Marriage of Convenience
Jack Greenwood for Merton Park Studios
directed by Clive Donner
starring Harry H. Corbett, John Cairney, John Van Eyssen, Jennifer Daniel, Moira Redmond, Russell Waters, Trevor Reid, Howard Goorney, Alexander Archdale, Geoffrey Denton, Patrick Ludlow, Barry MacLean, Basil Beale, Alex Scott, Patricia Burke, Pauline Shepherd, Leila Williams, Duncan Burns,
screenplay by Robert Banks Stewart, based on the novel The Three Oak Mystery by Edgar Wallace, music by Francis Chagrin
Merton Park Studios' Edgar Wallace Mysteries
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At the registry, Barbara (Jennifer Daniel) impatiently awaits her
fiancé Larry (John Cairney) to finally officially tie the knot, and he
pretty much arrives the last minute, accompanied by two policemen as he's
in jail for murder - but somehow he can give his guards the slip in the
registry and locks them in with a key supplied to him by his fiancée.
Turns out the whole wedding-to-be was just a set up to spring Larry
planned by Barbara's stepdad Sam (Russell Waters), Larry's former
cellmate, at whose garage Larry hides out - and plans to get his hands on
the loot from the bank job he went to jail for - but seems the woman he's
hidden the money with, his ex fiancée Tina (Moira Redmond) has skipped
town, and Larry has to break into the very registry he has escaped his
guards from to find out Tina has married and moved to the country, married
the very man who arrested Larry, John Mandle (John Van Eyssen). So
apparently Mandle isn't a quite clean cop himself. And thus, Sam plans a
trip to the country.
Inspector Bruce (Harry H. Corbett) meanwhile is
rather quick to track Larry back to Sam's garage but misses him by a hair.
But when he learns that Larry's going after Mandle, he's quick to conclude
that Mandle got himself dirty when arresting Larry. But now it's a race
against time to both prevent Larry from (in the worst case) killing
Mandle, and capturing both Larry and Mandle - and Larry's not one to be
arrested easily ...
Now I freely admit I've never read Edgar
Wallace's novel this movie is based on, so I can by no means attest how
faithful the film is to its source material, but it sure is a rather
unusual Edgar Wallace movie for sure: There's no overblown gimmickry in
this one, no over-convoluted plotlines, contrived plot devices, overly
eccentric characters, obscenely vast mansions with dungeons, trap doors,
and hidden corridors, no sinister butlers, hodded figures or any of that
sort. Instead what we have is a very down-to-earth crime drama with shades
of film noir (plot-wise, not direction-wise) with believable and relatable
characters, told in a very stringent manner and high on tension throughout
- and above all it's a really good movie, also thanks to a very solid cast
and a grounded directorial effort. So certainly not your typical Edgar
Wallace - but a very cool crime drama.