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Portrait of Alison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Portrait of Alison
Postmark for Danger poster.jpg
Directed byGuy Green
Written byGuy Green
Ken Hughes
Based onstory by Francis Durbridge
Produced byFrank Godwin
Tony Owen
StarringTerry Moore
Robert Beatty
William Sylvester
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byPeter Taylor
Music byJohn Veale
Insignia Films
Distributed byAnglo-Amalgamated
RKO Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 18 January 1956 (1956-01-18) (US)[1]
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Portrait of Alison is a 1956 British atmospheric crime film directed by Guy Green. It was based on a BBC television series Portrait of Alison which aired the same year.[2] [3]

In the United States the film was released as Postmark for Danger.[4]

It was also known as Alison.[5]


The film opens with a car plunging over a cliff in Italy. The killed driver is newspaperman Lewis Forrester. The woman with him is supposedly Alison Ford, an actress.

In London Lewis's brother, Tim, is an artist. He is painting his favourite model Jill for a beer advert. She tells him that she is giving up her party life to marry Carmichael. However, she is kissing Tim passionately when a police inspector arrives.

Tim gets a strange commission, from a Mr Smith, to paint his dead daughter, the car crash victim. He gives him a photo to work from and a beautiful blue dress to be in the picture. Jill sees the dress and admires it and the portrait of Alison. She goes to meet her fiance for lunch but forgets a box she was to give him.

However, Jill is found dead in Tim's flat wearing the blue dress. The face on the portrait has been erased and the photo on which it was based has disappeared. The police arrive and ask if they can open the box. It contains an empty bottle of Chianti with a British label: Nightingale & Son - a firm that does not exist. The chianti bottle is sketched in the corner of a postcard from Rome sent to Tim from Lewis. Tim is a prime suspect in the murder.

Meanwhile we see Alison is not dead as she is seen walking around London (the portrait is used as a device to allow the viewer to know what she looks like). She appears at Tim's door and explains that the woman killed in the car crash was a hitchhiker but everyone presumed it was her. She is involved in an international diamond smuggling deal.

Tim invites the police to prove his point but Alison has disappeared. She has gone to see her father in a hotel. He seems involved in the diamond smuggling.

Alison is trying to solve what was in truth a murder to shut the newspaper man up, not an accident. She solicits the help of Forrester's brother, Tim, an artist. Then, as the story unfolds, a number of mysterious, unsolved questions keep emerging, along with two more murders and a suicide. And before it's over it has been learned that an international ring of diamond thieves is at the bottom of everything, that no less than four of the major characters are part of it, and that an independent blackmailer is at work as well.

In the end Tim and Alison are alone. He asks if she can stay with him until he completes her portrait. She asks how long this will take. When he answers all my life she says that's fine.



The film was based on a TV series, Portrait of Alison.[6]

Film rights were bought by Tony Owen, the husband of Donna Reed who set up a film making operation in England. Ken Hughes co wrote the script.[7]

They borrowed Terry Moore from 20th Century Fox to star. Filming began in April 1955.[8]

In May 1955 RKO agreed to distribute in the US.[9]


"The story is moderately eventful" said the Monthly Film Bulletin.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Postmark for Danger: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  2. ^ PORTRAIT OF ALISON (Anglo-Amalgamated) Picture Show; London Vol. 65, Iss. 1709, (Dec 31, 1955): 10.
  3. ^ Portrait of ALISON Picture Show; London Vol. 65, Iss. 1709, (Dec 31, 1955): 8.
  4. ^ Synopsis by Hal Erickson (18 January 1956). "Postmark for Danger (1956) - Guy Green | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  5. ^ 2 STUDIOS ACQUIRE STORIES FOR FILMS: Paramount Lists French and U. S. Works -- Universal to Do 'Quantez,' Western By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times28 Oct 1955: 22.
  6. ^ "Portrait of Alison: Episode 1". 16 February 1955. p. 32 – via BBC Genome.
  7. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 November 2020). "Ken Hughes Forgotten Auteur". Filmink.
  8. ^ Louella Parsons: Warners Scores Beat With Dr. Salk Story The Washington Post and Times Herald 21 Apr 1955: 32.
  9. ^ McCambridge in 'Giant;' Harvey, Conte Deals Set Los Angeles Times 18 May 1955: A7.
  10. ^ PORTRAIT OF ALISON Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 23, Iss. 264, (Jan 1, 1956): 9.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 June 2021, at 14:58
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