Blind Date (UK, 1959)

Truth or career

I’m back on the Talking Pictures nostalgia trail (except most of the films are new to me) after the wonderful World Cup; I chose this as it paired director Joseph Losey and Stanley Baker (as they were in the superb The Criminal). Hardy Kruger plays a ‘happy-go-lucky’ artist (well, his proto-’60s irreverent heel-kicking during the credit sequences suggested so) who finds himself the main suspect for a murder. Baker plays the cop with working class roots who finds himself between the clipped accents of hierarchy and the truth.

The plot stretches credulity but that bothers me little when the central thesis is about the iniquities of social class. Unsurprisingly a French actor, Micheline Presle, is required to play the femme fatale, though I’m not entirely sure why the victim is Dutch; that may be simply a case of casting. The posh knobs (played by Robert Flemyng and John Van Eyssen) reminded me of Jacob Rees Mog, the Tory politician doing his best to take Britain back to the dark ages. As German newspaper described him appropriately as a “living fossil”. The middle class’s polite restrain conceals a neurotic fear of the Other. Baker plays his precarious position well and the film’s sympathies are clearly with him.

French femme fatale


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