|Town on Trial|
|Directed by||John Guillermin|
|Written by|| Ken Hughes |
|Produced by||Maxwell Setton|
|Starring|| John Mills |
|Edited by||Max Benedict|
|Music by||Tristram Cary|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Town on Trial is a 1957 British mystery film directed by John Guillermin and starring John Mills, Charles Coburn, Barbara Bates and Derek Farr. A whole town comes under suspicion when two grisly murders are carried out—particularly members of the local sports club.
While playing tennis at a posh club in a town near London called Oakley Park, young and flirty Molly Stevens attracts considerable interest. The men ogle her and the women detest her. She is later found dead, strangled with a stocking. The local police chief requests the help of Scotland Yard, so Detective Superintendent Mike Halloran is sent to investigate. The locals, however, resent having an outsider poking into their affairs.
A book of love poems, including an inscription from a Peter Crowley, is found in the victim's flat. There is also a photo of a group of men together with Molly and Fiona Dixon, a young woman from the prominent Dixon family. Her father, although shocked to learn that his daughter knew the "trashy" Molly, will not let Halloran question her.
Halloran eventually learns that Molly left Peter Crowley for a married man, Mark Roper, who is the club's secretary. Roper denies any involvement, and also claims that he was giving nurse Elizabeth Fenner a lift to the hospital at the time of the murder.
The coroner reveals Molly was two months pregnant. Dr. John Fenner, the local Canadian expat physician who certified the death, is asked by Halloran why he neglected to report that fact. Fenner claims he was trying to avoid a scandal for Roper and the club.
Elizabeth turns out to be the doctor's niece and also a Canadian expat. She confirms that Roper gave her a lift, but this later turns out to be a lie - a result of her attempts to protect the reputation of her uncle, who left his practice in Toronto after a misdiagnosis led to a patient's death. This is something the locals are unaware of, but Roper knows and is using this secret to blackmail the doctor.
Roper, always bragging about his wartime heroics as a RAF fighter pilot, is revealed by Halloran to have been nothing but a lowly ground crew member, who was dishonourably discharged after theft and is currently heavily in debt. The club demands Roper's resignation. He turns up at a party, gets drunk and starts a fight. Leaving the party and going for a walk, Fiona is ambushed and strangled to death. Her body is placed in the trunk of Dr. Fenner's car.
Halloran finds out that Peter Crowley has been treated for schizophrenia. Peter flees to a church, climbing to the top of the steeple and threatening to jump. Halloran ascends the steeple to prevent the suicide, risking his own life in the process, and manages to convince Peter not to kill himself. A fire brigade turntable ladder rescues the two just as they are about to fall.
The film was based on an original script by Robert Westerby called The Nylon Web. In May 1956 it was announced the film would be a co production between Marksman (the company of Maxwell Setton) and Todon (the company of Donna Reed and her husband). John Guillermin would direct.
In July it was reported that Michael Rennie would star.However the lead roles went to John Mills and Charles Coburn. Filming began 8 August 1956. That month the title was changed to Town on Trial.
Ella Raines was to play a key role but had to drop out due to her mother's illness.She was replaced by Barbara Bates then under contract to the Rank Organisation.
The Los Angeles Times said Guillermin "directs this picture at a furious pace."
According to the BFI, "Detractors have too often accused Guillermin of being merely a journeyman, lacking any real style of his own. The defence would do worse than to offer Town on Trial as its Exhibit A, drawing particular attention to its breathtaking PoV shot of the killer stalking a second victim that anticipates the camera gymnastics of Dario Argento."
A profile on John Guillermin called the film "a police procedural in which the lead investigator, in true Guillermin fashion, tears a community to pieces to expose every last lie. Imagine an English Mike Hammer, finding corruption wherever he goes, but too serious and proper to mix it up with the dames and too civic-minded to go ahead and torch the whole town."
Ken Hughes wrote the script. Filmink said "men driven by lust was a recurring theme of Hughes movies".A piece in the same magazine on Guillermin called the film "a little gem, a good, tough British crime film with no cosiness, a lot of pace, plenty of flourishes and energy in the direction."
Tarzan Goes to India (1962) is the first film featuring Jock Mahoney as Tarzan. It was written by Robert Hardy Andrews and directed by John Guillermin, who also directed Tarzan's Greatest Adventure. The film also stars Indian Bollywood actors Feroz Khan, Simi Garewal and Murad in pivotal roles. It was followed by Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) which was set in Thailand. It was one of two Mahoney films that took Tarzan out of Africa and sent him to the Far East. It was a co-production between Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Jock Mahoney had appeared as the villain in the previous Tarzan film, Tarzan the Magnificent.
House of Cards is a 1968 American neo-noir crime film directed by John Guillermin and starring George Peppard, Inger Stevens, and Orson Welles. Filmed in France and Italy, it marked the third time that Peppard and Guillermin worked together then PJ.
I Was Monty's Double is a 1958 film made by Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC). It was directed by John Guillermin. The screenplay was adapted by Bryan Forbes from the autobiography of M. E. Clifton James, an actor who pretended to be General Montgomery as a decoy during the Second World War.
Harry Black is a 1958 British film adaptation of the novel Harry Black by David Walker, released by 20th Century Fox.
Wicked as They Come is a 1956 British film noir directed by Ken Hughes and starring Arlene Dahl, Philip Carey and Herbert Marshall.
China Corsair is a 1951 American adventure film directed by Ray Nazarro, starring Jon Hall and Lisa Ferraday and released by Columbia Pictures. It was the film debut of Ernest Borgnine.
Thunderstorm, also known as Tormenta, is a 1956 British drama film directed by John Guillermin and starring Carlos Thompson, Linda Christian, and Charles Korvin. It was made by British Lion Films.
The Whole Truth is a 1958 British-American film noir thriller film directed by John Guillermin and starring Stewart Granger, George Sanders, Donna Reed, Gianna Maria Canale and Peter Dyneley. It was based on the 1955 play of the same title by Philip Mackie.
Rapture is a 1965 drama film directed by John Guillermin, and starring Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Gozzi, and Dean Stockwell. It is reportedly Guillermin's own favorite among his films. His widow Mary said it "was the only film he directed that wholly satisfied his vision as an artist."
Mr. Patman is a 1980 Canadian film directed by John Guillermin and starring James Coburn.
I'll Get You for This is a 1951 British thriller film by Joseph M. Newman starring George Raft, Coleen Gray, and Enzo Staiola. It was made from an adaptation by George Callahan and William Rose of James Hadley Chase's 1946 book of the same name. The setting was shifted from Las Vegas in the novel to an Italian gambling resort.
The Long Haul is a 1957 British drama film directed by Ken Hughes and starring Victor Mature, Patrick Allen and Diana Dors.
Maureen Connell is a British actress.
John Guillermin was a French-British film director, writer and producer who was most active in big budget, action adventure films throughout his lengthy career.
Lorna Doone is a 1951 American adventure film directed by Phil Karlson and starring Barbara Hale and Richard Greene. It is an adaptation of the 1869 novel Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore, set in the English West Country during the 17th century.
Crossed Swords or The Teacher of Don Juan is a 1954 historical swashbuckling adventure film directed by Milton Krims and starring Errol Flynn, Gina Lollobrigida and Nadia Gray. It was co-production between Italy and the United States. It was shot at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome. The film's sets were designed by the art director Arrigo Equini.
Happy Landing is a 1938 film directed by Roy Del Ruth, starring Sonja Henie, Ethel Merman, Don Ameche and Cesar Romero.
Summer Love is a 1958 black-and-white American musical comedy film directed by Charles F. Haas, written by William Raynor and Herbert H. Margolis, and starred John Saxon, Jill St. John, Judi Meredith, and Molly Bee. It was double billed with The Big Beat and is a sequel to the 1956 film Rock, Pretty Baby.
Maxwell Setton was a British film producer, notably active in the 1950s. He was born in Cairo to British parents and studied law, becoming a barrister. In 1937 he became legal adviser to Mayflower Productions, the production company of Charles Laughton and Erich Pommer. After serving in the war, he became an assistant to Lord Archibald, who was managing Independent Producers Ltd.
Tony Owen was an American agent and producer, who was married to Donna Reed.