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The Last Page
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTerence Fisher
Written byFrederick Knott
Based onthe play "The Last Page" by James Hadley Chase
Produced byAnthony Hinds
StarringGeorge Brent
Marguerite Chapman
Diana Dors
CinematographyWalter J. Harvey
Edited byMaurice Rootes
Music byFrank Spencer
Distributed byLippert Pictures (USA)
Exclusive Films (UK)
Release date
25 January 1952
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Last Page, released in the United States as Man Bait, is a 1952 British film noir directed by Terence Fisher, starring George Brent, Marguerite Chapman and Diana Dors.[1][2] The film was also known as Murder in Safety and Blonde Blackmail.

The film is notable for being the first Hammer film directed by Fisher, who later played a critical role in the company's immensely successful horror film cycle.

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Ruby Bruce, an attractive young bookstore clerk, catches small-time crook Jeff Hart trying to steal a rare book. Instead of turning him in, she accepts a date with him. Working late one day, Ruby initiates a kiss with the bookstore manager Harman, who responds for a moment, then stops, horrified at his behaviour. She tells Hart, who persuades Ruby to blackmail Harman, hitting her to bruise her arm, saying she can pretend that Harman did it.

When Harman refuses to pay, Hart tells Ruby to write a letter to Harman's invalid wife, who dies from a heart attack when she gets out of bed to burn the letter. Harman tells Ruby that he knows the letter, was from her, and that she is responsible for his wife's death. A distraught Ruby tells Hart what has happened, and that she feels guilty about Mrs Harman's death. Hart tells her to demand the money from Harman, and that if she does not, she will be in trouble with the police, and he will deny that he had anything to do with it.

Frightened and desperate, Ruby asks Harman again for money, and he angrily gives her the £300 he and his wife had been on the point of using for treatment for her abroad. Hart catches Ruby hiding part of the money, kills her and hides her body in a packing case. Harman discovers Ruby's body and, thinking he will be accused, flees in panic. With the help of his secretary Stella he hunts for clues to the killer. Stella stumbles on Hart alone. He is about to kill her when Harman arrives just in time to save her. The police arrest Hart.



The Last Page was the first film made under a four-year production and distribution contract between Hammer and the US film distribution company Lippert Pictures. As in all of these films, the leading role was played by a well-known Hollywood actor supplied by Lippert to ensure familiarity with American audiences.[3]

Frederick Knott wrote the screenplay based on a play by James Hadley Chase.

Filming began on 9 July 1951.[4] It was the first of seven crime movies Terence Fisher would direct for Hammer.[5]

The opening credits read "Introducing Diana Dors" although she had made her debut in The Shop at Sly Corner (1946) and been in a number of other films.

Critical reception

Variety said: "First half of the footage is marked by a leisurely British tempo as director Terence Fisher rather methodically establishes the characters. However, latter half is better paced as plot becomes more melodramatic and general feeling gotten across is on the plus side. London locale also is on the favorable side."[6]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan wrote: ''Efficient crime yarn could have been even better without fading Hollywood stars.''[7]

Chibnall and McFarlane in The British 'B' Film call the film "an efficient melodrama of blackmail and murder."[8]

Leslie Halliwell called the film a "curious English mystery with American stars."[9]

Filmink said "the best thing about it is Dors’ performance: lonely, put-about, hungry for love, insecure. The movie is never as good once her character disappears, but is still definitely worth seeking out if you like your low-budget British noirs."[10]


  1. ^ "The Last Page (as Man Bait)". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  2. ^ The Last Page (Lippert-Exclusive), Picture Show; London Vol. 59, Iss. 1529, (Jul 19, 1952): 10.
  3. ^ Lyons, Arthur (2000). Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir!. Da Capo Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-306-80996-5.
  4. ^ Schallert, E. (29 June 1951). "Drama". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 166207463.
  5. ^ Spicer, Andrew (2005). "Creativity and the "B" Feature: Terence Fisher's Crime Films". Internet Archive.
  6. ^ "The Lsst Page". Variety. 185: 12. January 1959.
  7. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 336. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.
  8. ^ Chibnall, Steve; McFarlane, Brian (2009). The British 'B' Film. London: BFI/Bloomsbury. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-8445-7319-6.
  9. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 1094. ISBN 0-586-08894-6.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 October 2023, at 13:45
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