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aka - Stranger In Between, The
United Kingdom 1952
Directed by
Charles Crichton
84 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Against the backdrop of post-war English industrial grime Dirk Bogarde plays a cuckold on the run after murdering his wife's lover in a crime of passion who finds hope in an unlikely friendship with a young boy (Jon Whiteley).

Thematically reminiscent of Carol Reed's Odd Man Out (1947) with once again a protagonist who is a fleeing pariah battling conflicting emotions of guilt and the will to live and the compassion or lack of it that he encounters from people along the way. Although most people understandably rate Reed's film higher this has its smaller, more sentimental charms with Bogarde, despite being too well spoken to be convincing as sea-farer, bringing a touching pathos to his character who finds some measure of redemption for his crime in the trust of a young boy.

In a kind of updated Dickensian way, the film, scripted by Jack Whittingham, also takes on the boy's story to make a comprehensive case for the substance of kindness over its appearance whilst Crichton's direction, aided by Eric Cross's fine black and white cinematography particularly in the section covering the pair's cross-country adventures recalls Powell and Pressburger's sense of God-given nature contrasted to the petty world of human striving and folly.

FYI:  Whiteley would also appear with Bogarde in The Spanish Gardener (1956) before quitting film.




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