She Played with Fire

Overview

Oliver Branwell (Jack Hawkins) is an honest, decent man, dedicated to his job as an insurance claims assessor -- until he makes a business call, to assess the damage from a fire, on Tracey Moreton (Dennis Price) and meets Morton's wife Sarah (Arlene Dahl), with whom Oliver had been involved romantically five years earlier. He's thrown off balance by her presence and the seeming friendliness of Tracey and his mother (Violet Fairbrother), both members of the upper-class who have found their lifestyle squeezed and ...
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Overview

Oliver Branwell (Jack Hawkins) is an honest, decent man, dedicated to his job as an insurance claims assessor -- until he makes a business call, to assess the damage from a fire, on Tracey Moreton (Dennis Price) and meets Morton's wife Sarah (Arlene Dahl), with whom Oliver had been involved romantically five years earlier. He's thrown off balance by her presence and the seeming friendliness of Tracey and his mother (Violet Fairbrother), both members of the upper-class who have found their lifestyle squeezed and trimmed back by England's dire postwar economy and taxes. But soon, Oliver finds himself in more than a personally awkward position over his friendship with Tracey and lingering attraction to Sarah -- he accidentally uncovers evidence of a massive insurance fraud committed by Tracey, and doesn't want to report it for fear of implicating Sarah. And matters only get worse when Tracey's family home is burned to the ground, in a fire that was definitely arson, killing Tracey (or did it?) in the process. And just when Oliver's dilemma seemingly couldn't get worse, he and the newly-widowed Sarah are married. And then the police start sniffing around, along with a blackmailer (Bernard Miles) who is after a share of the 30,000 pounds insurance that Sarah collected on Tracey's life.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
She Played With Fire is a low-key little film noir that manages to be filled with all manner of little surprises. It is, to be sure, a little light-hearted as a film noir -- it sometimes can't seem to make up its mind if it wants to be a successor to Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity or to Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (which producer/screenwriter Frank Launder and director/producer/screenwriter Sidney Gilliat co-authored). But there are enough ominous and suspenseful moments, especially in the middle of the movie, as Jack Hawkins' character starts moving around a manor house that he doesn't realize has been set ablaze, to keep fans of the genre satisfied. And Arlene Dahl is surprisingly good in a role that keeps us guessing until two thirds of the way through. Bernard Miles makes a suitable (and sometimes comically) creepy presence as the blackmailer's agent, and Ian Hunter's smarmy presence adds a few unexpected comical touches at just the right moments, toward the end. And Jack Hawkins is completely in his element as a man whose main "flaws" are his excessive romanticism and a desire not to hurt people. Additionally, the denouement is a genuine surprise, mostly by virtue of the layer-upon-layer of plot developments thrust upon us beginning at about a third of the way into the movie. She Played With Fire is not quite a masterpiece, but it is an entertaining and enjoyable diversion from a pair of filmmakers whose output was equally steeped in comedies, thrillers, and dramas.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/1/2012
  • UPC: 043396400870
  • Original Release: 1957
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 63,620

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Hawkins Oliver Branwell
Arlene Dahl Sarah Moreton
Dennis Price Tracey Moreton
Violet Farebrother Mrs. Moreton
Ian Hunter Clive Fisher
Malcolm Keen Old Abercrombie
Geoffrey Keen Michael Abercrombie
Patrick Holt Fred Connor
John Robinson Berkeley Reckitt
Michael Goodliffe Sgt. Barnes
Bernard Miles Mr. Jerome
Christopher Lee Charles Highbury
Greta Gynt Vere Litchen
John Phillips Willis Croft
Patricia Marmont Ambrosine
Technical Credits
Sidney Gilliat Director, Producer, Screenwriter
William Alwyn Score Composer
Geoffrey Foot Editor
Gerald Gibbs Cinematographer
Frank Launder Producer, Screenwriter
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Wilfred Shingleton Art Director
Val Valentine Screenwriter
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