Double Confession (1950)
Lorre Goes to Farr
Jim Medway (Derek Farr) arrives at the coastal town of Seagate to see his estranged wife at her cliff top cottage but as he makes his way there he sees former friend Charlie Durham (William Hartnell), a small time crook turned businessman, rushing away down the precarious pathway. When Jim enters the cottage he discovers his estranged wife has been murdered but rather than report it goes to visit Charlie at his office the next day with a plan of blackmailing him over his wife's murder. But Jim also finds himself become entangled with Ann Corday (Joan Hopkins) who along with other day trippers has arrived at Seagate to get away from things especially as she is considering what to do about her child whether or not to give her up for adoption. But Medway needs to be careful as Durham's sinister associate Paynter (Peter Lorre) plans to protect his boss by arranging a little accident for Medway.
"Double Confession" starts with Jim Medway arriving by train in the middle of night, the billows of steam filling up the station and in that one scene director Ken Annakin tells us we are in film noir territory with the look, the lighting, the camera angle. And if you needed any more convincing the following scene where having navigated the precarious cliff path Jim, having hidden behind a boat, watches Durham exiting his wife's cottage and it hammers home that this is film-noir with more nice camera work and style with Annakin creating atmosphere in the simplest of scenes.
But, and I hate it when there is a but, but whilst there is a lot to praise "Double Confession" for the one thing isn't the storyline. Now the basic storyline of Jim deciding to blackmail Durham and then ending up with Durham's associate Paynter trying to arrange for an accidental demise is okay as is the expected addition of a cop investigating the murder of Jim's wife with things pointing at Jim as the guilty party. But despite being only 80 minutes long "Double Confession" feels padded out with subplots surrounding Ann Corday and her dilemma over her daughter as well as a couple of holiday makers who seem to be have thrown in as comic distraction with Leslie Dwyer playing a typical Dwyer character.
It is a real shame that the storyline to "Double Confession" ends up weak as everything else is very good with the acting through out being surprisingly strong although it shouldn't be a surprise considering the calibre of the cast with the likes of Farr, Hartnell and Lorre all impressing in what are in truth stereotypical roles. Plus director Ken Annakin directs the movie with a great deal more style than you would normally get from this type of British drama.
What this all boils down to is that "Double Confession" is definitely worth watching with Ken Annakin and the cast making more of a story than in truth it deserves. And that is the only real issue with "Double Confession" as the basic storyline is weak and if it wasn't for the acting and directing the movie would be forgettable
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