Time Without Pity

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"It all started with a young girl’s scream …"
  • 1957
  • 1 hr 25 min
  • 6.8  (1,915)

Time Without Pity is a gripping 1957 drama directed by Joseph Losey and written by Ben Barzman and Alec Coppel. The film stars Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo McKern and also features Peter Cushing. Set in London, the movie tells the story of a father's race against time to save his son from the gallows, as he faces the daunting task of proving his son's innocence in a murder case.

The film begins with David Graham (Alec McCowen) being accused of the murder of his girlfriend. Though he claims to be innocent, the evidence stacked against him is overwhelming. David's father, David Graham Sr. (Michael Redgrave), is a recovering alcoholic who is estranged from his son. However, after learning of his son's dire situation, he sets out to clear his name.

David Sr. battles alcoholism, his own ego, and his ex-wife in his quest to find evidence that would exonerate his son. His search leads him down the dark alleyways of London's criminal underworld, where he meets a series of questionable characters who may have some clue as to what actually happened on the night of the murder. Along the way, he also crosses swords with his son's defence lawyer, Becker (Leo McKern). Becker is focussed on winning the case at any cost, as he believes that David Jr is guilty.

As the clock ticks down, David Sr. is under immense pressure to find the evidence he needs to clear his son's name. He races against time and a highly competent prosecutor who seems to have all the answers. David eventually succeeds in cracking the case, but at a heavy cost.

Time Without Pity serves as an indictment of the flaws in the British justice system of the time, as well as the effect of addiction on the lives of people. The plot is anchored in the gripping performance of Michael Redgrave and Ann Todd's portrayal of a woman struggling to deal with a broken family. Leo McKern delivers an outstanding performance as the defence lawyer who is more interested in winning the case than anything else. The film presents a bleak picture of a society that is more interested in punishing the guilty - or in this case, the not-guilty - than in finding the truth.

The movie is beautifully shot, and Losey's direction keeps you on the edge of your seat right up until the end. The film's use of close-ups and intense close-shots adds to the sense of anxiety that grips the audience throughout. The choice of Black and White film stock also adds to the overall mood and tone of the movie.

One of the things that stand out most in the film is the character of David Graham Sr. The character is brilliantly written and almost feels autobiographical, given the difficult relationship that Losey had with his own father. Michael Redgrave's portrayal of David Graham Sr. is brave and nuanced, especially given the subject matter at hand. His performance is understated, letting the character's internal struggle come to the fore.

Overall, Time Without Pity is a gripping and tense drama that showcases Losey's incredible directing talent, the brilliant writing of Ben Barzman and Alec Coppel and the magnificent performances of the whole cast. It is a timeless classic that is still relevant today in its critique of western justice systems and how they can sometimes favour punishment over the pursuit of truth.

Time Without Pity is a 1957 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

Time Without Pity
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 25 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (1,915)