Guilt Is My Shadow is a low-key 1950 crime drama from Associated British Pictures.
The movie opens dramatically enough with a bank robbery gone wrong. The getaway driver is the only member of the gang to escape. The driver is a young man named Jamie (Peter Reynolds) and deciding that it would be advisable to make himself scarce for a while he hides out on his uncle’s farm.
Jamie’s uncle is Kit (Patrick Holt) and he’s a bit of a recluse. The farm is fairly isolated and that’s how he likes it. Kit is not overly enthusiastic about having his nephew staying with him but family is family and there’s not much he can do. Kit is also a little suspicious of his nephew, which suggests (although it isn’t actually stated) that Jamie has perhaps been a somewhat wild young man.
He gets himself a job in the local garage where he unashamedly cheats the customers.
All is going well for Jamie until his wife Linda (Elizabeth Sellars) suddenly arrives. It’s obvious that the marriage is not a successful one and it’s equally obvious that Jamie is not pleased by Linda’s arrival. He doesn’t let her presence cramp his style though and he is soon in pursuit of Betty (Lana Morris). Betty is the sort of girl who likes charming bad boys.
Of course this tense situation becomes a powder keg waiting to explode and eventually it does explode, with fatal consequences for one of the parties involved.
It seems that this unfortunate outcome might never come to light but while you may be able to conceal guilt from the police you cannot conceal it from yourself. Sooner or later you discover that guilt really is your shadow.
The opening sequence might lead you to expect a gritty urban crime thriller but what you get is more of a rural psychological melodrama.
Director Roy Kellino had an undistinguished career in movies before moving into television but he does a capable job here. He has a good eye for composition and he shows some imagination without being in the least gimmicky. The screenplay, by Kellino, Ivan Foxwell and John Gilling (whom I’ve written about quite a lot recently), is solid if somewhat less than startlingly original. It was based on a novel by Norah Lofts.
This is as I said earlier a low-key crime film. In fact many modern viewers might find it to be a bit too low-key. There is suspense but it never really builds to nail-biting levels. The pacing for the first half of the movie is quite leisurely. It’s a story that probably could have been done quite successfully as a one-hour television drama. At 86 minutes it’s definitely just a touch overlong.
Network’s Region 2 DVD offers an excellent transfer.
Guilt Is My Shadow is an understated little movie that works quite well. Recommended.