TERROR STREET (aka: 36 HOURS) (director: Montgomery Tully; screenwriter: Steve Fisher/from the story by Steve Fisher; cinematographer: Walter Harvey; editor: James Needs; music: Ivor Slaney; cast: Dan Duryea (Major Bill Rogers), Elsy Albiin (‘Katie’ Rogers), Ann Gudrun (Sister Jenny Miller), John Chandos (Orville Hart), Eric Pohlmann (Slosson, the smuggler), Kenneth Griffith (Henry Slosson), Harold Lang (Harry Cross, desk clerk), Jane Carr (Soup Kitchen Supervisor), Michael Golden (The Inspector), Richard Ford (Sergeant Blake), Marianne Stone (Pam Palmer); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Hinds; Hammer/Lippert; 1953-UK)
“The cheesy crime drama story is incredulous, but makes for passable entertainment if you are easy to please.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Decent English B-film that plays out as a minor film noir with the theme of “the wrong man on the run.” It’s based on a pulp story by Steve Fisher (he wrote the novel I Wake Up Screaming) and is adequately directed by Montgomery Tully (“The Glass Tomb”/”The Way Out”/”Paid to Kill”). Its main plus is Dan Duryea, the only thesp in it who keeps it from falling apart when its overbaked melodramatics kick in.
U.S. Army Major William Rogers (Dan Duryea) is attending military school in the States for three months but is permanently stationed as a flight instructor in London and lives with his former Norwegian officer wife Katie (Elsy Albiin). He has a pass for 36 hours and takes an unauthorized leave to London to surprise his wife, whom he hasn’t heard from in a while. At his flat, he finds out from his neighbor that his estranged wife, angry that he left her alone to go to the States, has moved to a new upscale apartment on the West End. At the new apartment building, he catches the sleazy desk clerk (Harold Lang) listening in on a tenant’s phone conversation and then blackmails him into giving him the extra key to Katie’s apartment. Sitting in the plush pad surrounded by furs and jewels and thinking about how much he loves Katie and wondering how she has changed so much, he’s slugged from behind by the swinish customs officer Orville Hart (John Chandos). When Katie refuses to turn over some valuable items, Orville kills her by using Bill’s gun and then plants the gun on him and calls the police. Bill wakes up just before the police arrive and escapes rather than try to explain what he’s doing there. He goes out the terrace and crawls through the window of the ground floor apartment of mission worker Jenny Miller (Ann Gudrun) and convinces the ‘bleeding heart’ to help him escape from the police. Bill says he has 36 hours to catch the criminal and clear his name. Through some neat sleuthing he discovers that Orville Hart was the killer and is a corrupt custom official who shakes down smugglers and somehow has enticed his innocent wife into his scheme. Bill then goes about getting his man and clearing up the mess, and finding a new love interest.
The cheesy crime drama story is incredulous, but makes for passable entertainment if you are easy to please.
REVIEWED ON 10/4/2008 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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