The Long Arm 1956 – Jack Hawkins

This was a film that I couldn’t remember seeing up until last evening on Talking Pictures but I can certainly recommend it when it turns up again as it will do.

Jack Hawkins plays a Police Inspector on the trail of a clever crime whereby a professional key maker at a Safe Factory had devised a way of robbing large companies, Everything goes wrong for him very early in the picture when he and his colleague run over a man who has seen them come out of a factory at dead of night. The young man dies and so a murder investigation begins.

Director Charles Frend does a splendid job with THE LONG ARM. The film has street scenes, and landmarks of the London and Wales of the 1950s which are fascinating

Ursula Howells, the pretty lady who plays the part of Mrs Gilson, she donates £5 towards Ian Bannen’s widow. When we see what happens later in the film we realise just how cruel this was

ABOVE – Ian Bannen goes off to work on an early morning shift

Robbery is about to take place

ABOVE – Dorothy Alison as Jack Hawkin’s wife in the film

ABOVE – The first robbery we see which finishes in tragedy

ABOVE and BELOW – I just love these scenes shot in North Wales

BELOW – the Petrol Station in North Wales – there were many of these around in the 50’s

ABOVE – We are back and now in Shepperton where the trail leads us

BELOW – Home at last – slightly injured

This is a superb police detection drama, with Jack Hawkins tackling a rather complex crime saga. The best supporting performance is by Ursula Howells, who brilliantly conveys menace and desperation in just a few scenes. Ian Bannen who many years later played Dr Cameron in the second series is killed off very quickly, but already in this early appearance we can see that he is a good actor.

The plot has some intriguing features. In the first safe robbery at the beginning of the film, the thief remains at the scene of the crime and pretends to be a night watchman, lets the police in, shows sympathy and bewilderment, and then makes his escape after they have gone. The whole case really is a requires some working out – but it is well worth viewing

It is ironic seeing Ian Bannen run over in this film – he actually died many years later in a car crash on the Loch Ness road in 1999

I also remember him being very good in Walt Disney’s ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ – a favourite of mine and my family

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