This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 film “The Long Arm” (also known as “The Third Key,”) with Jack Hawkins, John Stratton, Dorothy Alison, Geoffrey Keen, Ursula Howells, Newton Blick, Sydney Tafler, Ralph Truman, Maureen Delany, Richard Leech, Meredith Edwards, George Rose, Jameson Clark, Ian Bannen, Maureen Davis and Peter Burton.
Screenplay by Janet Green and Robert Barr, additional dialogue by Dorothy and Campbell Christie.
Photography by Gordon Dines, art direction by Edward Carrick. Music conducted by Gerbrand Schurmann, played by the Sinfonia of London conducted by Dock Mathieson.
Associate producer Tom Morahan. Directed by Charles Frend. A Michael Balcon Production.
“The Long Arm” is available on streaming from Archive.org, but the audio ranges from tolerable to atrocious. The DVD is available from Amazon UK in Region 2 format, which is incompatible U.S. players unless you have an all-region player.
This week’s mystery movie was a combination of two requests: A safecracking movie and a British movie. The story moves along nicely without twists to hold your interest.
Harrison’s Reports (June 15, 1957) said:
Given a semi-documentary treatment, this British-made crime melodrama offers an interesting study on the patient crime detection methods employed by Scotland Yard in tracking down a gang of safe robbers. It is doubtful, however, if it will receive more than a mild reception in this country, for it is given more to talk than to action and is not particularly exciting, except for the closing sequences, where the crooks are apprehended. The casting is good, with Jack Hawkins most effective as the detective superintendent who tracks down different clues, but, like most British films, neither Mr. Hawkins nor the other players in the all-British cast are well-known to American movie-goers.
Writing in the New York Times (June 3, 1957), A.H. Weiler said:
In “The Third Key,” which was unveiled at the Sutton Theatre yesterday, Sir Michael Balcon and his Ealing confreres are focusing their cameras on the diligent, persevering and scientific detectives of New Scotland Yard with affectionate and increasingly lively results. This adventure about the search for a super safecracker and murderer does not crackle with excitement, but its alert and methodical operatives manage to keep a viewer engrossed all the way.
For Monday, we have a mystery lad. I have cropped out Back of the Head Guy on the chance that the back of his head will be insufficiently mysterious. He will appear Friday.
Update: This is Michael Brooke with Jack Hawkins as Back of the Head Guy.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman. As it so happens, she plays the mother of Monday’s mystery lad. She spends a great deal of her screen time disapproving of such goings-on.
Update: This is Dorothy Alison.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have a mystery gent. He very much disapproves of any insinuation of such goings-on.
Update: This is Ralph Truman.
We “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery lad trying to sell a headlamp …
Update: This is Anthony Richmond. His buddy, Frazer Hines, has run off.
… to this mystery bloke with a newsboy cap. He does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Harry Locke.
We also have this mystery chap in a newsboy cap.
Update: This is Richard Leech.
There are lots of mystery police officers in our mystery film. here’s a few of them.
Update: I ran this photo to show the right-hand drive, hinting that it’s a British film. The driver is Fred Nicholas. The man on the right is Glyn Houston.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests).
For Friday, here’s another of the mysterious policemen in our mystery movie.
Update: This is John Stratton.
Here’s a mystery woman with our mysterious leading man. Neither of them approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Maureen Delaney and Jack Hawkins.
And another photo of our mysterious leading man.
Update: This is Jack Hawkins.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests).
Since this week’s mystery film was especially challenging, I’m going to extend it one more day. For Saturday, we have a mystery gent selling bunnies.
Update: This is John Stratton and George Rose.
Also, a mystery concert hall.
And finally, a mystery woman.
Update: This is Ursula Howells.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (all mystery guests and mystery location), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery guests, Thursday’s mystery lad, junk dealer, and detectives, Friday’s mystery detective No. 1 and housekeeper), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie, mystery leading man), Gary (Friday’s leading man), Anne Papineau (Friday’s leading man), Earl Boebert (mystery movie), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Friday’s mystery housekeeper and mystery detective), Benito (Friday’s mystery leading man), Patrick (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery detective’s wife and Friday’s mystery leading man), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests, Thursday’s mystery lad, Friday’s mystery detectives and mystery housekeeper) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).