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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing And Quite Perceptive
This rather unprepossessing 1954 court-room drama and story of Richard Attenborough’s 'innocent man accused’ actually has a number of things going for it. Directed by 'journeyman’ British film-maker Lance Comfort, and based on a story by Jack Roffey and Gordon Harboard, Eight O’Clock Walk is certainly far from cliché-free, but still...
Published 2 months ago by Keith M

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thanks for your reviews
thanks for the reviews saved me buying it now I know the full story plot looking for something without knowing the full plot first
Published 6 months ago by john walton


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing And Quite Perceptive, 27 May 2014
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
This rather unprepossessing 1954 court-room drama and story of Richard Attenborough’s 'innocent man accused’ actually has a number of things going for it. Directed by 'journeyman’ British film-maker Lance Comfort, and based on a story by Jack Roffey and Gordon Harboard, Eight O’Clock Walk is certainly far from cliché-free, but still displays (for me, at least) enough engaging social commentary (particularly on the British judicial system of the time) and impressive 'character acting’ to just about push it into 4-star territory.

Kicking-off to a rather jaunty ('Ealing-like’) backdrop of 'cockney chirpiness’ as scallywags play in the street and women 'bang their rugs’ on garden walls, the mood of Comfort’s film soon enters more sombre territory as Attenborough’s 'honest’ taxi-driver, Tom Manning, having had an innocent April Fool’s Day encounter with a local young girl, finds himself being grilled by police as a potential murder suspect. And even though Fritz Lang set the 'template’ for child murderer films with his 1931 masterpiece M and it is a subject much revisited since, I suspect this was relatively unexplored territory for an early 1950s British film. Of course, Eight O’Clock Walk is not in the same league as Lang’s film, but it does serve up some nice moments of suspense and (perhaps surprisingly) acerbic social commentary.

Acting-wise, Attenborough (whilst not at his absolute best – for this, see Angry Silence, Brighton Rock, Guns at Batasi, The Dock Brief, 10 Rillington Place, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, etc) is typically reliable as the increasingly desperate 'victim of circumstance’, whilst each of Ian Hunter and Derek Farr as (respectively) officious father and sympathetic son (would this really be permitted in the legal system?), prosecuting and defending attorneys, Geoffrey and Peter Tanner, are also impressive. Similarly convincing is Maurice Denham’s slimy and increasingly suspicious 'witness’, Horace Clifford, whilst Cathy O’Donnell’s distressed wife of the accused, Jill, is a little too one-paced for comfort. Where the film particularly scores for me is in its relatively wide-ranging depictions of the social issues and personal conflicts at play – from the cold-hearted, manipulative natures of officialdom (police, doctors, court officials), through the prurient and exploitative natures of the press and ‘gossiping public’ to the personal distractions being suffered by those involved in the judicial process, including Harry Welchman’s judge, Justice Harrington.

Not a classic by any means, therefore, but enough plus points to be worth seeing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching, 4 Dec 2013
By 
UK Filmbuff "filmbuff1382" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
The film and sound quality are both good. The picture is not "letterboxed" (I am writing what I see, not anything about aspect ratio). It is in black and white.

I have always liked Richard Attenborough. He was a true "great" and this film shows how versatile he was as an actor. I cannot rate it as a 5 star film, merely because some of the story is a little too "circumstantial" for me. I will try to explain.

An ordinary, peaceful man (Tom Banning - Attenborough) leaves home one morning, on his way to work at a local taxi rank. He bids farewell to his wife and, en-route, encounters some local children, who are playing and making a slight nuisance of themselves. The war is only a few years distant and there are still bombed-out houses to be seen, which make great playgrounds for the children. His gentle and honest nature, see him "taken in" by the antics of a young girl, who claims to have lost her doll (it's April Fools Day). For some reason, despite it making him late, he decides to help the girl find her toy. However, it turns out that she was making it all up and, as soon as he finds out, he leaves and makes his way to work. Shortly afterwards, the girl is murdered and the suspicion turns on the taxi driver. The remainder of the film centres upon his defence and the trial.

There are a few sub-plots; the trial judge has family issues and the man's barrister becomes ill, and his inexperienced son is asked to take on the case.

It was interesting to see how the police concocted their case, based upon purely circumstantial evidence and the evidence of some not necessarily reliable witnesses. Their attempt at forensic science would be laughable with today's technology, but it is interesting to see how the concept was thought of and how things such as soil samples were examined and used to make the case.

I couldn't help feeling that some of the sub-plots were unnecessary (the judge's family troubles make no difference to the story and the barrister's illness seemed a somewhat elaborate way of introducing the inexperienced son.) Is this, then, the story of an innocent man, the failure of British justice (which it could easily have been), or the skill of a promising, but inexperienced barrister? (Or all three?)

I did wonder at the naiveté of the accused man (Attenborough); his fundamental lack of angst and any fight to try to clear his name, I found somewhat frustrating. He seemed almost to have accepted his fate (even when on the witness stand) and his lack of a grasp of the seriousness of his predicament, as well as his total lack of appreciation as to how to put himself across and avoid incriminating himself, worried me. The man could easily have been hanged and, to all intents and purposes, the blood-thirsty public and the media that report his trial, seemed resigned to this. In fact, everyone was positively excited at the prospect and they had him tried, convicted and executed before he had even had a chance to defend himself. He, himself, actually does very little for his defence, relying entirely upon his barrister.

Everything hinges on the brilliance of the inexperienced barrister and, of course, a lot of chance. Could this really be how an accused man would behave and could his fate rest in the lap of the gods, rather than the work of the police? I was not convinced; the police fail to conduct any real investigation whatsoever (aside from doing everything to incriminate their only suspect); this was left to the barrister. Are barristers supposed to be detectives? Would the police be able to bring a case, based on what appear to be circumstantial and very flimsy evidence? The eyewitnesses' stories were easily discounted and how likely would it be that the real guilty party might actually be one of the witnesses? (If you'll forgive a reference to another film, "Yes, my marrow" [Maurice Denham] - if you watch the film and know the actor, you'll know what I'm on about).

Overall, though, the acting is convincing; the sets are also very good, but the story I found just a little too contrived. Perhaps I have the wrong view of British justice (even back in the 50s). Maybe I was the one who missed the plot. At least there wasn't a huge romance, or even a further sub-plot involving the accused man's wife and the barrister. In this regard alone, the film focuses well on its main storyline, which does draw the viewer in.

Looking through the eyes of a cynical man living in modern times, I suppose it is easy to suggest Banning's actions were somewhat nave. However, back then, the press hadn't convinced us that every man is a child molester, and men weren't afraid that kindness towards children would land them in jail for something they hadn't even thought of. However, it does quite accurately show how wrong "eyewitnesses" can be and how people can easily jump to conclusions about even the most innocent gesture of disapproval. (Part of the evidence centres on Banning's apparent anger at the child, which, in point of fact, was no more than mild annoyance at having his time wasted).

Overall, though, I did enjoy the film and watched it through without a break.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure why I like this!!, 17 Dec 2013
By 
A. W. Wilson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
This NETWORK release is good quality B/W with good picture and sound. As I said above I am still not quite sure why I did enjoy this. From the opening scenes where you want to yell at Attenborough-"NO DICKIE-NO" to the so predictable denoument and a script that makes Derek Farr's defence lawyer look positively incompetent, to Cathy O'Donnell's annoying whispering and general dopeyness, and Dickie's apparently calm acceptence of everything hurled at him...Well, why did I enjoy it? Sorry-No answer to that-I just did. I hardly think my thoughts here will help anyone, but I do recomend this to lovers of Dickie/Cathy and Vintage British Murder mysteries. Director Lance Comfort does a good job with the poor script and on that note...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Young Dickie Attenborough pulls it off, 8 Jan 2014
By 
Nipper "Glynis Johns Loony" (Maceira, Torres Vedras Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
A standard 'court-room' thriller that could have been boring, but Attenborough as the accused is so good that you are held to the bitter end. Maurice Denham, a favourite character actor of mine, features strongly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 Jan 2014
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I had never seen this film. I really enjoyed it.....good to add to my collection. I have almost ran out of films to buy as the ones I want are either not on DVD or are too dear. This filled a littler gap.
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5.0 out of 5 stars eight oclock walk, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
a very good film richard attenbough has made a lot of films in his life such has 10 rillington place this is a very good film
on a par to that film watch it its great
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable murder mystery, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
I don't recall having seen this before so I thought I'd give it a try.Fairly simple but entertaining story which is quite plausible until the rather ridiculous ending which sees the real murderer confess after hearing the song Oranges and Lemons being played on a harmonica outside the courtroom. Draft!!!, to say the least. Nevertheless, if, like me, you love British drama of the 1950s with a hint of light heartedness here and there, this is definitely worth a watch once in a while. I applaud Network for digging this one out of the archives.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thanks for your reviews, 10 Jan 2014
This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
thanks for the reviews saved me buying it now I know the full story plot looking for something without knowing the full plot first
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Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD]
Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] by Lance Comfort (DVD - 2013)
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