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  1. #1
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    BRITAIN'S Ealing Studios, which paid tribute to the work of London's police some seven years ago in an expertly wrought feature called "The Blue Lamp," appear to be in an interesting rut.



    In "The Third Key," which was unveiled at the Sutton Theatre yesterday, Sir Michael Balcon and his Ealing confreres are focusing their cameras on the diligent, persevering and scientific detectives of New Scotland Yard with affectionate and increasingly lively results. This adventure about the search for a super safecracker and murderer does not crackle with excitement but its alert and methodical operatives manage to keep a viewer engrossed all the way.



    Although its approach to its central story is brisk and somewhat melodramatic as a safe is robbed and the stealthy thief eludes the police, it is merely the start of a chase course strewn with red herrings. It serves also to present detective superintendent Tom Halliday, a man up from the ranks, whose experience does not allow him to accept red herrings in lieu of real clues. He is a man whose home life is congenial but whose wife hates the call of duty, which may hurt him and which constantly disrupts their normal existence. His young son, on the other hand, is fascinated by and proud of his dad's seemingly exciting job.



    But his task is not full of fury. It is merely a succession of leads painstakingly checked by himself, his sergeant-assistant, who is an eager-beaver but bright type willing to learn, as well as the dozens of Scotland Yard specialists who help to piece together the final outline of the mystery man responsible for the crimes.

    Scotland Yard methods of crime detection are, of course, not new to filmgoers. But with the aid of the scenarists and director Charles Frend, the sleuthing takes on documentary overtones as fingerprint experts, a stool pigeon, the safe manufacturer and other citizens assist Halliday in a quest that becomes increasingly unusual and takes him as far as Wales in an attempt to snag his quarry.



    Although he is involved in an overly melodramatic d�nouement, Jack Hawkins contributes an underplayed but solid performance as Halliday, the intelligent Scotland Yard investigator who learns that, in this case, he cannot merely be a desk man "directing, controlling and administering."



    He gets effective support in comparatively brief roles from John Stratton, as his earnest and willing young detective-partner; Dorothy Alison and Michael Brooke, as his wife and son, respectively; Ursula Howells and Richard Leech, as the sought-after pair; Sydney Tafler, as a truculent business man and one of the safe-cracker's victims; Ralph Truman, as a stuffy safe manufacturer; Peter Burton, as a sneaky insurance agent, and Meredith Edwards, as a loquacious Welsh gas station owner.



    Mr. Hawkins and the other principals prove that a detective's lot, like a policeman's, may not be an easy one in "The Third Key" but it definitely is interesting.



    A.H. WEILER New York Times 3 June 1957





  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    A great film with superb attention to detail and detective work,and not without humour.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Ireland
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    superb procedural film,this and Jigsaw are two excellent films.

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