The Limping Man


1h 16m 1953

Brief Synopsis

American Frank Pryor (Lloyd Bridges) arrives in London to take up an interrupted romance with Pauline French (Moria Lister), whom he hasn't seen in six years. At the airport a man standing alongside Pryor is slain by an unseen sniper, and he is detained by Scotland Yard for questioning. Released, he goes to Pauline's apartment, and learns that she had an intimate association with the slain man and is not interested in talking about it. Scotland Yard also knows this and Pryor and Pauline are kept under surveillance. After complications involving the dead man's wife, it is found that the man Pauline knows isn't dead at all and isn't who he is supposed to be.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 11, 1953
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Banner Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the story Death on the Tideway by Anthony Verney (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,861ft

Synopsis

As American Franklyn Pryor eagerly waits for his London-bound plane to land, he reflects that it has been six years since he left London. When the passengers disembark, Frank asks the man behind him for a light at the exact moment that a sniper shoots and kills the man. Later, Scotland Yard Inspector Braddock and his assistant, Cameron, question Frank, who never knew the man and is only mildly interested when Braddock says that the passenger, Kendall-Brown, carried expertly forged papers. Frank is allowed to leave after explaining that he will be in London for several months and was supposed to be met by an old friend, Pauline French, who never arrived. After giving Braddock the name of his hotel, as well as Pauline's address, Frank calls her apartment, but she is out. Soon Braddock and Cameron go to the London house that a sharp-eyed police scientist recognized in a photograph among Kendall-Brown's things. Braddock shows the photograph to Kendall-Brown's landlady and asks if she knows the woman in the picture. Although she does not know the woman's name, the landlady reveals that she often visited the year before and had just been there that morning. While the police search his room, Pauline, who is the woman in the photograph, comes to the main door and asks the landlady if Kendall-Brown has returned. When the landlady says "no," but that the police are upstairs, Pauline rushes away and goes to her flat, where Frank is waiting. A surprised Pauline says that she had sent a telegram suggesting that he delay his trip, but she is genuinely happy to see him and they passionately kiss. Later, as Frank looks at her trophies for marksmanship, he mentions that a passenger on his plane was shot to death. Meanwhile, Braddock and Cameron go to see Helene Castle, a performer whose autographed picture was found in Kendall-Brown's room. Helene, who had read about his death in the newspaper, reveals that she was married to him but they had been separated for three years. When they show her the photograph, she identifies Pauline, who is also an actress, and says that she was womanizer Kendall-Brown's "latest." The next day, Pauline takes Frank for a ride in her boat and they end the day on the east side of the Thames at the Spread Eagle pub. After the pub owner takes Pauline aside for a private conversation, Frank is perplexed by the arrival of a limping man, who seems to threaten her. The barmaid then mentions Kendall-Brown's murder and says that Pauline knew Kendall-Brown. When Pauline returns, Frank asks her if she knew him, and she admits that she did, but when Frank offers his help, she becomes upset and rushes off alone. Later that afternoon, Braddock and Cameron question Pauline at her flat. Although she admits having known Kendall-Brown, she says that she had not seen him in a long time, until Braddock confronts her about being seen by the landlady the previous day. They also ask about Frank, who Pauline says is only coincidentally involved. After the police leave, they return to Scotland Yard, where Frank, who has been summoned, is waiting. They tell Frank that Pauline's abilities as a marksman make her a suspect, but also mention irregular footprints and indentations made by a cane found near a spent rifle shell at the edge of the tarmac. Frank immediately thinks of the limping man at the pub, but says nothing. Braddock, who senses that Frank is holding something back, has him followed after warning him against seeing Pauline until Kendall-Brown's murder is solved. Frank immediately goes to Pauline's, where a party has been arranged in his honor, and privately tells her that he is being followed. When Frank begs her to tell him what is going on, she finally breaks down and confesses that she got involved with Kendall-Brown after Frank returned to America at the end of the war and let him use her boat to smuggle contraband into England. When she eventually tired of him, he blackmailed her over foolish letters she had written and was supposed to return them to her for 2,000 pounds the day he was killed. She adds that Helene now has the letters and sent George, the limping stage door keeper at the theater, to the Spread Eagle to demand the money. Pauline fears that her career will be ruined and she could be jailed if the letters were made public. Frank and Pauline then leave and elude the police by using the fire escape and exiting through a downstairs flat. When they arrive at Helene's theater, Pauline enters alone and is escorted by her to a downstairs prop room where Kendall-Brown suddenly appears. He explains that the man on the plane was a friend bringing papers to him. He claims not to know why the man was shot but says that because he now cannot leave England using his own name, Pauline must take him across the channel in her boat. Just then, George, who is looking for a hidden bottle of whiskey, appears. Seeing Kendall-Brown and Pauline, he begins to yell, but Kendall-Brown knocks him unconscious. A moment later, Frank comes into the theater looking for Pauline, followed soon after by Braddock and Cameron, who admonish him for interfering. The unconscious George is discovered, just as the stage manager starts calling for Helene to take the stage. Pauline breaks free from her, runs into Frank and Braddock, and tells them that Kendall-Brown is still alive. When Helene tries to deny everything, saying that she, herself, had identified his body, Braddock reveals that he knew she had lied because the police never rely on a single identification. Just then, Kendall-Brown, wearing George's trench coat, hat and cane, walks through the theater to the upper balcony. Frank goes after him and a fistfight ensues. As Kendall-Brown tries to push Frank over the balcony with his cane, Frank suddenly awakens on the plane as Kendall-Brown, the passenger behind him, gently prods him with an umbrella and thanks him for the loan of a magazine. When the plane lands, Frank is given wishes for a good time in London by the plane's friendly crew, who look like Braddock, Cameron and Helene, and is greeted lovingly by Pauline, who is waiting outside the terminal.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 11, 1953
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Banner Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the story Death on the Tideway by Anthony Verney (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,861ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Following an opening title card with the name and logo of Eros Films, Ltd. (the film's British distributor), the brief scene inside the airplane is shown. Following that scene, the remaining credits appear as the airplane lands and the sniper prepares to shoot "Kendall-Brown." The onscreen credit for Anthony Verney reads "from 'Death on the Tideway' by Anthony Verney." No publication date for the story has been located, and sources variously call it a novel and a short story. Cast names in the opening credits differ slightly in order from the end credits. Credits for the children watching television read "The Children...Max & Louise Boisot." Dancer Lionel Blair performs a routine in which he dances on a floor piano, picking out the notes as Charles Bottrill accompanies him on the xylophone. The Limping Man marked the motion picture debut of actress Jean Marsh, who had no dialogue in the film.