonds (Marcella), Thora Hird (Vera), Ballard Berkeley (Inspector), Martin Benson (Alex Stone); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Robert S. Baker/Monty Berman; VCI Entertainment; 1952-UK)
“Decent programmer crime drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Decent programmer crime drama that plays out more or less as a problematic but all too familiar Oedipal story. Writer-director John Gilling (“The Reptile”/”The Mummy’s Shroud”/”Panic”) keeps it moving along at a crisp pace, as he takes more care building up the relationship part of the film over the criminal part.

Julius Roselli (Dermot Walsh) disappoints his dad by getting expelled from Oxford and returns to London to stay with his widower elderly immigrant father (Charles Victor), the owner of a junk shop who so much wants his son, the apple of his eye, to get a good education and become an architect that he fences stolen goods to earn the money to pay for the expensive education. Dad, though very disappointed, is still willing to take his rotten attitude son into the business as a partner, even after sonny boy steals fifty pounds from him to buy a fancy car. But the bad-natured Julius demands that the only way he would do so is if the reliable loyal employer Cornelius (Michael Ward) was fired, which dad won’t do. Julius treats dad like dirt, and the cad further upsets dad when he steals the attractive boarder Amanda (Barbara Murray) away from her nice guy cultured boyfriend Harry (John Horsley). Soon the scheming idler, Julius, marries Amanda, and his dad gets her a secretary job for a diamond merchant friend of his so the couple won’t starve. Thereby Julius begins a life of crime by first becoming a getaway driver in a botched warehouse robbery and then plots a diamond heist using his contact with small-time thief Maxie (John Blythe), who in turn contacts his safe-cracker boss Alex (Martin Benson). Unknown to Julius is that the Camden jewel thieves use his father as a fence, who in this heist cut out Roselli and thereby the irked old man tips off the police – unaware that his son is a member of the gang. Dad, when he learns of his son’s involvement in the diamond heist, tries his best to keep his boy from getting caught, but it is to no avail as the cops are all over this heist–with the boarder Harry being an undercover cop.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”