Rebuilding his career after being blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthy witch hunts, Joseph Losey found a wealth of support in England. He took a commission from Nat Cohen, a producer of exploitation fodder, to make a crime movie about an old-fashioned lone-wolf criminal trying to outwit a large crime syndicate.
Losey transformed the project into an exercise in existential angst, with the best of collaborators: actor Stanley Baker, hiding his anguish beneath a severe, tight-lipped exterior; emerging playwright Alun Owen (his first feature, soon to be followed by A Hard Day's Night) who crafted terse, percussive dialogues; and above all, Robert Krasker, whose willingness to play with light and camera angles gave Losey perfect expression for his intense, baroque vision. John Dankworth’s moody jazz score adds to the mix, especially with Cleo Laine singing the haunting, recurring theme song.
The second in a series of three films featuring cinematography by Robert Krasker.
See more films in the Canberra International Film Festival.