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THE LONG MEMORY, 1953
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  MOVIE POSTERTHE LONG MEMORY, 1953
Movie Reviews

Director: Robert Hamer

Stars: John Mills, John McCallum and Elizabeth Sellers

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

A man who is wrongfully sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit is released from jail and aims to get revenge on those who were responsible for convicting him.

REVIEW:

I saw this film a couple of years ago on Channel 4 and wanted to see it because it starred John Mills. Knowing no other information than that, I was amazed that I had never heard of The Long Memory before, especially as it seems to have inspired The Fugitive (1993).

Phillip Davidson (Mills) wants to marry his girlfriend Fay and visits her father's barge to ask for her hand in marriage. However, the boat which his future father-in-law lives on sinks after a fight. Many people confess in a trial that no other person apart from Davidson was on the barge and he is sent to prison for twelve years. Upon his release, Davidson has understandably become resentful and wants to get his revenge against the witnesses who were responsible for his prison sentence.

Many great film noirs have been released in Britain and The Long Memory must rank as being one of the best. Typically, it was filmed in Pinewood Studios where other British greats have been made. As many scenes were also shot in Kent and various places in London, it adds to the murky underworld of this story. At the beginning of the film, it seems that this would be a typical love story of where a man wants to marry a woman, they lead a happy life and the audience leaves the auditorium with a huge smile on their faces. However, The Long Memory is the complete opposite.

In 1952, Britons still had rationing and the national mood was depressing, especially as many cities still bore the signs of wartime bomb damage. The Long Memory seems to match the mood of the country because claustrophobia and paranoia are apparent throughout the whole story. As Davidson is released in the early 1950's after serving a twelve year prison sentence, he would have been sent to jail before WW2. Davidson could personify the mood of the country before 1939, he did not have a care in the world but, during the 1940's, he became a very tough character. Just like in his many other roles, Mills is fabulous as Davidson and adds a gritty realism to this character.

Although exact figures are difficult to find, it is likely that The Long Memory was shot on a very small budget. However, it demonstrates that a lot of money isn't required in order for a film to be successful and have an impact on audiences.

ACTORRobert Hamer
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORJohn Mills
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORJohn McCallum
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORElizabeth Sellars
Best of the ARTIST

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THE LONG MEMORY, 1953