Impulse (1954 film)

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Impulse 1954 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cy Endfield
Written byCy Endfield
Lawrence Huntington
Robert S. Baker
Carl Nystrom
Produced byRobert S. Baker
Monty Berman
Starring Arthur Kennedy
Constance Smith
Joy Shelton
CinematographyJonah Jones
Edited byJack Slade
Music by Stanley Black
Distributed by Eros Films
Release date
  • 1954 (1954)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Impulse is a 1954 British film noir directed by Cy Endfield and starring Arthur Kennedy, Constance Smith and Joy Shelton. [1] It was shot at the Walton Studios near London with sets designed by the art director Wilfred Arnold.



Alan Curtis (Kennedy), an American estate agent living in England, is dissatisfied with his humdrum life. With his wife Elizabeth (Shelton) on a short break visiting her mother, he gives a lift to sultry nightclub singer Lila (Smith) when he finds her stranded on the road at night. Curtis becomes romantically involved with her and Lila tells him that her brother is in trouble over a jewel robbery.

In reality Lila wants the stolen stones for herself. She tricks the wayward Curtis into believing that he killed a man so that he buys them two tickets out of the country. He decides that it is better to face the music, opting to stay and confess. Lila, too, reconsiders, staying with Curtis until his name is cleared. After the true killers are revealed, Lila goes to jail as a participant in the robbery and Curtis returns to his wife, who forgives him.


Critical reception

Film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane praised Kennedy's performance and said of Impulse: "This detailed and un-showy study of a man tempted away from a comfortable but dull rut is one of the subtlest to be found in the 'B' film ranks." [2]

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  1. Geoff Mayer and Brian McDonnell. Encyclopedia of Film Noir, 2007. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-33306-4.
  2. Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 181.