Seven Days to Noon

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Seven Days to Noon
Seven daysPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Boulting
Roy Boulting
Produced by John Boulting
Roy Boulting
Written by James Bernard
Roy Boulting
Paul Dehn
Frank Harvey
Starring Barry Jones
Music by John Addison
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Edited by John Boulting
Roy Boulting
Production
company
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK)
Release dates
  • 10 October 1950 (1950-10-10) (UK)
Running time 94 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Seven Days to Noon is a 1950 British drama / thriller film directed by John Boulting and Roy Boulting. Paul Dehn and James Bernard won the Academy Award for Best Story for this film.

Plot[edit]

The film is set in the early 1950s. The British Prime Minister, (Ronald Adam), is sent a letter by Professor Willingdon (Barry Jones), who works at Britain's Atomic weapons development facility, the Wallingford Research Centre, from which he has surreptitiously taken a nuclear warhead. It is a very explicit threat that Willingdon will destroy the centre of London in a week's time, at noon (hence the film title), unless the British government declares that it is to stop all stockpiling of nuclear warheads. Detective Superintendent Folland (André Morell) of Scotland Yard's Special Branch is charged with tracking down Willingdon and stopping him.

Arriving at the (fictitious) Wallingford Research Centre (based on the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment {AWRE} at Aldermaston), Folland's team find Willingdon missing, along with a nuclear bomb. Willingdon's assistant Lane (Hugh Cross) is recruited to help and they return to London to search for him.

Willingdon, carrying his bomb in a Gladstone bag, finds lodgings with Mrs. Peckitt (Joan Hickson), but spooks her with his constant pacing around his room during the night. The following morning, he leaves early and seeing a 'wanted' poster with his face, disguises himself with a new coat and having his moustache shaved off.

Folland's team plan for the worst and get Cabinet approval to evacuate London. Rumours begin to fly that another war is about to be declared, and the Prime Minister agrees to do a radio broadcast to try to quash these, and appeal to Willingdon to give himself up.

The next day, Willingdon's daughter, Ann (Sheila Manahan), turns up at Folland's office to demand some answers. Folland tells her all and asks her to stay and help – she may be the only person the professor will listen to.

Mrs. Peckitt reports Willingdon to the police, thinking that he is a 'landlady murderer' reported in the paper, but a quick-thinking constable realises the description better matches Willingdon and a car is sent to check him.

Unfortunately, Willingdon spots it on his way back to his lodgings and makes a quiet get-away. Driving back to their hotel from the police operations centre, Lane and Ann Willingdon spot the professor and try to catch him. An updated description is quickly circulated.

That evening Willingdon bumps into 'Mrs' "Goldie" Phillips (Olive Sloane), she offers that he can buy her a drink, the two of them having met, by chance, earlier at a pawn brokers. Without any lodgings, Goldie offers him her 'spare' bed for the night. By this time, London is being evacuated and Willingdon decides to lie low. The troops have begun to search and Goldie's bedsit seems a good place to remain hidden. Willingdon is forced to hold Goldie hostage, fearing that if he didn't, she would inform the authorities of his location.

The streets cleared, Willingdon makes his escape and finds his final refuge, a bomb blitzed church. The net steadily closes and Willingdon is finally found, praying. Lane, Ann and Folland arrive to try to talk the professor away from his bag. He panics, runs from the church, and is killed by an even more panicking soldier. With seconds to spare, Lane has the bomb defused.

Main cast[edit]

Awards[edit]

The movie received an Academy Award (Oscar) for 'Writing (Motion Picture Story)' at the 24th Academy Awards held in 1952 at the RKO Pantages Theatre.[1]

DVD release[edit]

Seven Days to Noon became available on DVD in 2008. It is incorrectly framed in matted widescreen, a process not developed until two years later.[clarification needed]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "WRITING (MOTION PICTURE STORY)". THE 24TH ACADEMY AWARDS – 1952. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 20, 1952. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Great British Films, pp 144–146, Jerry Vermilye, 1978, Citadel Press, ISBN 0-8065-0661-X

External links[edit]