The October Man

My digital camera is acting up, so for the moment there'll be no more screenshots of these 1947 films on VHS or TV. Which may be for the best, as I'm feeling overwhelmed by the documenting of these entries.

October Man (Eagle-Lion, Roy Ward Baker) is a British, not Hollywood film, but since TCM was playing it, and since in 1947, the distribution ties between the British and American studios was as close as it had ever been and ever would be, the inclusion of a few British imports seems worthwhile.

October Man would likely be classified as British noir, but it's worth noting that these films are more straightforward than their American counterparts, usually focusing on the subjectivity of the middle-class man in crisis. October Man, in fact, was scripted by Eric Ambler, an author known for such narratives. What's remarkable about is less the thriller element (which, like I say, is far more straightforward than American thrillers) than in the social-problem-y narrative about a man facing mental illness after a truck accident. The conflict is mostly psychological, a battle in the man's brain between surety that he's innocent with a gnawing worry that he's going psychotic and may in fact be guilty. The moments in which he contemplates suicide are fairly grim, and bely the cheery, tidy resolution of the film. I am sure that scholars must have noticed the ideological function the troubled middle-class man serves in the British national self-image after World War II. For my part I don't have anything to say that's not obvious.


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