The Big Clock

Charles Laughton in The Big Clock (dir. John Farrow, 1948)

From the novel by Kenneth Fearing, which was remade by Roger Donaldson in 1987 as No Way Out with Kevin Costner and Sean Young. The remake is just okay, but John Farrow's almost-whimsical treatment, with its high modern corporate interiors and droves of grey-flannel sharks, shows some real sensitivity to Fearing's stylistic vision. Ray Milland is perfect as the suit-who's-had-enough, the gifted company man who is just waiting for an excuse to reject the entire system, but finds himself professionally and personally stuck like a fly on flypaper--especially when he's implicated in a murder. Charles Laughton, as publishing magnate Earl Janoth, twirls his hint of a mustache and makes his employees dance like puppets. Elsa Lanchester has a charming small part as a dotty artist, and Harry Morgan plays the most menacing role of his career with no lines.

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