Review: Town on Trial

Blu-ray: Town on Trial (1957)

When a flirty Marylin Monroe-esque member of the local tennis club is murdered, Superintendent Mike Halloran (John Mills) is assigned the task of finding out who the murderer is.

His investigations uncover a web of deceit, whereby numerous people are linked to the deceased due to romantic flirtations. The case becomes even more convoluted when another murder happens in this hitherto tranquil community.

Town on Trial is at heart a ‘who done it’, albeit one where the identity of the killer can be assumed quite early. However, this in no way detracts from the narrative which keeps you glued to the proceedings as peoples lies begin to unfold before the questioning of Halloran.

John Mills, as ever, is superb. Though I did find that his romantic relationship with the niece of the towns doctor didn’t quite come across as convincing. Halloran was much better when chasing down clues and grilling suspects.

Town on Trial also touches on some social commentary of the British class system. The upperclass members of the tennis club seemingly thinking that they can get away with anything (including murder!), while talking down to anyone who isn’t ‘in the club’…both tennis and social standing. Halloran feels more at ease with the working class, as viewed in a pub scene…no cucumber sandwiches for him, it’s cheese and pickle every time.

A solid murder mystery that is well worth watching.

Powerhouse Films have once again added a superb set of extra features to their Indicator series of releases, highlights in this being an informative interview with John Mills and also another movie from director John Guillermin.

• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
The John Player Lecture with John Mills (1972, 96 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Margaret Hinxman at London’s National Film Theatre
Barry Forshaw on ‘Town on Trial’ (2018, 20 mins): an appreciation by the author of British Crime Film: Subverting the Social Order and Brit Noir
Adventure in the Hopfields (1954, 59 mins): director John Guillermin’s Children’s Film Foundation drama starring Mandy Miller (The Snorkel)
Shooting Hops (2018, 7 mins): focus puller Alec Burridge discusses working with John Guillermin and the production of Adventure in the Hopfields
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: original promotional material
• New English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Neil Sinyard, extracts from the original campaign book, a profile of actor Barbara Bates, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• All extras subject to change

Town on Trial is released on 19th March 2018 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.