Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 1. March 1, 1946
The Brighton Strangler
The Brighton Strangler
For stage one psychologists and those who are not over-reflective about the effects of concussion, this film [unclear: might] be dramatically effective. Otherwise it succeeds only too often in labouring its attempt to make plausible the process of behaviour flxation of an actor who is stunned by a falling beam in an air raid. This actor, John Loder, at the time of the accident is playing the title role of a stage play of the same name as the film in London during the blitz. Following his blow on the head he loses his memory and promptly proceeds to re-live the thing he most remembers; the plot of the play that he has lived 300 times. An original contribution to the apparently endless series of psychopathological themes, and one which is ably supported by Loder, who provides some impressive ocular and facial work.
The obvious aim of a story of this kind is suspense with perhaps a little straight horror for the less sophisticated, but it fails in both. The straight horror is too quickly done, without yells or other acoustical results of strangulation, of which there are two and a half examples. The suspense fails because, by the end of reel one, even the most indifferent are aware that the hero is about to reproduce in real life the triple murder which he commits in his play. Having been deprived of the major interest, that is the promise of the unknown, one is [unclear: forced] to be content with speculating on two minor issues. One, whether the charming but trite [unclear: Waaf] officer whom the strangler meets immediately after his accident, and who is patently intended to be victim number three, will be abolished in due course. And, two, what kind of fate awaits the hero-strangler who is not responsible for his actions, but is engaged to another heroine who thinks him dead. After two of the real life victims have fallen it becomes certain that the hero just has to die eventually; they always do. Also it is early assured that the old movie custom of not allowing one of a couple in love to be ingloriously murdered, will be observed, and that the Waaf officer will not die because she is married to an American marine.
The film is supported by a particularly moronic Hollywood slapstick short, and I might serve a negative function in recommending this as a show to avoid.