Accent in this film [based on the novel by F.L. Green] is on art with a capital A. Carol Reed has made his film with deliberation and care, and has achieved splendid teamwork from every member of the cast. Occasionally too intent on pointing his moral and adorning his tale, he has missed little in its telling.
Story is set in a city in Northern Ireland and takes place between 4 pm and midnight on a winter’s day. Johnnie, leader of an organization, sentenced for gun running, has broken gaol and is hiding with his girl Kathleen. He plans a holdup on a mill to obtain funds, and although deprecating violence, he takes a gun. During the holdup he accidentally kills a man, is badly wounded himself, and the driver of the car panics, leaving Johnnie to fend for himself. Bleeding, he stumbles through the city trying to hide from the police.
For Mason two-thirds of the film is silent. From the moment he is wounded he has few lines and has to drag himself along, a hunted man with a fatal wound. It is hardly his fault that, in this passive character that expresses little more than various phases of pain and occasional delirium, he is less effective than he could be.
Making her screen debut, Kathleen Ryan reveals undoubted ability and much promise. Graduate of the Abbey and Gate theatres, this 24-year-old redhead was ‘discovered’ in Ireland by Reed, who coached and trained her for this part.
1947: Nomination: Best Editing