February 22, 2017


The Long Arm – 1956 | 96 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

The Long Arm

The Long Arm, was a police melodrama directed by Charles Frend, with Jack Hawkins as a weary detective on the trail of a murderous safe-cracker, finally captured with his accomplice, who turns out to be his wife, in a trap laid at the Royal Festival Hall. In the seven years since The Blue Lamp notable changes have occurred; There is now a markedly cynical view of the attractions of a career in the police. The life of the Scotland Yard man is shown to be tedious and frustrating: no sooner does he reach his far-flung suburban home and his neglected wife than he gets summoned back to the office. Hawkins, as Detective Superintendent Halliday, patiently unravels the case, and copes with the disaffection of his family while encouraging his young assistant, Sergeant Ward (John Stratton) with much banter and chat about ‘Chummy’ – the Yard name for an unidentified crook. There is something of the flavour of a television police series in the approach, even though at the time that genre was still relatively unexplored. The story originated from Robert Barr, one of the pioneering television documentary writers, and he wrote the script in collaboration with Janet Green.

The adjective most frequently used to describe The Long Arm is ‘efficient’ and, while it was not remarkable for its originality, it was by no means a production of which Ealing should be ashamed. This was fortunate as it turned out to be the last film Sir Michael Balcon produced at the Studios.

ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.

Production Team

Charles Frend: Director
Edward Carrick: Art Direction
Tom Morahan: Associate Producer
Gordon Dines: Cinematography
Gordon Stone: Editing
Gerbrand Schurmann: Music
Michael Balcon: Producer
Campbell Christie: Script
Robert Barr: Script
Janet Green: Script


Jack Hawkins: Supt Tom Halliday
Dorothy Alison: Mary Halliday
Michael Brooke Jr: Tony Dorothy
John Stratton: Sgt Ward
Geoffrey Keen: Supt Malcolm
Newton Blick: Cdr Harris
Ralph Truman: Col Blenkinsop
Joss Ambler: Shipping Officer cashier
Sydney Tafler: Stone
Richard Leech: night watchman
Meredith Edwards: Thomas
Ian Bannen: workman

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