Sunday, June 24, 2018
The Brighton Strangler (1945)
Reginald Parker (John Loder) has achieved stardom on the London stage playing the lead in the hit play The Brighton Strangler. He’s about to marry Dorothy Kent (Rose Hobart), the author of the play. Things are generally looking very good indeed for him. And then a bomb drops on him. Literally. This all takes place during the Blitz and when a bomb hits the theatre Reginald Parker gets a very nasty hit on the head. And it’s that blow on the head that causes all the trouble.
He wanders into Victoria Station and there’s a young woman, a WAAF named April Manby, buying a ticket to Brighton. His memory tells him that Brighton means something and that this chance meeting means something - this young woman is like the woman in the play. They get to know each other on the train journey (just like in the play) and he meets her family and is invited over for dinner.
It’s unfortunate that Chief Inspector Allison (Miles Mander) is not a fan of the theatre and so he doesn’t notice anything odd about the fact that there’s a hit play about stranglings in Brighton and now he finds himself investigating murders by strangling in that very place.
Meanwhile Edward Grey has other scores he has to settle.
John Loder is excellent. He very wisely underplays slightly which makes the madness of his actions much more creepy. Even when he’s totally off his rocker he seems quite calm and sane. June Duprez as April is a more than adequate leading lady. Miles Mander was one of those reliable English character actors who could make minor characters such as Chief Inspector Allison so delightful.
Max Nosseck was a competent B-movie director and he gets the job done although perhaps a slightly less pedestrian approach might have paid dividends. The air raid scene is admittedly pretty well done.
A couple of years later the same basic idea was used, with some considerable success, in a Ronald Colman vehicle called A Double Life.
The Brighton Strangler was released on DVD in Spain but doesn’t seem to be available elsewhere. I caught this one on TV.
The less seriously you take The Brighton Strangler the more you’ll enjoy it. Recommended.