PAID TO KILL (aka: FIVE DAYS)
(director: Montgomery Tully; screenwriter: Paul Tabori; cinematographer: Walter Harvey; editor: James Needs; music: Ivor Slaney; cast: Dane Clark (James Nevill), Cecile Chevreau (Joan), Paul Carpenter (Paul Kirby), Thea Gregory (Andrea Nevill), Anthony Forwood (Peter Glanville), Arthur Young (Hyson), Avis Scott (Eileen), (Cyrus McGowan), Peter Gawthorne (Bowman), Ross Hutchinson (Ingham), Arnold Diamond (Perkins) Charles Hawtrey (Bill); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Hinds; VCI Entertainment; 1954-UK)
“It takes a lot of artificial plot devices and some good acting to make this incredulous crime drama work–also a suspension of disbelief.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This B Film noir, with big plot holes and an unpleasant story, has been made by Hammer/Lippert; it takes a lot of artificial plot devices and some good acting to make this incredulous crime drama work–also a suspension of disbelief. It lifts its double-cross premise from the original The Whistler. Montgomery Tully (“The Way Out”/”Terror Street”/”Query”) directs and Paul Tabori pens the screenplay.
James Nevill (Dane Clark) is the successful American financier, the unethical president of Amalgamated Industries in London, who becomes unglued when he learns that the eccentric professor Cyrus McGowan (Howard Marion-Crawford) reneges on a business deal leaving Jim holding the bag and bankrupt. Feeling this will ruin him and drag his name through the mud, the despondent Nevill blackmails his unreliable drunken criminal friend Paul Kirby (Paul Carpenter) to kill him within the next five days so his adoring wife Andrea (Thea Gregory) can be well taken care of by the insurance policy. But at the last minute Cyrus comes through and everything is again back to normal. The only problem is Nevill can’t locate Kirby to call off the contract hit. Things take on an odd twist when there are three attempts at Nevill’s life, he’s shot at in Kirby’s apartment, almost run over by a car when answering a note to meet Paul down a deserted dark street and his office desk explodes when his loyal secretary Joan (Cecile Chevreau) tries to open it.
Warning: spoiler to follow in the next paragraph.
It turns out Nevill’s loving wife hates him big time and uses this opportunity to get her secret lover, a dissolute board member of Amalgamated, Peter Glanville (Anthony Forwood), to kidnap Kirby and then have Peter murder hubby and make it look like Kirby did it. It also turns out that Joan secretly loves her boss and watches his back, so when his evil wife’s double-cross goes into motion with her smug lover, they are foiled when she gets the drop on them.
I can’t think of a character I cared about and lost interest in how it was resolved, but nevertheless it has just enough juice to be drinkable.
REVIEWED ON 10/20/2008 GRADE: B-