She Played with Fire

1957

Crime / Drama / Mystery

1
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 644

noir british noir

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
June 04, 2022 at 03:29 AM

Director

Top cast

Christopher Lee as Charles Highbury
Jack Hawkins as Oliver Branwell
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
869.85 MB
1280*692
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S ...
1.58 GB
1920*1038
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S 48 / 65

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

Atmospheric British crime flick

SHE PLAYED WITH FIRE is a fine British crime thriller with less emphasis on plot and more emphasis on atmosphere than usual for this genre. The dependable Jack Hawkins plays an insurance investigator looking into a mysterious fire, only to end up coming face to face with a woman from his past. He gradually gets drawn into a murkier and murkier plot involving blackmail, arson, and murder, and the story keeps you involved from that point. Hawkins is a fine presence in 1950s cinema and he's very effective here, his presence bolstered by some well-chosen supporting actors including Dennis Price, Geoffrey Keen, Bernard Miles, Patrick Holt and a briefly-spotted Christopher Lee.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 8 / 10

Arson Case and Old Masters

This film was shown tonight on TURNER CLASSIC FILMS channel under it's American title, SHE PLAYED WITH FIRE. The title (to be honest) is misleading, but understandably so - Arlene Dahl's character is innocent of anything connected with fire, but for her American fans it suggested sexual promiscuity, which translates into more box office.

Jack Hawkins was one of the great tragedies of British cinema in the middle years of our last century. From the 1940s to the 1970s (when he died) he was in many films, several of them classics (such as THE FALLEN IDOL where he is supporting Ralph Richardson, and BEN-HUR when he plays a Roman general who befriends Charleton Heston). He had superb classic profile, including large but well trimmed eyebrows, and a firm nose. He could do comedy as well as drama. But his biggest asset was his great speaking voice - a true British trumpet without forced affect (as even Olivier's could be at times). But at the height of his international career, Hawkins developed larynx cancer, and to save his life his voice box was removed. He continued acting, but the words were spoken by other actors imitating his voice. Sometimes (as when he played Emperor Franz Josef in OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR) he did not say anything in the film - he just appeared briefly. It was a sad conclusion to a fine career.

Many of his roles were as a detective or policeman. Think of him as Chief Inspector Gideon in John Ford's GIDEON'S DAY, or as the aviation investigator who is trying to come to grips with eccentric Jimmy Stewart in NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY. And, of course, he played crooks too. Think of him as the leader of the ex-army band in THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN. Here he is a type of investigator - an insurance adjuster for a firm like Lloyd's of London. He discovers that a fire that destroyed some classic paintings at a great country house was covered by a policy of his own company. The policy was taken out by Dennis Price (the conniving Louis Mazzini-D'Ascoygne in KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS), who is married to Arlene Dahl. But Dahl and Hawkins had known each other five years before and had a heavy romance. It collapsed, and they haven't seen each other since.

Normally astute, Hawkins gives a quick look-over of the damage and okays the payment. Subsequently Price takes out more insurance on the house's main section. But Hawkins notices something odd concerning the house when he is shown the estate - he remembers having seen the country house in a position that he could not have physically been at before. Later it dawns on him - he has seen a picture that was painted by an old master of the house in that position. He finds the picture again in the apartment of an American (John Phillips, the British actor who frequently played Americans - he is the American Ambassador in ROMANOFF AND JULIET). He questions Phillips and finds out the picture is an original that a woman (who sounds like Dahl) sold to Phillips. That's nice, except that Hawkins realizes that the original was one of the pictures supposedly destroyed in the fire.

Hawkins now suspects a forgery and arson fraud case. Knowing that the house should be empty, Hawkins returns to it at night to examine some of the paintings. He finds an apparently dead Price and a raging fire. After sending for the fire department (pretending to be Price), Hawkins returns home. He keeps a low profile, having his associate Geoffrey Keene conduct the investigation. As a result, Dahl gets 30,000 pounds. Hawkins at first confronts Dahl months afterward, but subsequently realizes his suspicions about her are not supported by fact. He proposes to her, and they marry. They plan to return the money, but instead they find that she is facing blackmail, and that circumstances are making Hawkins look like a co-conspirator.

The film is talky at times, but it goes along pretty well, and the closing noose around Hawkins and Dahl as they make one blunder after another without trying is a nice touch. I should add that the film ends with a plausible explanation of what happened the night of the second fire, but it could easily have ended differently. I like it on the whole, and felt that it gave Hawkins and Dahl some good moments (note Dahl's scene with blackmailer Bernard Miles). Certainly I was glad for the opportunity to see this rarely shown film on television.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7 / 10

FORTUNE IS A WOMAN (Sidney Gilliat, 1957) ***

The esteemed British writing-producing-directing team of Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder seemed to divide their work between stylish thrillers and broad comedies - though not always each member of the unit would be responsible for their entries in any one particular genre, Gilliat's efforts tended to be more serious and therefore generally worthier of attention and less prone to become dated with the passage of time.

Anyway, this film again features Christopher Lee in just one scene (albeit an amusing one as a black-eyed movie star attempting to pull off an insurance fraud!) and, in a more substantial role than in the previously-viewed PORT AFRIQUE (1956), Dennis Price. The elaborate plot also involves arson, fake paintings, a blackmail scheme, and even the shaky rekindling of an old romance. The rather mismatched stars are Jack Hawkins (immediately prior to embarking upon his international/movie spectaculars phase with the same year's THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI) and American Arlene Dahl (just as unconvincingly married here to asthmatic and unbalanced aristocrat Price) who run the gamut of emotions trying first to hide their prior affair then facing it head-on following Price's fiery death, Hawkins accusing Dahl of the murderous deed and then compromising his position in the insurance firm he works for by sticking by her (even if he knows the blaze was deliberately ignited) and fend off the inevitable vultures - knowledgeable of this fact - over Price's estate. This being the 1950s, everything works its way satisfactorily towards a happy ending - down to Hawkins' associates literally chasing after him out on the streets in the final scene to retract his decision to resign rather than bring shame upon his colleagues and superiors!

As I said, the film is classy (even managing a few dream sequences to cloud Hawkins' mind during his mission) and reasonably absorbing (the identity of the chief blackmailers is quite a surprise) throughout - but taking care to also provide meaty supporting turns by the likes of Ian Hunter (as the proverbial "friend of the family"), Geoffrey Keen (as Hawkins' sympathetic superior), Bernard Miles (a similar role to the one he had just played in Hitchcock's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH {1956}), Greta Gynt as a middle-aged nymphomaniac(!) and Michael Goodliffe (as a dogged Police Inspector). Incidentally, the print I watched sported the somewhat more appropriate U.S. moniker of SHE PLAYED WITH FIRE and, while pristine enough, suffered from the occasional jerkiness

Read more IMDb reviews

No comments yet

Be the first to leave a comment