Man at the Carlton Tower is one of the many B-movies based on Edgar Wallace stories that were cranked out by Britain’s Merton Park Studios in the early 1960s. Man at the Carlton Tower is a pretty decent entry in the series.
The story gets going right from the start with a daring robbery from a jeweller’s store in London. A policeman is shot dead trying to apprehend the thief. Detective Superintendent Cowley (Allan Cuthbertson) has only one possible clue to give him hope - the method used by the thief to crack the jeweller’s safe was rather distinctive. Superintendent Cowley decides to ask his old friend Tim Jordan (Lee Montague) for help.
Tim Jordan is an ex-Scotland Yard man who retired after coming into a great deal of money. He had also spent some time as a colonial policeman in Rhodesia and he remembers a celebrated robbery in Salisbury a couple of years earlier - the method used was the same as in the recent London robbery. Tim was certain of the identity of the Salisbury thief - a man named Lew Daney - but could not find the evidence to get a conviction. It was the biggest failure of his police career and it still rankles. He persuades Superintendent Cowley to put him on the case as a temporary unpaid Scotland Yard man.
Lew Daney’s wife Lydia (Maxine Audley) might also be worth investigating. Lydia seems like a rather classy lady to be married to a criminal, in fact classy enough to arouse a more than professional interest in Tim Jordan. The smooth but shady Johnny Time (Terence Alexander) also knows more than he’s prepared to talk about.
It’s a very serviceable plot with enough to keep the viewer interested for the film’s modest 57-minute running time. Philip Mackie, who went on to become a very fine and very successful television writer, wrote the screenplay. Director Robert Tronson had a very distinguished career as a television director and given the meagre budget he had to work with here he does a very competent job and keeps the pacing pleasingly tight.
Lee Montague proves to be a likeable lead as Tim Jordan, the amiable ex-cop who is much cleverer than he seems to be.
Man at the Carlton Tower is a good solid B-movie mystery. It doesn’t do anything ground-breaking but it delivers reasonable entertainment with the strong cast being a bonus. Recommended.