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The Unguarded Hour

The Unguarded Hour(1936)

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Crying Boy

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Londoners Lady Helen and Sir Alan Deardon are happily married and look forward to Alan's possible appointment to the post of Attorney General. At a reception at their house, however, Helen is frightened when Hugh Lewis, a stranger who has crashed the party, asks her for £2,000 not to make public love letters which Alan wrote to Lewis' wife, Diana Roggers, when Alan was a young man. Not wanting to worry Alan, Helen agrees to Lewis' terms and his suggestion that she meet him on the cliffs of Dover to receive the letters. She gets the letters in exchange for the money, and while waiting for Lewis, Helen sees a happy couple strolling and hears the husband shout a warning to his wife to be careful when she goes on ahead of him. Thinking that everything will now be all right, Helen accompanies Alan on a holiday in Biarritz, France, but their vacation is interrupted when Alan is called back to prosecute a man for murdering his wife. When Helen learns that the man accused of murdering his wife, Metford, is the man she saw in Dover, and that he is accused of pushing her off the cliffs, she knows that he is innocent and rushes back to London to help. She can't reveal that she was in Dover, even though the man has told police that a woman saw him and his wife out walking that day, and unsuccessfully tries to theoretically persuade Alan that Metford must be innocent. Soon Alan gets a letter from Diana and secretly goes to meet her instead of going to the christening of a friend's baby. When he returns home, he has a cut on his hand and is concerned about something, but will not say what it is. Meanwhile, Helen confesses her predicament to their friend William "Bunny" Jeffers. Hoping to show Alan that it would be difficult for an innocent man to establish a good alibi, he plays a parlor game and is surprised that Alan has a weak excuse for missing the christening. General Lawrence of Scotland Yard, a friend who is also present during the game, overhears and is suspicious. When a policeman comes to the house to tell Lawrence that Diana has been found strangled to death on Mallet Street, Lawrence becomes even more suspicious of Alan. As evidence mounts against Alan, Helen starts to suspect that he has been unfaithful to her, even though he swears he is innocent. Soon Helen is given a subpoena to testify at Metford's trial at the old Bailey. Though she tries to be evasive, when she is confronted with the information that a Dover bank clerk identified her as the woman who had exchanged two £1,000 notes for small bills and had taken down her car license number because he was suspicious, she breaks down. She then reveals the entire story about Lewis's blackmail scheme, but does not reveal who he is. Her recollection of the events at Dover clear Metford of the charge of murder, but by mentioning the blackmail plot, the judge insists that she name the man or be held responsible for withholding evidence. She then reluctantly reveals Lewis' identity, but by doing so, she further implicates Alan. During a court recess, General Lawrence confronts Alan and tells him that evidence points to him as Diana Roggers' murderer and suggests that he confess to save himself from the gallows. After asking to talk with Helen privately for a few moments, Alan confesses that he killed Diana, but says that she came after him with a knife and apparently mistook him for her husband. Helen then looks at a picture of Diana's husband and says that he is not the man who came to her and identified himself as Lewis. After newspapers print the story that the police are searching for a "phantom man," Lewis goes to see Helen and suggests that he can help Alan, but only if they agree to give him £10,000. He then goes to the police and says that he had seen Diana and had left her flat after she went into a rage. He then signs a paper to the effect and, after he does, Lawrence and Alan reveal that Alan did not really kill Diana. He had never gone to her flat, but Alan knew that the only way to entrap Lewis was to make him think that he had not killed his wife, but only strangled her into unconsciousness. With Lewis now behind bars and the case behind them, Helen and Alan look forward to resuming their life together.