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The Long Memory

The Long Memory

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The Long Memory is a 1952
1952 in film
The year 1952 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* January 10 - Cecil B. DeMille's circus epic, The Greatest Show on Earth, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City....

 film directed by Robert Hamer
Robert Hamer
Robert James Hamer was a British film director and screenwriter. He was the son of the actor Gerald Hamer ....

 and based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Howard Clewes
Howard Clewes
Howard Clewes was an English screenwriter and novelist. He wrote for eight films between 1951 and 1974. He also wrote twenty action novels from 1938 to 1979.He was born in York, England...

. A crime thriller filmed on the North Kent Marshes
North Kent Marshes
The North Kent Marshes, located in the north of the county of Kent on the Thames Estuary in south-east England, is one of 22 Environmentally Sensitive Areas recognised by the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...

 on the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
The Thames Mouth is the estuary in which the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea.It is not easy to define the limits of the estuary, although physically the head of Sea Reach, near Canvey Island on the Essex shore is probably the western boundary...

 and the dingy backstreets of Gravesend
Gravesend, Kent
Gravesend is a town in northwest Kent, England, on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Tilbury in Essex. It is the administrative town of the Borough of Gravesham and, because of its geographical position, has always had an important role to play in the history and communications of this part of...

 (now long since demolished) its bleak setting and grim atmosphere have led to its acclaim as a British example of film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

.

Synopsis


The protagonist, Davidson (John Mills
John Mills
Sir John Mills CBE , born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills, was an English actor who made more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.-Life and career:...

), visits the boat of Captain Driver to ask permission to marry his daughter Fay. Aboard, he finds himself involved in a fight over the criminal activities of Boyd, a people trafficker with whom the Drivers are associated. The boat catches fire, and subsequent investigation finds aboard a charred corpse, Boyd having gone missing. The corpse is actually a client Boyd killed, but to cover up their involvement, the Drivers and another associate, Tim Pewsey, perjure
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

 themselves by claiming there was no other man present. This leads to the identification of the corpse as Boyd and to Davidson's conviction for his murder. He spends 12 years in prison.

Upon his release, he sets out to get even with the three witnesses. Living rough in a beached barge on the Kent Marshes, he returns to the scene of the crime and begins gathering clues as to the whereabouts of the witnesses. He finds that Captain Driver has drunk himself to death, Pewsey is a confused wreck, and Fay is now married to a policeman, Inspector Lowther (John McCallum
John McCallum
John McCallum, PC, MP is a Liberal Canadian politician, economist and university professor. Following the 2006 Federal Election, he became the Liberal Finance Critic in the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet...

), who has spent the past dozen years mulling over the case, wondering if Davidson might indeed be innocent.

Three people attempt unsuccessfully to befriend Davidson: Jackson, a kindly old hermit from whom he rents the barge; Ilse, a traumatised refugee who falls in love with him after he rescues her from being raped by a sailor and allows her to stay overnight on his barge; and Craig, a journalist who is interested in his case and also suspects him to be innocent.

Shadowed by Lowther, whose own marriage is coming under increasing tension with the possibility of his wife's perjury, Davidson stalks Pewsey to frighten him into confessing to the police, and also discovers that the alleged murder victim, Boyd, is alive and well. He visits Boyd's office and confronts him, but is shot and finds himself pursued by Boyd and his criminal chauffeur. He flees to the Kent Marshes, where he is saved during a final confrontation when Boyd, about to kill him, is shot by Jackson. The film concludes with Ilse and Davidson refusing further help, leaving to deal with their pasts together.

Production


The film was made at Pinewood Studios
Pinewood Studios
Pinewood Studios is a major British film studio situated in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, approximately west of central London. The studios have played host to many productions over the years from huge blockbuster films to television shows to commercials to pop promos.The purchase of Shepperton...

 and on location in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 around Gravesend
Gravesend, Kent
Gravesend is a town in northwest Kent, England, on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Tilbury in Essex. It is the administrative town of the Borough of Gravesham and, because of its geographical position, has always had an important role to play in the history and communications of this part of...

 and at Shad Thames
Shad Thames
Shad Thames is an historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey, London, England, and is also an informal name for the surrounding area...

 in London. It was the last film of Henry Edwards
Henry Edwards (actor)
Henry Edwards was an English actor and film director. He appeared in 81 films between 1915 and 1952. He also directed 67 films between 1915 and 1937...

, a major British star of the 1920s and 1930s, who had a small role as a judge early in the film.

Cast

  • John Mills
    John Mills
    Sir John Mills CBE , born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills, was an English actor who made more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.-Life and career:...

     as Phillip Davidson
  • John McCallum
    John McCallum (actor)
    John Neil McCallum, AO, CBE was an Australian theatre and film actor. He was also a television producer.McCallum was born in Brisbane, Queensland, in 1918, son of theatre owner and entrepreneur John Neil McCallum Sr., who built and for many years ran the 2,000 seat Cremorne Theatre on the banks of...

     as Superintendent Bob Lowther
  • Elizabeth Sellars
    Elizabeth Sellars
    Elizabeth Sellars is a British actress.Sellars was born in Glasgow, Scotland. She appeared on the stage from age 15 and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts...

     as Fay Lowther
  • Eva Bergh
    Eva Bergh
    Eva Bergh is a Norwegian actress. Her most famous film roles are in The Long Memory and Struggle for Eagle Peak .-External links:...

     as Ilse
  • Geoffrey Keen
    Geoffrey Keen
    Geoffrey Keen was an English actor who appeared in supporting roles in many famous films.-Early life:Keen was born in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, the son of stage actor Malcolm Keen. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School. He then joined the Little Repertory Theatre in Bristol for whom...

     as Craig
  • Michael Martin Harvey
    Michael Martin Harvey
    Michael Martin Harvey was a British actor. He was the son of John Martin-Harvey.-Selected filmography:* The Drum * Bedelia * The Monkey's Paw * The Case of Charles Peace * Torment...

     as Jackson
  • John Chandos
    John Chandos (actor)
    John Chandos was a British film and television actor.-Filmography:* 49th Parallel * The Next of Kin * The First of the Few...

     as Boyd
  • John Slater
    John Slater (actor)
    John Slater was a British character actor usually seen as lugubrious, amiable cockney types.His father was an antiques dealer. After attending St. Clement Danes School, Slater began acting in farce at the Whitehall Theatre. He first appeared on film in 1938, remaining active in the industry up to...

     as Pewsey
  • Thora Hird
    Thora Hird
    Dame Thora Hird DBE was an English actress.-Early life and career:Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing...

     as Mrs Pewsey
  • Vida Hope
    Vida Hope
    -Selected filmography:* Champagne Charlie * English Without Tears * Hue and Cry * Nicholas Nickleby * It Always Rains on Sunday * Woman Hater * For Them That Trespass...

     as Alice Gedge
  • Harold Lang as Boyd's chauffeur
  • Mary Mackenzie
    Mary Mackenzie
    Mary Mackenzie was an English actress. One of her earliest credited TV roles was in 1950 on BBC's Sunday Night Theatre, as Miriam in an adaptation of H. G. Wells' The History of Mr Polly, a role she returned to in the 1959 BBC serialization.-Early and personal Life :Mackenzie was born and lived in...

     as Gladys
  • John Glyn-Jones
    John Glyn-Jones
    John Glyn-Jones was a British television and film actor.His father was a Member of Parliament and he was educated at Bishop's Stortford College and Oxford University. He began his acting career in repertory theatre in Oxford and with the BBC Drama Repertory Company...

     as Gedge
  • John Horsley
    John Horsley (actor)
    John L. Horsley is an English actor. He was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England.He made his acting debut at the Theatre Royal in Bournemouth. His early career saw him playing a succession of doctors and policemen, the former on film in Hell Drivers , the latter on television in Big...

     as Bletchley
  • Fred Johnson as Driver
  • Laurence Naismith
    Laurence Naismith
    Laurence Naismith was an English actor.Naismith appeared in films such as Carrington VC , Richard III , Sink the Bismarck! , Jason and the Argonauts , and Diamonds Are Forever . He also starred in a children's ghost film The Amazing Mr Blunden...

     as Hasbury
  • Peter Jones
    Peter Jones (actor)
    Peter Jones was an English actor, screenwriter and broadcaster.-Early life and career:Jones was born in Wem, Shropshire and he was educated at the Wem Grammar School and Ellesmere College. He made his first appearance as an actor in Wolverhampton at the age of 16 and then appeared in repertory...

     as Fisher
  • Christopher Beeny
    Christopher Beeny
    Born in London, Beeny began his career at the age of six when he danced for the ' Ballet Rambert. He spent several years at the ' Arts Educational School before later progressing to 'RADA.His first screen role was in the 1952 film The Long Memory...

     as Mickey
  • Ernest Clark
    Ernest Clark
    Ernest Clark was a British actor of stage, television and film.-Early life:Clark was the son of a master builder in Maida Vale, and was educated nearby at St Marylebone Grammar School. After leaving school he became a reporter on a local newspaper in Croydon...

     as Prosecuting Councel (uncredited)
  • Henry Edwards
    Henry Edwards (actor)
    Henry Edwards was an English actor and film director. He appeared in 81 films between 1915 and 1952. He also directed 67 films between 1915 and 1937...

     as Judge (uncredited)
  • Arthur Mullard
    Arthur Mullard
    Arthur Ernest Mullard, original surname Mullord was an English comedy actor.- Early life :...

     as Police Constable (uncredited)
  • Denis Shaw
    Denis Shaw
    Denis Shaw was a British character actor specialising in slimy villains. Born in Dulwich, he was a rotund man, with dark, wavy hair, and slanty eyes...

     as Shaw (uncredited)
  • Julian Somers as Delaney (uncredited)
  • Russell Waters
    Russell Waters
    Russell Waters was a Scottish film actor.Waters was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow and the University of Glasgow. He began acting with the Old English Comedy and Shakespeare Company then appeared in repertory theatre, at the Old Vic and in the West End. On screen Waters generally...

    as Scotson (uncredited)