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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Sleeping Tiger (1954)

After a petty criminal (Dirk Bogarde) attempts to rob a renowned psychiatrist (Alexander Knox) and fails, he's given the option of going to jail or submitting to a rehabilitation experiment at the psychiatrist's hands. This necessitates moving into the doctor's home. But the doctor didn't count on his wife (Alexis Smith) and the thug falling in love. Directed by Joseph Losey in Great Britain, who used a pseudonym since he'd just been blacklisted in America. I found the film to be disturbing in its attitude and borderline misogynistic. Bogarde's thug is a bully, a liar and a thief and Knox's psychiatrist comes across as an enabler who excuses his bad behavior because the criminal had a bad childhood. Meanwhile, he ignores his wife to devote his time to the young man. In the end, the men emerge unscathed while Smith's (going all Joan Crawford on us!) wife is turned into a "hell hath no fury" shrew. Having expended all their empathy for the two men, the film makers have none left and make her the villain. It just left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. With Billie Whitelaw, Hugh Griffith and Maxine Audley.   

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