The Long Arm (The Third Key) (1956)

Excellent British police procedural with Jack Hawkins as a Scotland Yard Superintendent trying to solve perfect burglaries. I really enjoyed this and detection fans will too.

A burglar is robbing a safe. An automatic alarm goes off at the police station. It only takes the cops over a minute to get there. A nightwatchman lets them in. No evidence of a break in. The next day the robbery is discovered. It’s the kind of safe that either has to be forced open or just use a key. The real nightwatchman has been in hospital for a few days.

Superintendent Tom Halliday (Jack Hawkins) is assigned the case. He’s aided by new transfer, Sgt.Ward (John Stratton). At home Halliday’s son says maybe  it was a super crook. That gets him thinking.

He and Ward check the files for similar robberies and come up with a list of crimes where no evidence was left behind. Most of the cases involved the same brand of safe.

In the middle of the night Sidney James is going to work. He sees a man climbing over the front entrance. He yells for him to stop as he gets into a car. James stands in front of the car to make it stop but is run down. Halliday questions him in the hospital. All James can do is nod but Halliday gets a description of the car. Later James dies and it’s now murder.

Two kids approach a junk dealer with the fog lamp from a car. It’s too new to be junk and a policeman gets the location of where it came from. It’s the car Halliday is looking for.

Now sit back and watch the investigation unfold. There are short scenes of Halliday’s family life with his wife and son. They are not heavy handed and fit right in. It all comes to a great finish. Thoroughly enjoyable.

One of the characters is an insurance man named Mr.Creasey. I don’t know if that’s a subtle salute to British crime writer John Creasey since he didn’t have anything to do with this movie. Then again he did write over five hundred crime novels so maybe it was.

Jack Hawkins was nominated as Best British Actor for a BAFTA award. Peter Finch won that year for “A Town Named Alice.”


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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