Time Without Pity (1957)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Family Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 1, 1957 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Time Without Pity is an unusual film noir in that, though it has at its center a murder, it is not a murder mystery. Rather, the film's considerable suspense comes from wondering whether the real killer will be fingered before the accused is put to death. This may seem like a small point, but it actually provides a very high level of tension throughout and also distinguishes Time from many other murder films of the period. Credit goes both to director Joseph Losey and adapter Ben Barzman for the creation and maintenance of the palpable tension, which is crucial to Time's success. Barzman's script is lean and skillful, and peppered with memorable twists. For his part, Losey never lets the viewer forget that time is the real enemy in this picture; few films are as feverishly obsessed with time and its passage. He also gets marvelous performances from Ann Todd and Leo McKern, and a tremendously powerful one from Michael Redgrave. Looking like hell, Redgrave's torment (and deep regret) are painful -- and so is his weakness. Even more than Losey's or Barzman's, Redgrave's contribution is essential to Time's success.