Home at Seven is a 1952 British mystery drama film directed by and starring Ralph Richardson, featuring Margaret Leighton, Jack Hawkins, Campbell Singer and Michael Shepley. It is based on the 1950 play Home at Seven by R. C. Sherriff.[2] The film is Richardson's only work as director.[3] Guy Hamilton was assistant director.

Home at Seven
Directed byRalph Richardson
Written byAnatole de Grunwald
Based onHome at Seven
by R.C. Sherriff
Produced byMaurice Cowan
StarringRalph Richardson
Margaret Leighton
Jack Hawkins
CinematographyJack Hildyard
Edward Scaife
Edited byBert Bates
Music byMalcolm Arnold
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date
  • 17 March 1952 (1952-03-17)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£94,335 (UK)[1]

Plot edit

Preston, a City of London banker, returns at 7pm to his suburban home in Kent one Tuesday evening to discover that he has been missing for 24 hours, yet he does not remember the lost day. He discovers that he was seen at the social club which he is the treasurer of on Monday evening taking £515 from the safe. The man who saw this, Robinson, is found murdered in an allotment the evening he comes home.

When questioned by the police he lies that he spent the night across London with friends. However he later discovers the friend he nominated is away on holiday.

He goes to his doctor and tells him he has started to remember things. He describes where Robinson was found and how he was being followed by him. He says he buried the money then followed Robinson. He tells the doctor of his lie about where he was Monday night.

His doctor takes him to see his solicitor who advises him to employ an expensive counsel to defend himself. The solicitor also advises him to tell the police the correct story. He becomes the major suspect in the robbery and murder, but he does not know if he was involved or not.

The police take him to the police station for a statement after collecting the clothes and shoes he wore on Monday. Preston's wife reveals to the lawyer that her husband has been short of money due to his father embezzling money from his work, which Preston has vowed to repay.

He tells the police that he cannot remember anything from 6pm Monday till 7pm Tuesday. The president of the club tells the doctor that Preston has been borrowing money all around the club.

It is ultimately revealed by a barmaid that he regularly spends from 5pm till 6pm each evening in her pub. He did this on Monday evening but started acting oddly following a loud bang outside, which seemed to trigger a war time memory. He seemed to think the war is back on. He then is placed in a room in the hotel and he goes to sleep. He sleeps there all night and in the morning still seems to think the war is on. He stayed in the room all day. They take him down to the bar at 5pm and he comes out of the trance, says he is going home, and leaves. She tells the police and they advise Preston they have discovered Robinson and another person did the robbery and he murdered Robinson.

Cast edit

Production edit

Sidney Gilliat claims Alexander Korda directed the film. He called Home at Seven "a very bad play which Alex made a very bad picture out of; but he skilfully gave the directing credit to Ralph Richardson.[4]

It was shot at Shepperton Studios with sets designed by the art directors Vincent Korda and Frederick Pusey.

Critical reception edit

Variety stated that "Richardson directs the piece with a straightforward competence."[5]

Sight & Sound was more critical: Richardson had "divided his talent between the principal role and the direction, but the latter is practically non-existent in any cinema sense".[6]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Intriguing suburban mystery, well acted but all too flatly transferred from the stage, and with a weak solution."[7]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "average", writing: "Made for a pittance in 15 days, this fairly interesting drama was Richardson's only film a director"[8]

The Radio Times Guide to Films gave the film 3/5 stars, writing: "This was Ralph Richardson's sole venture as a film director, and a pretty fair job he makes of it, too. He also re-creates his stage role as the timid bank clerk whose dose of amnesia coincides with a murder and a robbery. The strength of the picture is that you're never quite sure whether he's bluffing or baffled, and the secret is tightly kept right to the end. It's more than a mite stagey, though, with wife Margaret Leighton and doctor Jack Hawkins particularly guilty of overseasoning the ham."[9]

Releases edit

It was released on DVD in the UK on 30 June 2014 by Network Distributing.

References edit

  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. ^ "Home at Seven". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Home at Seven (1952) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. ^ Fowler, Roy; Haines, Taffy (15 May 1990). "Interview with Sidney Gilliat" (PDF). British Entertainment History Project. p. 135.
  5. ^ "Home at Seven". Variety. 1 January 1952.
  6. ^ "Home at Seven". Sight & Sound. Vol. 19, no. 218. British Film Institute. March 1952. pp. 30–31.[dead link]
  7. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 475. ISBN 0586088946.
  8. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 323. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.
  9. ^ Radio Times Guide to Films (18th ed.). London: Immediate Media Company. 2017. p. 426. ISBN 9780992936440.

External links edit