Time for another Bad Movie of the Week, and Amazon Prime Video is there when I need it. This is Shadow of a Man out of E.J. Fancey Productions in England. Release date was 1954 according to Amazon, 1956 according to Wikipedia, where I obtained technical information. The apparent locale is Hastings, on the English coast, and the opening scene features Inspector Gates (Tony Quinn) investigating a disturbance on The Pier. Never having been to Hastings I checked Google maps. And, yes, there is a famous Hastings Pier, still there 64 years later.
The gatekeeper tells of a couple, a man and an attractive young woman, going out on the pier late in the evening. Later another man came through, and out in the darkness shots were fired. A search finds a semi-automatic pistol and nothing else.
The scene shifts to Gene Landers (Paul Carpenter) holding an intense conversation with Carol Seaton (Jane Griffiths). Gene is telling what transpired out on the pier. The police will be looking for him. He needs to explain to Carol, and much of the remainder of the plot is a flash-back.
Paul Bryant (Bill Nagy) is at a night club with his wife Linda (Rona Anderson). Also there are Carol and Linda’s good friend Norman Farrel (Ronald Leigh-Hunt). You see them here in the background as a drunken and disorderly Paul gets punched by night club owner Max (Robert O’Neil) and ejected from the club. Meanwhile, a cabaret singer (Rose Alba) belts out the title song, Shadow of the Man I Love.
Back at the Bryant flat, Carol herds Paul into his bedroom, where he is left unconscious. There is much drinking and smoking of cigarettes. People smoked a lot in those days.
Norman goes in to check on Paul, then he leaves. Carol, who is also staying at the flat, goes to her room. Linda goes in to check on Paul, then she comes out and phones for the police. Paul has expired.
Anyhow, Linda is an airline hostess, and she is out of town when the police dig deeper into Paul’s death, and they find the broken tip of a hypodermic needle in his arm. He has died of an air embolism. Somebody has injected air into a vein, causing heart failure.
Also while Linda is away Gene arrives from America. He is a wartime buddy of Paul’s, and Norman has the sorry task to inform him of Paul’s death.
More develops. Gene is a writer with no place to stay, so Linda invites him to stay at the Bryant flat. Things are getting crowded, and interesting. Norman has a love interest in Linda, and he walks in while Linda and Gene are passionately embracing.
Now we get the full picture. Norman, who is diabetic, has used one of his syringes to inject the deadly air bubble. His scheme was to get Paul out of the way so he could make time with Linda. But then Gene came along and spoiled the whole thing.
Gene has brought with him from America the infamous pistol that was found on the pier. The police approve, since Gene obtained a permit on arriving in England. Anyhow, Norman took the pistol from the drawer in the Bryant flat and lured Linda out onto the pier on the fateful night. Gene came along and figured out what happened. He followed them, becoming the second man mentioned by the gatekeeper. Norman fired and missed. There was a tussle. Gene got the gun and fired, and Norman went into the water.
Now the police have the whole story. Norman was not hit by Gene’s bullet, and now he is on the loose, and he has armed himself with another gun. He has been spotted on the pier.
Gene and Linda go with Inspector Gates to the pier, where Norman has been spotted. They clear the pier, and the inspector prepares to go it alone and take Norman into custody. Gene offers to pitch in with the aid of his trusty pistol, but the offer is declined.
Gates confronts Norman, who wings him with a shot. Gene comes to the rescue and wrestles Norman to the ground.
Norman is taken away to be booked. We are sure Gene and the widow Bryant are going to become better acquainted.
The plot is overly complicated, and some of it does not ring true.
Norman has used hypodermic syringes twice daily to inject himself, but in the critical instance when he kills Paul, he breaks the needle. Then he takes the broken needle back to his flat, where the police find it, tying him conclusively to the murder.
The police searched Norman’s flat, and they found a case of hypodermic needles. One needle was missing its tip and was a match for the murder weapon. This raises some questions. Norman had a supply of needles at his flat. How come he happened to be carrying one around with him when everybody went to the Bryant flat on the fatal night?
Gene arrives in England with a pistol, and he registers it. Why? He figures the Huns are going to restart the war? The pistol has no position in real life, being introduced only to agitate the plot.
The police find Gene’s pistol, and Gates hands it over to Gene. Really? Isn’t that pistol now a piece of evidence in a crime investigation? By now the pistol is loaded. Previously Gene kept the bullets separate. Why is a police inspector handing a civilian a loaded pistol?
Gene shows up at the pier with the loaded pistol. The police relieve him of it forthwith, but I don’t see them impounding it and yanking Gene’s permit, forthwith.
In total, the acting is credible, and the plot, a bit lame, does work.—provided you war willing to accept a variety or premises.