STOLEN ASSIGNMENT (1955)
When artist Henry Crossley’s (Patrick Holt) wife goes missing, the police suspect murder, but Crossley has a cast iron alibi. Investigative reporters Jenny Drew (Hy Hazell) and Mike Billings (John Bentley) compete to unravel the mystery and bag a front-page scoop. While Mike has the ear of long-suffering DI Corcoran (Eddie Byrne typically typecast as a copper once again) Jenny has the lady smarts to find the vital clue beyond the dull male imagination (well it is the 1950s after all).
Hazel and Bentley enjoy a great on-screen chemistry and the script contains some really witty dialogue with Hazell delivering one of the funniest verbal put downs I have heard in a long time.
So what is this witty little murder mystery doing on the pages of Horror Hothouse?
Well it was directed by Terence Fisher, the man who would go on to helm Hammer’s Gothic revival with The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958) and The Mummy (1959). What’s more the film was shot at Bray Studios where the majority of Hammer’s movies from 1951 up to 1966 were shot. Eddie Byrne would go on to play (surprise, surprise) Inspector Mulrooney in Fisher’s The Mummy.
An entertaining murder mystery played for laughs I give Stolen Assignment a 444/666
Stolen Assignment is released on DVD in the UK on January 19 as part of Network’s The British Film collection. Price £9.99