The Man in the Back Seat (1961)

Article 5132 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-18-2016
Directed by Vernon Sewell
Featuring Derren Nesbitt, Keith Faulkner, Carol White
Country: UK
What it is: Crime thriller

Two criminals attempt to rob a bookie, only to discover that his money is in a bag that is chained to his wrist. They steal the bookie’s car, stash him in the back seat, and try to find a way to get the money off of him and then figure out what to do with the body. Things don’t go well.

There’s something to be said about efficiency. This movie runs only 57 minutes, and it manages to fit enough plot to fill twenty minutes in another movie into the first five minutes here, and it maintains that same tense pace throughout. It is also one of those movies that hovers on the edge of being a black comedy; all it would take is a slight change of tone to underscore the fact that what happens to the two would-be thieves is a series of unlikely and somewhat comic coincidences; these two are almost cursed. As it is, the strong script, the tight direction, and the solid acting really make this a memorable crime thriller. However, I’m going to have to remain silent on the nature of the fantastic content in the movie, but I will say this much; it exists (though it may be a psychological manifestation), and it doesn’t come into play until the very end of the movie.


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