Rent Time Without Pity (1957)

3.5 of 5 from 78 ratings
1h 25min
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David Graham (Michael Redgrave) is an alcoholic father who arrives in London after his release from an American sanatorium. His son has been sentenced to hang the next morning for murder, and Graham's lawyer, (Peter Cushing), stresses that they have just twenty-four hours to save him. Convinced of his innocence, Graham tries to unravel the twisted connections that his son had with the Stanford family and the murdered girl. But Graham's unwelcome interference drives the Stanfords apart and Robert Stanford (Leo McKern) forbids his wife (Ann Todd) from helping.
As time ticks away and a last minute reprieve fails, Graham must battle his alcoholism, Robert Stanford and the entire British legal system if he is to save his son from the gallows.
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John Arnold, Anthony Simmons
Ben Barzman, Emlyn Williams
Odeon Entertainment
Classics, Drama, Thrillers
Release Date:
Run Time:
85 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 0 (All)
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
  • Crime Notes Booklet
  • Best of British Trailers
Release Date:
Run Time:
89 minutes
English LPCM Mono
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
  • The John Player Lecture with Joseph Losey (1973, 80 mins): the celebrated filmmaker in conversation with film critic Dilys Powell at London's National Film Theatre
  • New and exclusive audio commentary with Neil Sinyard, co-author of British Cinema in the 1950's: A Celebration
  • The Sins of the Father (2019, 16 mins): filmmaker Gavrik Losey, son of Joseph Losey, discusses 'Time Without Pity'
  • Horlicks: Steven Turner (1960, 1 min): vintage commercial for the malted milk drink, directed by Joseph Losey
  • World premiere on Blu-ray

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Reviews (3) of Time Without Pity

Alarming. - Time Without Pity review by NC

Spoiler Alert

At his best, ('The Servant', 'Accident'), Joseph Losey could hold his own with most of the giants of world cinema. 'Time Without Pity' came nearly ten years after his first feature, but can be seen as his first film of real quality. Of the ten which came before only 'The Sleeping Tiger', with Dirk Bogarde, stands out.

Images fragmented and multiplied in mirrors. People shouting, hysterical, confused. We are looking through the eyes of an alcoholic, with a mind half-dissolved by drink, who seems to have lost the ability to be coherent or logical, or to see things in that way. But when David Graham, fresh out of a sanatorium, has just twenty-four hours to save his son's life, coherence and logic are exactly what he needs.

Losey takes it at a delirious tempo: so many clocks on walls, ticking away, faces coming and going, so many of them offering drinks, one of them in a room full of alarm clocks, every time one of them goes off it's a reminder that time is almost up. People keep mentioning the time of appointments, the time they were doing something or other, that there isn't enough time, what will happen in time, that time is running out.

A blistering cast is the icing on an already rich cake. Michael Redgrave quite often played insular characters ('The Browning Version', 'Thunder Rock'), teetering on the edge of sanity ('Uncle Vanya'), or who had actually fallen over the edge ('Dead Of Night'). In this mood, few actors could match him. There is a raft of great names in support: Leo McKern, Ann Todd, Peter Cushing, Paul Daneman, Alec McCowen, Renee Houston, Lois Maxwell, Joan Plowright, Peter Copley, Ernest Clark....Gracious Me!

There is perhaps a touch of the overly dramatic every now and again, but this is still a very fine film, and one of the highlights of the Losey canon.

5 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

Gripping - Time Without Pity review by sb

Spoiler Alert

FILM & REVIEW Aka Time Without Pity - Early British Film from Joseph Losey after his blacklisted Hollywood exile. It’s a gripping tale of Graham (Redgrave) a recovering alcoholic who has been in a sanatorium in Canada and has only just discovered that his son Alec (Mcowen) has been convicted of murder and is to be hanged. He flies over but is told by the lawyer (Cushing) that it’s hopeless and even his own son wants nothing to do with his father and just wants it to be over. Graham discovers that Alec was closely involved with the Stanford family ruled by the tyrannical and permanently furious father (Mckern) who makes his wife (Todd) and adopted son’ s life miserable. Can Graham unravel what really happened and save his son’s life as the strain has got him back on the bottle big time. It’s interesting that the identity of the killer is revealed in the pre- title scene so it’s not a whodunnit as can the various lies all the characters tell (for different reasons) be unravelled in time. It’s a powerful attack on the then still active capital punishment with terrific performances all round (look out for Lois Maxwell in a key scene)with a great use of clocks in almost scene as the countdown to the hangman draws ever closer - terrific stuff….4/5

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Interesting Losey. - Time Without Pity review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Minor but engaging film noir loosely adapted from Emlyn Williams' unsuccessful stage play. The premise is familiar from many postwar British thrillers; a desperate arrival at Heathrow has 24 hours to save an innocent man from the gallows. But Joseph Losey lifts it above the ordinary with some visual style and multiple thematic layers.

Michael Redgrave is an alcoholic novelist who was in detox while his son was tried for the murder of his unfaithful girlfriend. But the youngster resents his old man and seems to have accepted his fate. And while the writer investigates, he must deal with the withdrawal symptoms that trigger hallucination and memory loss.

The father searches for redemption to make good on years of drunken neglect, and Redgrave is poignant in a characteristic portrayal of a weak, traumatised man. There is also vilification of the death penalty, and Losey, in exile from McCarthyism, takes care to disapprove of every facet of the English establishment. Particularly the hostile capitalist.

Having seen this plot repurposed repeatedly, perhaps Losey's most impressive achievement is to tell the story so well. Not just coherently, but to create tension out of such commonplace situations. The clocks! Renee Houston catches the eye in a small role as a boozy freeloader. It's not peak Losey, but still an interesting British noir.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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