Vicious Circle, also released as The Circle, is a 1957 British crime thriller with a screenplay by Francis Durbridge.
When you see Francis Durbridge’s name on the credits you expect a convoluted plot, which is exactly what this film boasts. You also expect the plot to be skillfully constructed, and again that’s precisely what you get here.
It starts in very typical Durbridge fashion. You take a very ordinary fellow and plunge him into a nightmare vortex of fear and suspicion. In this case the ordinary chap is Harley Street specialist Dr Howard Latimer (John Mills). Dr Latimer sees a patient who has a very odd story to tell - she found a dead body in a park but the body later disappeared. Still, patients with odd stories to tell are not all that unusual. On the same day he is asked by an American friend to meet a German film star at London Airport. named Geoffrey Windsor, a reporter who had wanted to interview him, offers him a lift to the airport. A busy day but nothing really special.
All of Latimer’s efforts to make sense of the mystery just leave him more confused and more desperate. To top it all off there’s a mysterious character called Brady (Wilfred Hyde-White) trying to blackmail him.
It’s the acting that to a very large degree carries this film. British film-makers really did had an extraordinary array of acting talent to draw upon at this time.
I guess this movie could be considered to be vaguely in the Hitchcock style, although more low-key and lacking the spectacular visual set-pieces. The theme of the ordinary guy dragged into mystery and danger of which he has no clear comprehension works pretty well.
Vicious Circle is a well-crafted mystery thriller, typical of the solid productions of the 1950s British film industry. A treat for Durbridge fans. Highly recommended.