Release dateApril 27, 1951 WriterJ. Lee Thompson (play), J. Lee Thompson (screenplay)
murder without crime out on dvd 26 08 2013
Murder Without Crime is a 1950 British crime film directed by J. Lee Thompson (his first film) and starring Dennis Price, Derek Farr and Patricia Plunkett. J. Lee Thompson also wrote the screenplay adapted from Double Error, his own successful West End play.
Following a bitter row, writer Stephen Holt (Derek Farr) walks out on his wife Jan (Patricia Plunkett) and goes to drown his sorrows at a nightclub. A drunken Steve ends up returning home with the club’s wily hostess, Grena (Joan Dowling). Just then Jan calls, and announces she’s returning that night to the flat. Steve attempts to get rid of Grena, but a fight ensues and he believes he’s killed her. He quickly hides the body in an ottoman. Downstairs, the suave and sinister landlord Matthew (Dennis Price) hears the disturbance and goes to investigate. Matthew suspects the edgy Steve is hiding something, and during the night continually taunts his tenant. Stephen eventually confesses, but rather than calling for the police the landlord blackmails his tenant for an extortionate rent, and reveals his long-held affection for his tenant's wife.
Matthew – Dennis Price
Stephen – Derek Farr
Jan – Patricia Plunkett
Grena – Joan Dowling
Britmovie noted a "slick noirish thriller atmospherically directed by J. Lee Thompson."
TV Guide wrote the film "suffers from a stagy presentation that never lets the celluloid medium take over...Thompson is content to present only a visually simplistic recording of the play. The dialog doesn't work well on screen, often drawing unintentional laughs. Despite the film's overriding weaknesses, it was an enormous hit in London's West End."
In The New York Times Bosley Crowther noted "a harmless, and, for the most part, pleasurable, addition to the horror-with-a-twist genre."