Highly Dangerous

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Highly Dangerous
Highly Dangerous FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Roy Ward Baker (as Roy Baker)
Produced by Antony Darnborough
Earl St. John
Written by Eric Ambler
Starring Margaret Lockwood
Dane Clark
Marius Goring
Naunton Wayne
Music by Richard Addinsell
Cinematography Reginald H. Wyer
Edited by Alfred Roome
Distributed by General Film Distributors (UK)
Lippert Pictures (USA)
Release date
6 December 1950 (London)
Running time
88-90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Highly Dangerous is a 1950 British spy film starring Margaret Lockwood. The screenplay was written by Eric Ambler.

It was released in the US as Time Running Out.


Frances Gray is as a British entomologist trying to stop a biological attack with the help of an American journalist.



Margaret Lockwood had not made a film in 18 months following Madness of the Heart, focusing on stage work.[1] Earl St. John wanted a comeback vehicle and commissioned Eric Ambler to write her a film specifically as a vehicle for Lockwood. Although he had recently specialised in melodramas, Highly Dangerous was a comedy thriller in the vein of Lockwood's earlier hits, The Lady Vanishes and Night Train to Munich.[2] It was directed by Roy Ward Baker, who had served with Ambler during the war.[3]

"One thing about Eric is that he presents you with a script that is beautifully finished in every detail," said Baker.[4]

"I think Margaret Lockwood wanted to play a modern woman," recalled Baker. "It was actually Eric Ambler's first or second book, although the book had a different title and its main character was a man; Eric changed it to a woman to make it more interesting."[5]

The filmmakers wanted a Hollywood leading man to play opposite Lockwood. Wendell Corey was originally sought[6] before the role was given to Dane Clark, who had recently left Warner Bros. Filming started in June 1950 and took place at Pinewood Studios.[7]


Baker later said that "Highly Dangerous wasn't a very successful picture.... It was a good idea although I don't think I did it very well."[8]


  1. ^ "Maggie comes back in Highly Dangerous.". Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 7 May 1950. p. 10 Supplement: Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Ambler writes a thriller-comedy Times Pictorial (1941-1955) [Dublin, Ireland] 15 Apr 1950: 13.
  3. ^ SUCCESS IN THE SHADOW OF FAILURE: Roy Baker Makes Mark as Director at Scene of Faded British Hopes On His Own Quick Return Army Training By STEPHEN WATTS. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 May 1951: X5.
  4. ^ McFarlane p 49
  5. ^ McFarlane p 50
  6. ^ "IN THE FILM SPOTLIGHT". Mirror. 27, (1457). Western Australia. 22 April 1950. p. 16. Retrieved 10 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "JUST VERY, VERY, DEAR FR TENDS". Mirror. 27, (1463). Western Australia. 3 June 1950. p. 15. Retrieved 10 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ McFarlane p 49-50
  • McFarlane, Brian, An Autobiography of British Cinema, 1997

External links[edit]