Blind Spot (1958)

screenshot from Blind Spot

Directed by: Peter Maxwell
Screenwriter(s): Kenneth Hayles, from a story by Robert S Baker
Starring: Robert MacKenzie, Delphi Lawrence, Gordon Jackson, John Le Mesurier, Anne Sharp, George Pastell, Ernest Clark
Genre: Crime / Gangster / Thriller
Country: UK
Running time: 1h 12m
Rating: 5 out of 10

Butcher's Film Service was a minor British studio which produced mostly supporting features (B-movies) of around 60-70 minutes. Their films were cheap to make and quick to turn around, and the studio relied on a stable of efficient directors and screenwriters, casting mostly unknowns or lesser-knowns, occasionally supported by reliable character actors. They survived for the best part of six decades by following trends rather than setting them. Silent melodramas of the 1920s gave way to romance and musicals in the 1930s and patriotic war dramas in the 1940s. Blind Spot ticks all the boxes of their 1950s output, which featured heavily on thrillers, often lurid, and mostly featuring an innocent trapped in some kind of deceitful web.

It features an American Army officer, Dan Adams (MacKenzie), who loses his sight in a training ground accident. Given a pass to leave the military hospital, he decides to visit an old friend. On arrival at his friend’s house, he finds the door open and a dead body on the living room floor. Moreover, there are two very interested houseguests who only decide against killing Adams because they think he won’t be able to identify him due to his blindness. They do, however, knock him unconscious and he wakes up back in the Army hospital, only to be told that the police found him outside his friend’s flat with no evidence that he had ever entered the premises.

He undergoes vital brain surgery and, from this, regains his sight. This is achieved without shaving his head or causing any visible scars anywhere on his head or face, which makes 1950s US army hospital neurosurgeons considerably superior to their modern-day counterparts. He immediately discharges himself and sets off to investigate what has happened, only to find that he had previously been taken to the wrong address – 12 Lindale Square instead of 12 Lindale Avenue – and that the Brent family who live in the murder house claim no knowledge of a dead body on their premises. With June Brent (Sharp) and Brent family friend Chalky White (Jackson), he investigates further into what turns out to be a web of smuggling and murder.

Blind Spot a passable little time-waster, and everything about it is serviceable. The running time is short, so there’s no time for niceties. The plot and the dialogue tend to the melodramatic and to quick exposition, and the performances feel a little mannered. Most of the villains have either a heavy accent or a massive facial scar, so you don’t have to spend too much time wondering which side people are on or whether they’ll double-cross our poor Dan. MacKenzie is likably straight as the lead, a good man caught up in bad circumstances, and Caine manages to have some menacing impact in his brief appearance.

As with much of the Butcher’s Films back catalogue, it’s been reissued on DVD by Renown Pictures on one of their Crime Collection box sets, and it can been seen in the UK on their TV broadcast partner, Talking Pictures TV.

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