Appellate Judge James A. Stewart would hide out by the river, if he could count on female visitors.
"I've got twelve years of agony to get out of my system before I can be a human being again."
Philip Davidson (Sir John Mills, The History of Mr. Polly) spent twelve years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, thanks to some witnesses who weren't exactly honest. Now he's back in Kent, and some people are getting squirmy, but who has The Long Memory?
Davidson's hiding out along the river, but he gets a lot of unwanted visitors: an unkempt "friend," a newspaper, and a woman who has fallen in love with him, but must clean the place up first. He's turning people away—or trying to—but it doesn't seem to work.
Davidson doesn't seem all that vengeful; it doesn't help that John Mills reminds me of Red Skelton here. Ultimately, Davidson just wants to get on with his life. However, the reactions of the other people tend to carry the film as their fear and guilt are revealed. The nuances of the supporting performances are what's interesting. There's action—including a chase, in the last reel—but most of The Long Memory relies on the cast, dialogue, and detail. It's a strong cast, which means that, although there are lulls, the measured pace never becomes tedious. Sci-fi fans will note that the voice of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Peter Jones, has a small role.
It's a British B-movie from the 1950s, so it's clear that while there's a woman sleeping at Davidson's place, she's just sleeping there, even if Eva Bergh's passionate voice suggests something else. The story is derived from a Howard Clewes novel.
There are hints of an image echo and a lot of shadows in this 1.37:1 standard definition black-and-white transfer, making for the occasional hard-to-read image, but it's not too bad. The Dolby 2.0 Mono track is adequate, but nothing special. The only bonus feature is a gallery of production photos.
The Long Memory is a solid picture and worth a look, if you've got an interest in British B-movies.
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