The Big Clock

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Back to Netflix-supplied oldies for us. I've watched this 1948 tongue-in-cheek thriller a couple times before, but it was new for Mrs. Salad.

George (Ray Milland) works for a magazine publishing conglomerate ruled tyrannically by Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton). George is responsible for "Crimeways" magazine, which punches up its circulation by finding missing people through intrepid detective work pursued by George and his crack staff.

But after years of this, George wants to head off on a long-delayed honeymoon with wife Georgette (Maureen O'Sullivan). Janoth demands he keep his nose to the grindstone, which leads to an unfortunate alliance between George and Janoth's mistress, Pauline. They go on an ill-advised alcohol-fueled odyssey through Manhattan; although George remains technically faithful, it doesn't look good. Things look even worse when Pauline gets murdered slightly after George departs. Soon, George finds himself running an intensive "Crimeways" manhunt, looking for himself.

It's tightly plotted; even little things, like a handkerchief gone astray, deserve your attention. Acting is great. As I said, it's tongue-in-cheek, with a lot of plot twists played for laughs. Elsa Lanchester has a small-but-pivotal role as an eccentric artist, and she hilariously steals every scene she's in.

Last Modified 2012-09-26 1:04 PM EDT