‘My Death is a Mockery’ 1952 – from a Douglas Baber novel

I only came across this film when I was looking into the career of the multi talented and famous Felix Felton – featured in the very last article

The film was made at the Brighton Film Studios and was from a novel by Douglas Baber

My Death is a Mockery (1952) is a dark tale of smuggling, murder and capital punishment. The film has been shown in recent years

This film stars Bill Kerr (Hancock’s Half Hour) in a rare dramatic role, Donald Houston and Kathleen Byron.

Kathleen Byron – five years or so after her great performance as Sister Ruth in ‘Black Narcissuss’

Donald Houston – not long after he had been out to Fiji with Jean Simmons for ‘The Blue Lagoon’

Liam Gaffney as Father Matthews – ABOVE – he was also in ‘Street of Shadows’ another film, like this one, made at the Brighton Films Studios

The film had a rare screening in London again – last year in May 2019. It can be acquired on DVD but not easily – still if you are determined to get it you will

This is a bleak and bullet-spattered sea-smuggling crime drama and tells the story of a ‘down-on-his-luck’ fisherman (British star Donald Houston) who is tempted into a dangerous but more lucrative line in black-market booze at the urging of his wayward wife (Kathleen Byron) after a brief bar-room liaison with a small-time spiv played by Bill Kerr, in a rare serious role.

This Adelphi FIlms’ crime drama was caught up in controversy upon its release, after it was reportedly the film Christopher Craig saw shortly before killing policeman Sidney Miles and apart from a single 1960 TV screening it has been largely unseen since.

DOUGLAS BABER – the Author

As mentioned before in this article, the film comes from a novel written by Douglas Baber and on the imdb site there is this comment from the novelist’s daughter – I hope she doesn’t mind me re-printing this from 2006 :-

This film was from a book of my fathers but I never saw it being too young! has anyone a copy? I never knew it existed only the book. Is it being re run? If you saw it anywhere please let me know as I am interested. This has to run for 10 lines so what can I say about something that is important. My father was a POW for some years and later found that the the family who took him in when he was shot down in Belgium were assassinated. This and the Prison Camp added stress to an already sensitive nature. He wrote some books under another name John Riston. He died in 1963 leaving just the one child – myself. He was a man of deep thoughts and reacted to these in a difficult way, perhaps that is why he wrote so well. I have all his books, and my favourite is The Slender Thread.

The above detail we would never know but for this comment which is quite sad to read, but it shows what people endured during those dark wartime days. Her father Douglas Baber was obviously a brave and heroic man

Books by Douglas Baber : BELOW


 Between 1949 and 1964 at least a dozen feature films—mainly crime and thrillers and usually released as B features, supporting more prestigious productions—were made by Brighton Film Studios and a number of others made use of the facilities. It was also used to shoot television commercials in the early days of ITV.

The Studios were situated on St Nicholas Road, Brighton.

It became an auction house after the studio closed and was later converted into flats.

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