Murder Without Crime

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Murder Without Crime
"Murder Without crime" (1950).jpg
UK theatrical poster
Directed byJ. Lee Thompson
Produced byVictor Skutezky
Written byJ. Lee Thompson (play and screenplay)
StarringDennis Price
Derek Farr
Patricia Plunkett
Joan Dowling
Music byPhilip Green
CinematographyWilliam McLeod
Edited byEdward B. Jarvis
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé
Release date
  • 27 April 1951 (1951-04-27)
Running time
80 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£83,825 (UK)[1]

Murder Without Crime is a 1951 British crime film directed by J. Lee Thompson (his first film) and starring Dennis Price, Derek Farr and Patricia Plunkett.[2] J. Lee Thompson also wrote the screenplay adapted from Double Error, his own successful West End play.[3]


Following a bitter row, writer Stephen Holt (Derek Farr) walks out on his wife Jan (Patricia Plunkett) and goes to drown his sorrows at a nightclub. A drunken Steve ends up returning home with the club’s wily hostess, Grena (Joan Dowling). Just then Jan calls, and announces she’s returning that night to the flat. Steve attempts to get rid of Grena, but a fight ensues and he believes he’s killed her. He quickly hides the body in an ottoman. Downstairs, the suave and sinister landlord Matthew (Dennis Price) hears the disturbance and goes to investigate. Matthew suspects the edgy Steve is hiding something, and during the night continually taunts his tenant. Stephen eventually confesses, but rather than calling for the police the landlord blackmails his tenant for an extortionate rent, and reveals his long-held affection for his tenant's wife.[4]


Critical reception[edit]

  • Britmovie noted a "slick noirish thriller atmospherically directed by J. Lee Thompson."[4]
  • TV Guide wrote the film "suffers from a stagy presentation that never lets the celluloid medium take over...Thompson is content to present only a visually simplistic recording of the play. The dialog doesn't work well on screen, often drawing unintentional laughs. Despite the film's overriding weaknesses, it was an enormous hit in London's West End."[3]
  • In The New York Times Bosley Crowther noted "a harmless, and, for the most part, pleasurable, addition to the horror-with-a-twist genre."[5]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p493
  2. ^ "Murder without Crime | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Murder Without Crime Review". Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Murder Without Crime 1950 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley (26 December 1951). "Movie Review – Distant Drums – THE SCREEN: SIX NEWCOMERS ON HOLIDAY FARE; 'Distant Drums,' Starring Gary Cooper, at the Warner- Hope Film at Globe". Retrieved 4 April 2014.

External links[edit]