GenreCrime, Drama ScreenplayJanet Green WriterJanet Green LanguageEnglish
Release date14 August 1956 Initial releaseAugust 14, 1956 (United Kingdom) CastDonald Sinden (Wade), Muriel Pavlow (Lucy), Belinda Lee (Penny), Michael Craig (Jay), Ada Reeve (Mrs. Hudson) Similar moviesMuriel Box directed Eyewitness and Subway in the Sky
Eyewitness is a 1956 British thriller film directed by Muriel Box and starring Donald Sinden, Muriel Pavlow, Belinda Lee, Michael Craig, Nigel Stock and Richard Wattis. It was made by the Rank Organisation.
After an argument with her husband, Lucy Church storms out of her house and goes to see a film at the local cinema. While coming back from making a phone call, she stumbles across the office where she witnesses the murder of the cinema manager by two criminals Wade and Barney who are in the process of robbing the cinema's safe. When they pursue her, she is struck by a bus and is taken to hospital. Unable to leave the town until they know what has happened to her, the two robbers head to the hospital to observe her. Meanwhile her husband Jay Church has grown concerned and scours the town searching for her.
At the hospital the medical staff attend to Lucy and place her in a quiet ward although she has yet to regain consciousness. Wade, watching from the nearby shrubbery realises that if she lives she would be able to identify him and he would be hanged for murder and he decides to murder her in spite of the protests of his partner, Barney, who has grown disillusioned with his sinister intent. Wade is uninterested and beats him. He several times tries to enter the hospital to suffocate her but is repeatedly foiled, by the watchfulness of an elderly patient and a series of interruptions by the nurse's boyfriend, an expectant father and the watchman and dog on their rounds.
Eventually, Wade assumes the disguise of a hospital orderly and takes Lucy to the operating theatre where he plans to murder her – only to be prevented by the sudden reappearance of Barney, his associate.
Donald Sinden – Wade
Muriel Pavlow – Lucy Church
Belinda Lee – Nurse Penny Marston
Michael Craig – Jay Church
Nigel Stock – Barney
Susan Beaumont – Probationary Nurse
David Knight – Mike
Ada Reeve – Mrs Hudson
Avice Landone – Night sister
Richard Wattis – Anesthetist
George Woodbridge – Hospital securityman
Gillian Harrison – Molly
Nicholas Parsons – House Surgeon
Leslie Dwyer – Henry Cannon, expectant father
Anna Turner – Mrs. Hays
Anthony Oliver – Podge
The lead role of a murderer was a change of pace for actor Donald Sinden, who did extensive research for the part, modelling his performance on Neville Heath.
TV Guide gave the film two out of five stars, noting "a nice little thriller by the Sydney and Muriel Box team" ; while Britmovie wrote, "the minor suspenser has several threads but unfurls with a good sense of timing and provides both excitement and light-hearted moments of humour. Donald Sinden, a rather bland leading man, successfully attempts a very different character role, conveying all the ruthlessness of the cold-blooded killer. There’s also a fine supporting role from Nigel Stock as a deaf safe-breaker."