Blind Corner (1963 Britain)

(This motion picture is also known as “Man In The Dark” for the American market) Director Lance Comfort’s finest 74 minutes of his career. Not that that’s saying much as his stock in trade was the “supporting” B films that were shown before the main feature in British cinemas throughout the 1950s and 60s. These types of movies were done on the cheap as there just wasn’t enough cash in Britain’s post-war film industry those days. Its amazing how many did get made. They were always great value, and its fairly cheap to build up a nice dvd collection of them. They are also historical documents as to how people lived back then.

Anyway, Blind Corner overcomes its poverty stricken budget with a powerful cast of top actors. Despite it’s short running time, this is an absorbing little thriller – concerning a blind talented composer (William Sylvester) who’s wife (Barbara Shelley) is carrying on a clandestine affair with a struggling artist (Alexander Davion). When he becomes aware that their friendship is more than platonic, he threatens to cut his wife off without a penny, not wanting to lose her meal ticket, she then plots his murder. The wonderful Barbara Shelley looks irresistible as the wife, the underrated William Sylvester is very manly and direct while Alexander Davion (who underplays his role nicely) makes up the third part of the triangle. 

This is one of those blind-character-in-jeopardy stories that used to be popular. Being a pianist also adds to the period piece charm as few scripts these days centre around pianists! But some of the plot is, if you will pardon any pun, blindingly obvious. Unusually, it features a nice twist in its tale of adultery, greed and murder that comes as quite unexpected. One notable actor who is usually strong, Mark Eden, is unconvincingly characterized here as a record producer who says laughable lines like “One ring-a-ding-ding okay all systems go, success!” in a hopeless bid to sound “with it”. He deserved better but hey-ho, he didn’t write the script. On another plus side is that, despite the majority of the plot taking place on a couple of studio bound sets with very few exteriors, the film has a real sense of place and atmosphere enlivened by Basil Emmott’s atmospheric black-and-white camera-work.

What really makes Blind Corner a success, though, is its combination of some good performances (Barbara Shelley makes a superb cold-hearted, manipulative bitch of the first order), decent direction, and most of all a very good script – loaded with cruel dialogue and some unnerving scenes. Most notably one where Shelley and Davion are openly and overtly affectionate right in front of the blind Sylvester who can’t see what they’re up to. A major downside to watching Blind Corner is a couple of musical numbers courtesy of ‘special guest star’ Ronnie Carroll (an American pop singer with a massive jaw) to pad out the running time. The second ‘composition’, is accompanied by the kind of dance routine you just don’t see anymore. Thank goodness because it is embarrassing to watch and painful on the ear.

(The black bar under these photos is my TV)

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