Written and directed by John Harlow, 1946's Appointment With Crime tells the story of a man named Leo Martin (William Hartnell). Early on in the film, Leo is double crossed by Loman (Raymond Lovell), a middle tier gangster with aspirations of grandeur, when a jewelry store robbery they were in on goes bad. Loman, with help from his getaway car driver Hatchett (Victor Weske), gets away with it and Leo winds up with some nasty wrist injuries and a stint in the slammer for his troubles.
Once Leo has served his time and regained his freedom, he sets out to get himself some payback! He starts with Loman once he finds out he's no longer needed in the gang he did time to protect. Leo's savvy enough to frame him for murder. But while he knows that Loman was definitely a big player in terms of why he was sent away, he also knows that he's a low man on the totem pole. Loman's boss is Gregory Lang (Herbert Lom) and while he might seem like a high class art dealer to the average Joe, Leo's not your average Joe. Things are going to get nasty and fast, particularly when Lang's hitman, Penn (Alan Wheatley), is involved.
Enter Detective Inspector Rogers (Robert Beatty), a Canadian sleuth helping out the cops in London where all of this is going down. Why? Well, the cops are still trying to crack the murder case that sent Leo to prison in the first place…
A solid entry in the lesser known cannon of British noir films, Appointment With Crime makes great use of a post-war London backdrop to tell a fairly gripping tale of violent revenge. The plot, which has a few obvious similarities to Point Blank, moves at a good clip and features enough twists and turns to easily hold our attention. It goes into some unexpectedly dark territory at times as well. On top of that the movie is really nicely shot. The camerawork here is quirky and frequently very inventive, which helps to keep things visually appealing. The score is also quite good, adding to the tension and scenes of suspense that pepper the film.
Leo isn't a nice guy. In fact, he's a horrible person. But we want to see how his story plays out and, really, the guys he is out to get aren't any better and sometimes they're worse. This makes him an anti-hero in a sense, but there's nothing particularly noble, intentional or otherwise, about what he's up to here. Leo isn't just violent, he uses people. A good example of this is his relationship with Carol Dane (Joy Howard), a dancer who he depends on for his alibi. She's clearly got a thing for him and as such, he has no trouble manipulating her into going along with pretty much whatever he wants, consequences be damned. The scenes in which Hartnell and Howard interact are some of the best in the movie. He plays the sleazy criminal well and she's just as good as his somewhat dim, naïve toy.
The rest of the cast are also pretty fun. Raymond Lovell and Victor Weske are dastardly enough as the small time crooks that start off Leo's trail of revenge. Lovell in particular is a nasty, lying cheat of a man so when Leo goes after him, you don't have trouble choosing sides. Robert Beatty is likeable enough as the cop on the case and he delivers his dialogue with just enough wit and snark to make for an entertaining character. Herbert Lom tends to steal most of the scenes that he's in regardless of who he is surrounded by. He really goes for it as the high society type, it's clear that images are important here as his art dealings provide a nice over for what he's really up to when nobody is looking. The movie makes it pretty clear that Lom's character and Wheatley's character are more than just business associates, or even more than just friends. There are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) aspects to each actor's work here that make it clear what's going on between them!The Blu-ray:
Appointment With Crime debuts on Blu-ray from Olive Films in a 1.33.1 fullframe transfer presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and it looks quite good. Detail here is pretty solid and while some minor print damage is present in the form of some small scratches and specks throughout the film, the source used for the transfer was evidently in fairly good condition. Grain is present throughout the presentation but it never gets so heavy as to distract from the generally solid detail and texture that the HD transfer offers. Black levels are really nice, quite strong, and contrast looks spot on. All in all this is a sharp and crisp image offering surprisingly good texture and contrast along with strong shadow detail. The movie looks quite good in HD, there's nothing to object to here at all. Fans should be quite pleased with the visuals on this release.Sound:
The English language DTS-HD Mono Audio track on the disc is pretty good. The score sounds quite strong here and helps to really ramp up the tension in the film. The dialogue stays crisp and clear, it's never a problem understanding any of the characters. Levels are well balanced and there's as much depth as you could reasonably expect from an older low budget picture. As it is with a lot of older movies, the limitations of the source material do come through, as they should, but this is a clean track that suits the movie just fine and which doesn't suffer from any serious problems. There are no alternate language options provided but removable English subtitles are available.Extras:
There are no extras here, just a static menu and chapter selection.Final Thoughts:
Appointment With Crime is solid suspense through and through. The performances are good, the technical aspects are top notch and the story is tightly paced and plenty entertaining. Olive's Blu-ray release is, unfortunately, completely barebones but it does look and sound quite good. Recommended.