Nowhere to Go
Cast & Crew
In London, soon after beginning his ten year sentence for robbery, Canadian Paul Gregory breaks out of prison with the assistance of his partner, Victor Sloane. Sloane has arranged for Paul to take refuge in a small flat whose owner is away for three months. While Paul settles into a steaming bath he recalls the crime for which he was arrested: After discovering a newspaper article describing the rare coin collection owned by widow Mrs. Harriet P. Jefferson, Paul arranges to run into Mrs. Jefferson at a hockey match. Playing upon the fact that Mrs. Jefferson is also Canadian, Paul soon befriends her, presenting himself as a struggling but determined playwright. After several meetings, Mrs. Jefferson confides she wants to sell her rare coin collection and Paul recommends she consult a dealer with whom he is acquainted. When Mrs. Jefferson expresses interest in wanting to help Paul with his monetary difficulties, he suggests that she allow him to act as her agent in selling the coins. Paul then takes Mrs. Jefferson to meet Sloane, who, in the guise of a dealer, appraises the collection. Sloane's caution to Mrs. Jefferson that Paul is a novice in making deals only serves to goad her into giving Paul written authority to act for her. While Mrs. Jefferson is out of town, Paul arranges to sell the coins to a reputable coin dealer and insists on payment in cash. After orchestrating Mrs. Jefferson's maid's absence from her house, Paul removes the coins, sells them and deposits the proceeds in a safe deposit box at a bank. Thinking that a foreigner and first time offender will be treated with leniency, Paul makes sure that he is captured and plans to leave the country with the money after serving a brief sentence. Paul's plan is derailed by his refusal to assist the police recover the money, resulting in a severe ten year sentence. In the present, Sloane visits Paul at the flat and informs him that obtaining a forged passport will be expensive as Paul's escape has received heavy news coverage. Paul authorizes Sloane to spend whatever is necessary, but refuses to allow Sloane to accompany him when he picks up the money. After Sloane departs, Paul is startled by a visit from Bridget Howard, the fiancée of the flat's owner. Unaware that her fiancé has left the country, Bridget tells Paul a little about herself then leaves her phone number in the event her fiancé calls. Paul then goes to the bank to retrieve the money, but is panicked when he sees the man who arrested him, Inspector Scott, who is at the bank investigating another case. Alarmed, Paul returns to the flat where he frets about his next move. Later, Sloane returns to take Paul's picture for the passport, then informs Paul that he will not assist him further until he receives not just his share of the money, but the entire amount. When Paul reveals he does not have the cash, Sloane states that he followed Paul to the bank. Angered when Paul denies having the money, Sloane beats him and ransacks the flat. After Paul revives, Sloane demands the deposit box key and informs Paul they will jointly return to the bank that afternoon. Upon Sloane's departure, Paul leaves him a note rescheduling their meeting for that night at Sloane's home, then goes to Sloane's house and, believing it empty, breaks in. When Sloane's wife, Rosemary, discovers Paul, she faints and he ties her up. After Sloane discovers Paul's note, he places the deposit box key in an envelope and pockets it. Upon arriving at his home, Sloane is overpowered by Paul, who ties him up and demands his keys. Infuriated by Sloane's taunting jibes, Paul angrily stuffs a gag into his mouth and searches for Sloane's key ring. Paul then goes to a bar run by "Mac" Cameron, an ex-convict with whom he is acquainted, and pleads for a place to stay. Although leery about doing anything illegal, Cameron arranges to have Paul stay with waitress Rosa. As he leaves the bar, Paul is disconcerted to run into Bridget, who is pleased to see him. At Rosa's, Paul makes an appointment to meet with underground crime boss Sullivan the next morning. The following morning, Paul just manages to evade the police, who have been brought by Cameron. At the meeting, Sullivan refuses to help Paul, and reveals that Paul is now wanted for murder because Sloane choked to death on his dentures as a result of being gagged. Stunned, Paul then attempts to retrieve the money using a key found at Sloane's. When the key does not work, Paul desperately contacts Bridget to ask for her help. Bridget allows him to stay the night at her flat, then offers to hide Paul in a cottage on her family estate in Wales. On the drive, Bridget admits to knowing Paul's identity from the news coverage, but promises to stand by him. When Bridget swerves the car to avoid hitting a dog, they sideswipe a truck, sending it into a ditch, but Paul forces Bridget to drive on. Upon arriving at the outskirts of the Howard estate late that afternoon, Paul instructs Bridget about what to say if the police question her about the near accident, then sets off on foot for the cottage. At the main house, Bridget is met by her uncle and Inspector Scott who has learned from Cameron that Bridget talked with Paul at the bar. Bridget claims she vaguely recalls speaking to a stranger, but Scott asks her to make an official statement at headquarters. Watching the house from a distant hill, Paul sees Bridget taken away by Scott and, certain she has betrayed him up, departs. At a nearby farm, Paul is shot by a farmer when he attempts to steal a bicycle. Although severely wounded, Paul manages to steal a truck, but a little distance from the farm, collapses and dies. Later, Bridget returns to the estate and when she seeks out Paul at the cottage, she is disappointed to find it empty.
Howard Marion Crawford
Nowhere to Go
Among the many pleasures of watching Nowhere to Go is the evocative black and white cinematography of Paul Beeson which gives us a crook's tour of London complete with back streets, dive bars, shabby flats and seedy neighborhoods. A mood of desolation and overwhelming loneliness is further conveyed through the film's score composed by jazz musician Dizzy Reece and performed by his quintet. But more importantly the film marks the appearance of Maggie Smith in her first major film role (she had previously appeared in a bit part in Child in the House, 1956). As Bridget Howard, the woman who befriends Gregory and agrees to hide him near her family's home in Wales, she makes an indelible impression as a somewhat disillusioned but impulsive woman who continues to place her trust in men that don't deserve her.
Prior to appearing in Nowhere to Go, Smith was working exclusively in the theatre and Kenneth Tynan, a drama critic for the Observer and a script editor at Ealing Studios, was partially responsible for her being cast in the film (He co-wrote the screenplay with director Seth Holt). As for Holt, Nowhere to Go marked his directorial film debut and for a while, his career looked promising with features like Scream of Fear (1961), a superior psychological horror film in the Hitchcock mode, and Station Six-Sahara (1962) - a favorite film of Martin Scorsese - being favorably reviewed by the press and renown critics. But Holt never graduated to A-level projects, partially due to personal problems from alcoholism, and he died unexpectedly in 1971, during the filming of Blood from the Mummy's Tomb.
The real surprise of Nowhere to Go is George Nader in the role of the debonair confidence man; it's an impressive performance that goes from cool self-confidence to sheer desperation. Yet Nader was rarely given the opportunity to play challenging roles or give a genuine performance in most of his Hollywood films. In those he was marketed as a beefcake hero in movies like Lady Godiva and The Second Greatest Sex (both 1955). Except for the notoriously bad Robot Monster (1953), however, most American moviegoers are probably unfamiliar with his work, though in Europe Nader has a cult following due to his appearance in a series of spy thrillers as secret agent Jerry Cotton. For many years it was rumored that Nader's Hollywood career was sabotaged by his own studio, Universal, which felt pressure from the tabloids to expose gay actors. The story goes that the studio sacrificed Nader's career in order to save Rock Hudson's much more lucrative one. At any rate, Nader relocated to Europe where he found steady work in films until he had a serious car accident. After that he turned to writing and one of his novels, Chrome (1978), a sci-fi thriller featuring gay robots, has earned an underground following of sorts.
Producer: Michael Balcon
Director: Basil Dearden, Seth Holt
Screenplay: Seth Holt, Kenneth Tynan; based on the novel by Donald MacKenzie
Art Direction: Alan Withy
Cinematography: Paul Beeson
Editing: Harry Aldous
Music: Dizzy Reece
Cast: George Nader (Paul Gregory), Bernard Lee (Vic Sloane), Bessie Love (Harriet Jefferson), Maggie Smith (Bridget Howard), Geoffrey Keen (Inspector Scott).
by Jeff Stafford
Nowhere to Go
An August 1956 HR news item indicated that British director Harry Watt would be directing Nowhere to Go for producer Michael Balcon. Nowhere to Go was probably one of six films that were part of a financing package between M-G-M and Balcon. For more information on the Ealing Films/M-G-M contract see the entry above for the 1957 film, Decision Against Time. A November 1956 item noted that Bridget Boland was writing the screenplay, but her contribution, if any, to the final script has not been determined. Nowhere to Go marked the film debut of Maggie Smith.