TAKE MY LIFE(Cineguild, 1947)—Melodrama. Director: Ronald Neame; Producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan; Script: Winston Graham, Margaret Kennedy, and Valerie Taylor; Cinematography: Guy Green; Music: William Alwyn; Cast: Hugh Williams (Nicholas Talbot), Greta Gynt (Phillipa Shelley), Marius Goring (Sidney Fleming), Francis L. Sullivan (Prosecuting Counsel), Henry Edwards (Inspector Archer), Rosalie Crutchley (Elizabeth Rusman), Leo Bieber (Parone), Marjorie Mars (Mrs. Newcombe), David Walbridge (Leslie Newcombe), Maurice Denham (Defending Counsel), and Ronald Adam (Detective Sergeant Hawkins).
Within little more than twelve months, Marius Goring* starred in three very different films. In The Red Shoes* (1948), he played the young composer in love with the tragic heroine, followed by the middle-aged school master who makes life difficult for David Farrar* in Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill* (1948). Goring, however, preceded these roles with a very different schoolmaster (Sidney Fleming) in Take My Life who murders his wife (Elizabeth Rusman) when she threatens to divorce him on the grounds of cruelty, thereby threatening his reputation and career as a the headmaster of an elite private boys school in Scotland.
Nicholas Talbot is charged with murdering Elizabeth Rusman because he was in the vicinity of the murder and that he had a relationship with her some years earlier (and, coincidentally, his forehead is injured following an argument with his wife). Talbot's wife, Phillipa, is forced to try and find evidence that will establish her husband's innocence. Phillipa's initial search proves fruitless until she discovers a piece of music that leads her to Fleming's school in Scotland. Here, a tense cat-and-mouse sequence follows, culminating in the deserted school as Fleming and Phillipa confront each other. The tension is carefully orchestrated during these scenes, especially when Phillipa plays the incriminating tune on the school's organ while Fleming moves closer and closer to her exposed back.
Although the basic narrative structure of the film is, by its very nature, based on coincidence and contrivances, it marks a smooth, skillful directorial debut for