THE OCTOBER MAN [1947] – movie review

April 19, 2014 · Print This Article

Continuing my film noir marathon this evening with THE OCTOBER MAN [1947], a British movie in black & white featuring proper film noir atmosphere full of characters standing in shadows and being revealed behind clouds of steam. I like listening to the very formal and polite way of British people speaking to each other even when discussing unpleasant or even hostile topics.

The movie opens with a packed highway bus driving down a dark lane. The smiles and merriment inside the bus is in direct contrast with the ominous night on the outside. A piece of the suspension comes loose on the bus and there is a terrible accident. Jim Ackland survives, but the young girl sitting next to him does not. That reality, and the crack to his skull kept him in the hospital for a year. Upon his release he takes a room at a live-in hotel and gets a job in a laboratory. We meet the people who live in the hotel, and know right away who we like, and who we do not. Jim is not really concerned with getting to know the others, he just wants to be alone and recover from the past year. Still, a pretty young woman gets his attention, that is until Jim is setup on a date with a co-worker’s sister.

Things are now totally great for Jim, so queue the music to bring about the plot action that undoes it all for him, as this is a film noir after all! His neighbor at the hotel, the poor girl, is strangled in the common, and the police single-mindedly pursue Jim as the only suspect, largely due to him having been in the hospital. There are not many suspects, so it is not too hard to guess who the real murder is, what is a nice plot twist, is how that information gets confirmed. That was quite a surprise.

Having been so close to have a full life again, Jim desperately tries to prove his innocence as he scours the countryside looking for Mr. Peachy. THE OCTOBER MAN is a solid film noir.

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