Hangover Square is a 1945 film noir thriller directed by John Brahm (The Mad Magician), based on the novel Hangover Square (1941) by Patrick Hamilton. The screenplay was written by Barré Lyndon who made a number of changes to the novel, including the transformation of George Harvey Bone into a classical composer-pianist and filming the story as an early 20th century period piece.
The film was released in New York City on February 7, 1945, two months after its star, Laird Cregar, suffered a fatal heart attack.
In Victorian London (the date 1899 is shown in the opening scene), the police suspect that a composer who suffers from periods of amnesia may be a murderer.
The period setting creates a dark mood, especially in the key scene when Bone (portrayed by Laird Cregar), having strangled Netta (Linda Darnell) on Guy Fawkes Night, carries her wrapped body through streets filled with revelers and deposits it on top of the biggest bonfire.
The final scene shows Cregar as Bone, playing his piano concerto (composed by Bernard Herrmann), unmindful of the conflagration around him, as flames consume all. Also see Laird Cregar in The Lodger.
“1945’s Hangover Square is John Brahm’s near-masterpiece, a popular chiller that nevertheless did not attract the attention of more audience-friendly pictures like Robert Siodmak’s The Spiral Staircase.” Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant
“This is not to all tastes, and it’s unavoidably more over the top than The Lodger, but its histrionics and hyperbole create a texture of tragic madness that perfectly compliments Cregar’s haunted playing.” Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image
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