Crown vs. Stevens (1936)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film  |   Run Time - 66 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

If subsequent events -- such as his making of Edge Of The World -- hadn't made it clear, Crown Vs. Stevens would have been proof to any filmgoer or producer that Michael Powell was too good to be working on low-budget "quota quickies." A briskly paced thriller with elements of romance, the plot roars forward like a train gathering steam on a long downhill grade, but Powell manages to get all kinds of clever moments -- the most obvious being the quick cuts that advance the story and one subtle, telling mirror shot that reveals a key character's underlying emotional state -- that are the stuff of serious talent. The budget may be sub-Hitchcock, but the story-telling and tension are anything but, and this neat mystery yarn would be worth catching on that basis alone. Old-movie buffs may also appreciate seeing an incredibly youthful Patric Knowles and Bernard Miles in action in key roles.