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Jigsaw (1962 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Jigsaw" (1962).jpg
Directed byVal Guest
Produced byVal Guest
Screenplay byVal Guest
Based ona novel by Hillary Waugh
StarringJack Warner
Ronald Lewis
Yolande Donlan
Michael Goodliffe
John Le Mesurier
CinematographyArthur Grant
Edited byBill Lenny
Distributed byBrittania Films (UK)
Beverly Pictures (USA)
Release date
21 August 1962
Running time
107 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

Jigsaw is a 1962 black and white British crime drama film written and directed by Val Guest, and starring Jack Warner and Ronald Lewis. It is based on the police procedural novel Sleep Long, My Love by Hillary Waugh,[1] with the setting changed from the fictional small town of Stockford, Connecticut,[n 1] to Brighton, Sussex, while retaining the names and basic natures of its two police protagonists and most of the other characters. It was filmed with the full cooperation of the Brighton Borough Police, which was under the shadow of a major corruption scandal, and the East Sussex Constabulary.[n 2]


A woman is found partially dismembered in Saltdean, near Brighton. Two local detectives, following up a simple burglary of an estate agent's office, discover the body and take on the investigation of the death. The dead woman cannot be identified but they initially think she is called Jean Sherman. A suitcase with the initials JS is left at the scene. The main suspect is an unidentified man who has used the false identity of John Campbell to rent the house in which the woman was found. The detectives methodically develop and follow up leads to identify both people, mostly in Brighton, but also further afield in Lewes and Greenwich.

DI Fellows tracks down Jean Sherman and tricks her into giving him a name and address in order to get her handwriting, which proves her own name and address was written by her and found on the victim. Flashback scenes in her story specifically exclude the viewer from seeing the man John Campbell. Miss Sherman admits a one night stand with Campbell.

One lead appears to identify the dead woman, but their follow-up reveals that the name is that of a woman who was at the house but is still living. They track down and arrest a suspect described by several persons as the man who occupied the house, but the case takes an unexpected turn when he admits that he was there but denies any involvement.

After the dead woman is positively identified the veteran inspector leading the case develops a "wild idea" about the identity of another suspect, then orders a standard procedure that confirms his theory in a non-standard fashion. This suspect admits knowledge of the death but his contention that it was accidental appears to be unshakeable until the detectives realise that he has tripped himself up in a crucial detail.[2]


Critical response

Britmovie wrote that Jigsaw is "a chilling murder mystery," adding that, "at 107 minutes, the film is long but never tiresome";[3] while The Guardian described the film as "one of the finest postwar British crime movies and possibly the best depiction of the seaside town on film. Caught in its seedy corruption, Brighton emerges as a far cry from the bumbling world with which (Val) Guest had until then been associated."

The Duke of Edinburgh spoke to the film director. He thought working on a murder mystery with the Brighton police would be bloody boring". [4]


  1. ^ The fictional Stockford is also located in a fictional part of Connecticut, 12 miles north of Stamford, a location actually in New York state.
  2. ^ The Brighton Borough Police and the East Sussex Constabulary were both merged into the new Sussex Constabulary under the Police Act 1964.
  1. ^ "Jigsaw". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Jigsaw (1962) - Overview". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Jigsaw 1962 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  4. ^ Christopher Hawtree. "Obituary: Val Guest". the Guardian.

The film was shot in CinemaScope, but this is uncredited.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 April 2021, at 13:06
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