The Vicious Circle

The Vicious Circle
In this 1957 thriller, all of the elements of suspense are all present and accounted for. In fact, they are not only accounted for, they’re as perfectly polished as a brass candlestick that will most likely be used as a blunt instrument one day.

An ordinary man – who in this case happens to be an unassuming Harley Street doctor – becomes Scotland Yard’s chief suspect in a murder. All because he consented to do a simple favor for a friend.

Next time, he’ll think twice about saying yes. That is, if there is a next time.

Dr. Howard Latimer leads a very quiet life. When a reporter arrives to do a profile on a medical article the doctor wrote, Latimer turns him down. He isn’t interested in publicity or talking to the press. All he is interested in is his practice and his beautiful fiancé who gets put out when he works late at the clinic – which reminds him, he has a concert date with her and must be off or it’s the cold shoulder again.

But modern technology intervenes in the form of a phone call from his American movie-mogul friend Charles Kaufman. Kaufman is in a jam. He is supposed to meet an actress at the London airport, except his flight was diverted to Scotland. If the good doctor could pick up the lady for him and drop her at her hotel, he would be most grateful.

Latimer is now going to be very late and consequently in the dog house – again. But, the reporter offers to help the doctor out. He’ll drive Latimer to the airport and they can pick up the actress together, then he’ll drop the doc at the concert. The reporter will deliver the lovely actress to her hotel and maybe the actress will give him a scoop.

The next evening, the doctor comes home to find the actress in his apartment – quite dead from a bonk on the head by a heavy object.

He reports it all to the authorities like the upstanding citizen that he is. He has no idea how the woman ended up in his apartment nor why she was killed. Since he isn’t guilty, he’s got nothing to hide and nothing to worry about. Besides, his story can be corroborated by more than one witness.

Except his story cannot be corroborated. His friend Kaufman is in New York and never made a phone call. His fiancé claims Latimer was at the clinic, not the airport. The reporter has vanished, but a dead body found in the park fits his description. Found beside the dead man’s body: a candlestick.

Add a mysterious man named Brady who has a photo that can exonerate Latimer…but first, Latimer must do him a favor.

Seems the good doctor should just learn to say no.

The film stars many recognizable names such as John Mills, Lionel Jeffries, and Wilfrid Hyde-White, to name a few.

The Vicious Circle was originally a television serial entitled My Friend Charles, written by prolific suspense novelist Francis Durbridge. It was produced as a feature film in 1957 in England and was released in the United States under the title The Circle in 1959.

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