FINGER OF GUILT

Another cinema-industry introspection film, this time from filmmakers who had reason to introspect. Director Losey and writer Koch were two of the talented industry people disenfranchised and self-exiled during the blacklistings of the McCarthy era. Both worked under pseudonyms; the US release even credited producer Snowden with direction in this instance. The film stars Basehart as an American expatriate--like the writer and director--and a former Hollywood film editor, now a producer in a large London-based studio. Studio intrigue has him doubting his own sanity and threatens his career and his marriage to Brook, whose father, Livesey, is the studio chief. The threat comes from a series of intensely personal letters penned by Murphy which suggest an intimacy and knowledge of Basehart's business affairs that could only come through close acquaintance. The problem is that the lady is unknown to Basehart, who already has enough trouble in the form of Cummings, the demanding prima donna of his current production. Since the coals of Basehart's despair stem from Newcastle, he and suspicious wife Brook travel there to confront Murphy. Her convincing performance as his sometime paramour causes Brook to leave him. Suspecting himself of amnesiac dualism, Basehart desperately explores the matter further. The mystery is resolved when Murphy is proved to have been receiving intelligence about him from Johns, his predecessor at the studio, who initiated the scheme to discredit Basehart in the hope of redeeming himself in the eyes of Livesey. Basehart and Brook are reconciled; his job is secure; schemer Johns gets the finger of guilt in the end.

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Copyright --October 20, 2000 Stephanie Kellerman and the Basehart Family