British born Jeffrey Dell was better known as a writer than a film director, although he did direct four feature films between 1943 and 1950 and one co-direct with Roy Boulting in 1959. The Dark Man (1951), which was also known as Man Detained, was made at Merton Park and on the Kent coast in England. Sharp eyes will spot Maidstone written on the front of a single decker bus, and its exciting climax was filmed on the British Army ranges at Dungeness in 1950 just six years after the end of WW2.
|The Ruthless Killer.|
This Jeffery Dell penned story starts when a ruthless killer, known only as the Dark Man (Maxwell Reed), robs and kills a petty criminal at an isolated farmhouse. Driven to the scene of the crime by a local taxi driver who is deemed to be the only witness has to be disposed of. When our killer is dealing with the driver a young woman on her bicycle hears the shots and pauses to investigate and accidently see’s the face of the murderer. Molly Lester (Natasha Perry) quickly leaves the scene but to late - the Dark Man has seen her and sets out to eliminate her and protect his identity, but not before she is given police protection in the form of Detective Inspector Jack Viner (Edward Underdown), who unprofessionally admits to Molly (22 years his junior) that he has developed romantic feelings for her? It wouldn’t happen today I hear you shout! In the meantime our villain is still stalking his intended victim and outwitting our London based lovelorn policeman.
|The Best Friend.|
Also on the cast list are Barbara Murray as Molly’s friend Carol Barns and William Hartnell as Jack Viner’s grumpy boss. As with many of these 1950’s British movies it includes some well-known faces including Harry Fowler, Sam Kidd, Digby Wolfe and Robert Brown. Not a particular unusual story but one made more interesting by Dell’s direction, the menace of Maxwell Reed as the shadowy villain and the location shooting in what seemed like, certainly compared to today, an empty Kent coast! Well worth a look at something that comes across as a rather superior B-movie.