The Way Out


1h 26m 1956

Brief Synopsis

A man tells his wife that the police are after him for having killed a bookie during an alcoholic binge, but that he is innocent and is being framed for the murder. The wife and her brother hide him and try to find out who the real killer was. The more they investigate, the more holes they begin to find in the husband's story.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dial 999
Release Date
Apr 11, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Todon Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Way Out by Bruce Graeme (London, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,052ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

At 1:00 a.m. in London, American Terry Carradine worries about the whereabouts of her husband Greg, despite the disdain of her brother, novelist John Moffet, who considers Greg a shiftless alcoholic. Soon, Greg returns, ranting that he has killed a man and must hide. Although Terry believes that he must be innocent and should contact the police, Greg insists that she help him flee, and explains that he hit a man over the head with a bottle during a drunken brawl at the Zanzi Bar. When police detective Sgt. Seagrave knocks on the apartment door, Terry helps Greg escape, then informs Seagrave that she has no information about her husband. Later, Greg calls Terry and, aware that the phone may be tapped, Terry gives Greg coded instructions to hide at a friend's flat and meet her the following day at "the redhead's house," referring to her friend, Vera Bellamy. Seagrave has indeed tapped the phone and deduces to which friend's flat Greg has gone, and so is there the next day when Terry tries to visit Greg. The sergeant accompanies Terry to her office, where she eludes him and heads in secret to Vera's. While Vera invites Greg to hide out at her place, Seagrave questions John about who Terry's redheaded friend could be, but John, who is Vera's ex-boyfriend, claims not to know. At Vera's, Greg, who cannot leave the country legally because his passport has expired, informs Terry about an underground ring that furnishes fugitives with "the way out," a secret escape route. Although fearful for her safety, Terry promises to contact Zanzi Bar bartender George for more information. At the bar, George is reluctant to cooperate, but Terry pleads with him to tell her what happened the night of the murder. George reveals that Greg, who vowed to Terry that he had never been in the bar before, was in fact a regular, as well as a gambler who owed money all over town. On the night of the murder, George says, a drunken Greg flirted with a blonde, then fought with bookie Anderson, killing him by smashing a bottle over his head. Terry, stunned to learn of Greg's true nature but loyal nonetheless, takes George's advice and approaches Alf Cressett about "the way out." Meanwhile, at Vera's, Greg grabs Vera and tries to kiss her, but she pushes him away. Cressett at first feigns ignorance but, upon hearing that Terry has money, instructs her to bring £700 to Tom Smithers at the local greyhound kennel. Meanwhile, Seagrave, who has discovered that one of John's books is dedicated to "my favorite redhead, Vera B.," obtains Vera's address from John's publisher. By the time he reaches her flat, however, Vera has already kicked out Greg for making repeated advances. Vera acts seductively toward Seagrave and refuses to reveal anything about Greg. Greg has gone to John's, where Terry meets them and convinces her brother to hide Greg and lend them £700. Smithers then gives them explicit instructions about how to leave town, but Greg is enraged to discover that he must wait three days. Soon, Seagrave deduces that Greg is hiding at John's, and arrives to search the flat. Greg slips out the kitchen window and calls Terry, almost revealing his whereabouts until she stops him, knowing the phone is tapped. She instructs him, in code, to meet her in two hours, and when he complains about the delay, she agrees to ask Smithers if he can leave the country immediately. John accompanies Terry to the pub where Smithers works, and although they attempt to elude the policeman following them, they fail to realize that a female officer is also tailing them. At the pub, Smithers at first refuses to change Greg's escape plan but is finally persuaded by Terry and gives her new instructions. With Seagrave in pursuit, Terry takes one of Smithers' vans while John drives another. She picks up Greg at their appointed spot and drives toward the coast, with John driving in front of the following police to confuse them. Later, John and Terry switch vans and disguise the vehicles' outer features, so that Terry's van now looks like a post office truck. Hours later, Seagrave figures out the ruse and has the post office truck tailed, but by that time Terry is able to switch again to a large truck, according to Smithers' plan, and drive to the town of Kent incognito. Seagrave soon catches up with them once again, and after he instructs a police car to follow the truck, Greg opens the back door and sprays it with a fire extinguisher, disabling it. While Terry and Greg reach their next hideout, the barn of a local farmer, the police form a ring around the district, prompting the farmer to inform them that they must remain hidden. That night, Terry informs Greg that she no longer loves him, and when she pulls away from his attempt to kiss her, he accuses her of obtaining his escape by dispensing sexual favors. The next morning, when the farmer again refuses to drive them across the border, Greg flies into a rage and runs off alone, followed by Terry. Within moments he is stopped by policemen and fights them. At the same moment that Seagrave pulls up and Terry reaches the group, the policemen are forced to kill Greg to incapacitate him. As Seagrave leads Terry away, she wonders aloud if Greg found the right "way out," after all.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dial 999
Release Date
Apr 11, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Todon Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Way Out by Bruce Graeme (London, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,052ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Because some onscreen production crew credits were missing from the viewed print, credit information was completed using contemporary reviews and copyright records. The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. Although Paula Byrne's opening credit reads "and introducing," she actually made her film debut in the 1954 Lippert production The Black Glove. The Way Out was shot in London and released there in 1955 under the title Dial 999. The film was based on the same source as the 1942 British production Dial 999, which was directed by Lawrence Huntington and starred John Longden and Elizabeth Kent.
       Variety reported on June 8, 1955 that RKO had secured distribution rights to the film outside Great Britain. Although that article reported that the picture was based on a Charles O'Malley novel entitled The Way Out, the novel was written by Bruce Graeme. According to a June 24, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, Tony Owen's Todon Productions filed a $1.5 million breach of contract suit against RKO on 21 Jun, charging that the studio turned over distribution of The Way Out, Postmark for Danger and Finger of Guilt to various independent distributors without Todon's consent. The disposition of that suit has not been determined.