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Just 24 hours ago his life was perfect. Oscar-winning Best Actor Ray Milland stars in this smart and stylish thriller based on Kenneth Fearing's novel and precursor to 1987's No Way Out starring Kevin Costner. Milland portrays hotshot crime magazine editor George Stroud, who inadvertently becomes the subject of a murder investigation after spending an evening with his boss' (Charles Laughton) mistress. She ends up dead and he is being framed by the actual killer. Meanwhile, at the publishing office, Stroud's competent staff scurries for clues while he finds himself in a race against the clock. It seems the prime suspect they are seeking matches an all-too-familiar description…his own! Maureen O'Sullivan and George Macready co-star in this richly told, often humorous story The New Yorker hailed as "slick and entertaining." Known for its intriguing film noir cinematography and featuring beautiful costumes by Edith Head, this is one suspense classic you won't want to miss.
What if you were asked to investigate a murder in which you were the prime suspect? From this seemingly impossible notion comes a grandly entertaining nail-biter. Charles Laughton plays the punctuality obsessed, slave-driving head of a publishing empire who won't let his crime magazine's star editor (Ray Milland) take a day off to spend with his family. The overworked Milland, having just upset a delayed honeymoon trip for the umpteenth time, goes on a sorrow-drowning, bar-hopping bender with a mysterious woman who, it turns out, is Laughton's mistress. Later that night after Milland has gone home, Laughton murders her, and the next day he assigns Milland to investigate, since a number of clues point to her having spent time with another man that night. Milland, then, must not only find the real murderer but sidetrack the investigation away from himself. That both characters are solving the crime in tandem yet unwittingly working toward pinning the murder on each other is at the heart of The Big Clock's labyrinthine brilliance. Helping bring out the dark humor in this adaptation of Kenneth Fearing's noir novel (included in the Library of America's Crime Novels collection) is Elsa Lanchester as a high-strung painter who can sketch the prime suspect (Milland), a time-bomb plot device that only adds to the already unbearable suspense. This is a taut, lean thriller, superbly handled by director John Farrow, who never fails to remind his audience through repeated use of clocks, timepieces, and watches that all too often in our lives that ticking sound is the enemy. This was remade in 1987 with Kevin Costner as No Way Out. --Robert Abele --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I remember this movie from years back, and thought it was a pretty nifty noir thriller. A repeat viewing reveals it to be a bit on the trite side. Read morePublished on July 6 2004
"The Big Clock" is a brilliant labyrinth of dark humor and cyclical twists and turns - rather like riding a funhouse car into the murky blackness of uncertainty but with the... Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by Nix Pix
Thrilling "Film Noir" type mystery. Ray Milland works for a magazine publisher who commits a murder. All the clues however point to Milland as the killer. Read morePublished on May 7 2004
This movie is arguably not a true film noir since it doesn't have the feel or theme of what the purists would term a bona fide film noir. Who cares? I don't. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2003 by Minneserenity
A disjointed, lesser noir flick, featuring Charles Laughton as an all-powerful publishing magnate who seeks to pin a murder he committed onto one of his trusted employees. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2002 by DJ Joe Sixpack
If it didn't gain notoriety on its own, mthen a little-known Hollywood noir movie such as this serves its purpose as providing a brilliant plot for a later blockbuster remake. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2002 by Desiree Koh
I've seen a lot of movies, more than you're average film student. I'm not a film student, I'm not a film critic, I don't work in Hollywood, but I know what's good... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002 by ortenzia
This guy knew how to make movies. It's no wonder so many so called movies nowadays are remakes of the old timeless classics. Doesn't anyone know how to WRITE anymore?! Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2002