FINGER OF GUILT 1956

imageAlso known as The Intimate Stranger,this film, made in England, brought over Richard Basehart and Mary Murphy from Hollywood and the plot allowed the use of Shepperton Studios for many of the scenes.

Richard Basehart,as Reggie Wilson,has left Hollywood after an affair with the wife of a Hollywood executive.  Reggie came to England three years earlier and landed on his feet.He married the daughter of the head of a UK film studio and became a producer.(Roger Livesey is the studio head and Faith Brook is Reggie’s wife.)

At the film’s start, Reggie is telling his doctor what his problem is. He has been receiving letters mailed in Newcastle from a girl called Evelyn who says she is his lover. But Reggie says he doesn’t know her.The girl (played by Mary Murphy) even sends a letter to his wife.

Constance Cummings  plays Kay Wallace a film star who has come to England to star in Reggie’s latest film – she’s also an old flame of his.

Eventually Reggie goes to the police and has a confrontation with the girl. But he ends up losing his wife and his job before the truth is revealed.

As he says,”How can my life fall apart like this over something I haven’t done.”

 

Richard Basehart,Constance Cummings,Faith Brook

Richard Basehart,Constance Cummings,Faith Brook

This a great little thriller directed by Joseph Losey.although Losey couldn’t use his real name as a result of the HUAC hearings.The same applied to the film’s writer,Howard Koch.
I was impressed by both Richard Basehart and Mary Murphy (whatever happened to Mary’s career – she was a good actress and this is a good part for her.)

13 responses »

  1. It is . A good noirish mystery and a great use of the indoor and outdoor sets of Shepperton studios. And surely one of Mary Murphy’s best roles.

  2. That’s good. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
    Haven’t seen A Man Alone for ages. Must try and catch it again.

  3. According to imdb Mary was “discovered” by a talent scout
    while she was working on the gift counter of a big department
    store. When she retired from acting she ran an art gallery.
    According to imdb her acting career was no big deal to her.
    Her best role,IMHO is in Phil Karlsons HELLS ISLAND.
    She is a femme fatale to be reckoned with in that one.
    Someone sent me the USA shorter version of FINGER
    OF GUILT and I really wish someone would release the longer
    British version.

  4. Colin, you found FINGER OF GUILT/THE INTIMATE STRANGER
    online…..where?
    The UK version is 95 minutes,the USA version sent to me (Netflix)
    is 84 minutes. I DO hope Network or someone release the full
    length British version.
    I always thought it strange that for someone who never set out to
    be an actress,Mary Murphy sure worked with some heavyweight
    talent:Bogart,Brando,Wyler and Losey.

    • Sorry for the late reply John. Someone uploaded the 84 minute version to YouTube, and that’s where I saw it. I too would now love to see the longer cut of the movie.

  5. Vienna, both FINGER OF GUILT and HELL’S ISLAND both sound like they’re well worth a look! Though I’m sorry Mary Murphy’s film career was relatively brief, I’m glad she apparently bounced back with Murphy found herself a new career in art. I enjoyed your post!

  6. I’ve not seen this one, but I agree both Basehart and Losey, in their separate careers, did some terrific work. I’ve always been very impressed by Basehart’s intensity and deceptive vulnerability. Have you ever seen the Losey-directed “The Sleeping Tiger” (1954) with Alexis Smith? Another sort of emotional rollercoaster.

  7. Richard Basehart impresses me more and more, from his first film in 1947, Repeat Performance,then He Walked by Night, Tension,The House on Telegraph Hill,Time Limit.
    Yes, I liked Sleeping Tiger – Alexis Smith had a good role in it.

  8. Just watched this last night and really enjoyed it. Basehart is very good – intense, frustrated and eaten up with doubt. I thought all the female stars did strong work too although I felt Faith Brook was a weak choice as the wife, especially pitted against the wonderful Mary Murphy.
    In some ways, it’s interesting to contrast this with another of Losey’s early British thrillers THE SLEEPING TIGER – I found this much more engrossing.

    I also liked the way the film subverted a common genre trope, the woman whose sanity is threatened, and instead had Basehart questioning his grip on reality.

    Thanks for drawing this one to my attention.

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