Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The October Man

TCM is showing a nifty little British movie at 1:30 PM ET on October 22: the 1947 mystery The October Man.

John Mills stars as Jim Ackland, a chemist who suffered a brain injury in a bus crash and spent a year recovering in hospitals as a result. He's released, not fully certain whether he's fully cured, and returns to work, taking a room in a boarding house that, being British, has a bunch of eccentric tenants. One evening, while walking across the courtyard to get back to his house, Jim meets a woman who's one of his housemates and needs a bit of help, and gives her a bit of money. Unfortunately for him, she turns up dead -- and Jim, having had the head injury, is the prime suspect. Jim, of course, is convinced that he's innocent, and with the help of his girlfriend, he sets out to find the real murderer.

This is the sort of interesting, quirky little film that was being made in Britain at the time, eventually reaching the shores of the US. One of the pluses of this is that it's a really wonderful little movie, with a much different atmosphere than we would get from Hollywood movies. Things might look a bit cheap, but then, it has to be remembered that Britain had been through the long World War II, which was a much bigger drain on British resources than on the USA's. From what documentary evidence I've seen, it looks as though these movies aren't that far off in their depiction of the economic state of the UK at the time. As for the plot, there are enough interesting characters, as well as twists and turns, to keep anybody interested and guessing what will happen next. As such, it's a movie I can fairly strongly recommend.

There is one negative to such British movies: there's less of an interest for them than there is for a lot of Hollywood movies of the same era, which means that if they're released on DVD, they're relased in smaller runs and are more expenseive as a result. That, however, is for the ones that get released on DVD in the first place. The October Man does not seem to have been put out on DVD in the US yet. And that's a shame.

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