February 22, 2017


Murder Without Crime – 1950 | 80 mins | Drama | B&W

Plot Synopsis

Murder Without Crime

Slick noirish thriller atmospherically directed by J. Lee Thompson and adapted from his successful West End play “Double Error”. As one would expect the story is fairly stagebound with much of the action confined to the flat of Derek Farr, echoes of Hitchcock’s “Rope”, and despite an annoying pseudo-American narrator and a plot which stretches the bounds of credibility, the psychological duel between guilt-ridden tenant and duplicitous landlord makes this modestly-budgeted film eminently watchable.

Following a bitter row, author Stephen Holt (Derek Farr) walks out on his wife Jan (Patricia Plunkett) and goes to drown his sorrows at the Tenerife Club. Steve drinks heavily and ends up returning home with the club’s manipulative hostess, Grena (Joan Dowling). Just then Jan calls, and declares she’s returning to that flat that night. Steve attempts to quickly usher Grena out of the door, but a fight ensues and he believes he’s killed her. He quickly hides the body in an ottoman.

Downstairs, suave and sinister landlord Matthew (Dennis Price) hears the commotion and goes to investigate. Matthew suspects the edgy Steve is hiding something, and during the night continually taunts his tenant. Stephen confesses, but rather than calling for the police the impoverished landlord blackmails his tenant for an extortionate flat rental, and reveal his long-held affection for Stephen’s wife.

Production Team

J. Lee Thompson: Director
Donald M. Ashton: Art Direction
William McLeod: Cinematography
Edward B. Jarvis: Film Editing
Kenneth McKay: Makeup Department
Doris Porter: Makeup Department
Louis Levy: Music Direction
Philip Green: Original Music
J. Lee Thompson: Play
Victor Skutezky: Producer
J. Lee Thompson: Script
Harry Benson: Sound
Stan Jolly: Sound


Derek Farr: Stephen
Dennis Price: Matthew
Joan Dowling: Grena
Patricia Plunkett: Jan

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