Return of a Stranger (1937)    0 Stars


Return of a Stranger (1937)
Return of a Stranger (1937)


Director: Victor Hanbury

Cast: Griffith Jones, Rosalyn Boulter, Ellis Jeffries

Synopsis: A man is hunted for a murder he didn’t commit.







Cheap British quickie Return of a Stranger is one of those movies which has no need of an “any similarity to real people or events” because its storyline is so implausible. Usually, when a film like this takes itself as seriously as Return of a Stranger does it becomes almost unwatchable, but Victor Hanbury’s movie benefits from a brief running time and swift pace, both of which manage to divert our attention from its implausibilities of plot.

It begins like a sub-par Hitchcock thriller with young James Martin (Griffith Jones) wrongly accused of the murder of a solicitor who had just offered him a large sum of money to abandon his plan to elope with Carol Wall, the daughter (Rosalyn Boulter) of a wealthy businessman. Carol doesn’t exactly show a lot of faith in her intended, and her immediate assumption of his guilt has Martin fleeing to South Africa, where he builds a new life as a chemical scientist. When a laboratory accident results in injuries severe enough to alter Martin’s features completely (his moustache falls off, and his parting shifts three inches to the left), he decides to return to Blighty to prove his guilt.

It’s at least to the film’s credit that the reconfigured Martin’s belief that nobody will recognise him is largely misplaced. Carol clocks him straight away, and it’s not long before her oily husband (Cecil Ramage) starts growing suspicious. Return of a Stranger is an adequate time-passer which no doubt ably fulfilled its objective of keeping its audience entertained until the main feature came on. It’s aided by an engaging performance from Griffith Jones, a British actor with a touch of Bogarde about him who enjoyed a lengthy acting career without ever achieving the success and recognition he deserved. Boulter is an attractive actress. The corner of her lip sometimes curls as she speaks in an oddly appealing fashion…

(Reviewed 29th March 2015)

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