Home at Seven (aka Murder on Monday) (1952)
Directed by Ralph Richardson
Produced by Maurice Cowan
Written by Anatole de Grunwald
Based on the play Home at Seven by R.C. Sherriff
Cinematography by Jack Hildyard, Edward Scaife
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Maurice Cowan Productions
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation
(1:25) New to me - Network (UK) DVD
Bank clerk David Preston (Ralph Richardson) arrives at home to find his wife Janet (Margaret Leighton) going to pieces. Where have you been? she asks. “I’m always home at seven,” Preston replies, looking to the clock on the mantle for support. What Preston doesn’t know is that it’s Tuesday, not Monday. An entire day has vanished from his memory while Janet has been at her wit’s end for 24 hours.
Janet calls in the family physician, Dr. Sparling (Jack Hawkins) to examine Preston. In the meantime, Preston learns that during his lost hours, a man has been murdered. The murdered man is not just anybody, but Preston’s fellow club member, the group’s bookkeeper.
Preston’s neighbor Major Watson (Michael Shepley, quite possibly the fastest-talking actor I have ever seen) knows that the club’s sweepstakes money was stolen at about the same time and suspects Preston.
Things get worse. Dr. Sparling delves deeper into Preston and claims that a normal, honest man would remain a normal, honest man, even in the state of amnesia. But what if this normal, honest man hated the bookkeeper, which Preston freely admits?
Hawkins and Shepley share a great moment in the film as their respective characters Dr. Sparling and Watson debate each other over the possibility that Preston is the culprit of both the theft of the money and the murder. Although this was Richardson’s first and only directorial effort (He was assisted by Guy Hamilton, who would later direct several of the James Bond pictures), it’s quite effective, Although the production suffers from a matter-of-fact ending that doesn’t quite satisfy, the well-drawn characters and excellent acting are strong inducements for taking a chance on Home at Seven.
Next time: a film noir about immigration. But wait! I’ve already covered Border Incident, so what could it be???
Photos: DVD Beaver, Classic Movie Ramblings