Hangover Square - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hangover Square Reviews

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December 14, 2015
Gothic thriller (with overtones of noir) that doesn't harbor any real surprises but holds its own as a moody turn-of-the-century London tale. Laird Cregar stars as a composer who is experiencing blackouts from overwork that may also be leading him to murder those who get in his way. Bernard Herrmann wrote the concerto (and the popular songs) that Cregar supposedly wrote and their ominous chords contribute greatly to the film's dark atmosphere. Linda Darnell co-stars as the singer taking advantage of Cregar for her own ends and who leads him away from using his gifts for high (rather than low) art. George Sanders is also on hand as a crime doctor who suspects the truth. Pivotal scenes involve fire (a Guy Fawkes night bonfire and the final fatal last concerto performance), shot dramatically in high contrast. Solid fare for fans of 1940s cinema.
February 10, 2014
What starts as a mediocre B-movie gradually transforms into an over the top psychological drama. So nice to have classical music portrayed as "normal music" for a change, but don't worry; there's plenty of immoral music hall stuff too. Credible portrayals by Cregar, Sanders, & Darnell. Watch for an impeccable performance by Alan Napier too - I didn't recognize him as a dashing middle-aged father-of-the-fiance.
January 1, 2014
Any glaring issues with the film ('not even bothering with the accent' trope) are made up for by Cregar's awesome performance and the must-see final scene.
December 7, 2013
A very good film worth adding to your collection.
October 9, 2013
Cregar gave a staggering nightmarish performance.
August 1, 2012
A brilliant, sensitive performance from Laird Cregar as a psychologically troubled composer who suffers increasingly alarming lapses of memory. George Sanders is typically suave as the Scotland Yard doctor who tries to help him and Faye Marlowe is the kind girl across the square. The photography is dark and atmospheric and the use of fire in the bonfire scene and finale is splendid. Alan Napier is Marlowe's father a noted conductor.
½ June 3, 2012
First class period thriller with a superb score by Bernard Hermann. Laird Cregar is outstanding in his complex role as George Harvey Bone and Linda Darnell is fabulous as the ruthless Netta.
½ May 8, 2012
Astonishing opening scene and equally astonishing climax make this gothic noir a must see. Bernard Herrmann's piano concerto and beautiful photography from Joseph LaShelle provide a perfect backdrop. Some of the acting is a bit hammy at times, though Cregar manages to hold it together, and Darnell does admirably as a femme fatale.
½ May 3, 2012
Could be desribed as a mix between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Lodger, but this movie can definately stand on it's own merits. Laird Cregar is extremly convincing and creepy as the genuinly kind piano composer, with high moral standards, George Harvey Bone, who suffers from occasional memory loss.
Takes place in Hangover Square, London. Mr. Bone gets alarmed after having found a bloody dagger in his coat pocket, and just read in the newspaper about a nasty murder of an old antique dealer, that had occured the other night. So he contacts a psychiatrist (George Sanders) who investigates a bit further in the matter but cannot find any connection to the antique dealer murder.
Mr. Bone starts to date a show girl, (Linda Darnell) whom he falls in love with and writes songs to. But later, he'll find out that the girl, Netta Longdon is not really a girl a man like George should fall in love with, since she is the typical notorious heart-breaker who only wants some new songs written specially for her and her act.

What I love about this movie is the fact that it's so convincing, the characters are fully developed and Laird Cregar truely is one of the most talented actors from his time. The only reason why you aren't familiar with his name, is because he never had the chance to appear in that many movies (didn't have the Gary Cooper or Cary Grant looks, if you know what I mean) and died in young age.

But I'm telling you that this is the type of movie that for some strange reason has been forgotten (and I'm not even sure if it's ever been released on DVD), despite it's excellence.
It plays very much with the ideas and the theories of the human psyche, that was on the subject during the 1940s, so in a way it's rather typical for it's time. The repressed anger of the psychopath, and so on. What's more so special about it, is that it portrays is a very brilliant way the psychosis Mr. Bone suffers, and you can strongly feel the slow transformation the lead character makes (parallelly through his own eyes)...

The music score which the character plays on the piano (called Concerto Macabre), written by the genious movie composer Bernard Herrmann, belongs to my all-time favorite music scores.

Highly recommended! Belongs to my favorite movies of the 1940s!
½ April 23, 2012
George Bone (Cregar) is a rising composer whose career is really beginning to take off, especially when a famed conductor wants to use his concerto in a major concert. George, excited that his career is going somewhere, is excited by this opportunity, and immediately works on his piece. He's sidelined however, when manipulative and scheming lounge singer Netta (Darnell) decides to use her sexuality to have George write songs to help her career. He falls for her right away, while she sits and laughs with her pompous boyfriend. But soon George finds out, and what Netta doesn't know, is that George suffers from a split-personality disorder-- and just a loud noise could cause him to murder anyone. "Hangover Square" almost defines the word hidden gem. A success when it was released, the film has somehow faded over the years, and instead of being remembered as a top-notch thriller is instead thought of as Laird Cregar's last performance. The actor had been playing villainous roles, most likely due to his large physique, and for this film he wanted to be a 'romantic type' and crash dieted. His heart couldn't handle it, and this film was released two months after he died. All I can say, is as a 'goodbye performance', "Hangover Square" is just perfect for Cregar. The film starts as a highly paranoid suspense film, and gradually settles into what looks like a claustrophobic art-house thriller. And there's nothing wrong with that. For its short 77 minute run time, the film provides the B-movie thrills it begs for, and every aspect of it is simply superb. Brahm's direction is slick and stylish, Hermann's as usual chilling score makes the film even scarier, and Darnell's sleazy performance especially takes the film to new heights. If this had been a vehicle for lets say, Vincent Price, "Hangover Square" would be forgettable. But when it stars two of the '40's' most underrated actors, it instead turns into a thriller that should be more renowned today.
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2012
Laird Cregar's life may have been troubled and tragic but there's no denying his talent. Hangover Square works because Laird can seamlessly shift from charismatic leading man to ruthless killer and back again without the audience ever questioning the psychology or the motive. Good stuff.
½ November 21, 2011
Hangover Square is suspenseful period film. It is about a composer who finds his life poisoned by a music hall dancer and strange gaps in his memory. Laird Cregar and Linda Darnell give excellent performances. The screenplay is well written. John Brahm did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of suspense and drama.
½ September 25, 2011
George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar) is a celebrated Victorian-era composer on the verge of breaking into the ranks of high society. Under the tutelage of Sir Henry Chapman (Alan Napier) and his adoring daughter Barbara (Faye Marlowe), Bone seemingly has everything a young artist could want. Unfortunately, he's also afflicted with a burden all meteoric creative types possess: a mental disorder, the composer's taking the form of blackouts which seemingly give way to violent urges.

A further complication manifests in Netta (Linda Darnell), a conniving, cruel woman who is the subject of George's unrequited affections. Netta soon becomes the subject of Bone's brutal obsessions, provoked by exposure to loud, unpleasant noises.

"Hangover Square" is a competent thriller, effectively evoking a foggy, claustrophobic London; one can almost see Jack the Ripper stalking the same streets Bone does when struck by his dark periods. The problem, unfortunately, rests on an approach to the story. Despite a fine performance by Cregar, very little of his horror makes it to the screen. Director John Brahm focuses on the effects of Bone's disorder more than what it's like for the sufferer, meaning murder and the mayhem it causes take center stage rather than the psychological turmoil the protagonist experiences.

A better director could have hit pay dirt with such a story. In the same year, Alfred Hitchcock began his intense interest in psychoanalysis and its application to drama with "Spellbound." Though by no means a perfect picture, "Spellbound" set the stage for fruitful psychological thrillers, including "Vertigo" and "Psycho." Who knows what Hitchcock could have done with this intriguing source material ....
August 28, 2011
I love that ending. It makes it even more powerful when you learn what happened to Laird Cregar in real life. Nuts flick!
August 5, 2010
Lots of silly psychological explanations going on, but the actual depiction of fugue state is done well. With Herrmann's flaring score, fogging of the lens to depict intrusive sound waves, freeze frames, and jump cuts, it truly is a jarringly effective experience. It's noir with a gothic horror sensibility, with Marlowe playing up her gold-digging femme fatale part to great lengths. The cinematography and score merge wonderfully, and Cregar's emotive close-ups work well to convey desperation and loss of self.
July 2, 2010
A mild-mannered composer in turn-of-the-century London has blackouts, during which he commits murderous acts. It's a follow-up to The Lodger -- same director, writer, producer, star and setting, and similar subject matter. But there are some differences. Laird Cregar (in his final performance before his tragic end) here is less sinister, but a more nuanced character. The tone is closer to melodrama and noir than thriller/horror. The story doesn't seem to allow for as much gloomy, gothic atmosphere, although there are some remarkably evocative sequences, particularly the Guy Fawkes bonfire scene. The main drawback is that the film is rather slow-moving, at least for the first half. But it has a lot going for it, especially Herrmann's magnificent score, which plays a crucial role to the plot. Also a fun role for Linda Darnell as the manipulative femme fatale.
June 23, 2010
good drama about a composer who has mysterious blackouts/losing time.
March 29, 2010
A fantastic film in every way. The film follows a composer whom suffers mental lapses where he essentially murders people. He falls for a music hall performer whom uses him for his music. Things get interesting as the blackouts appear to increase. Thsis is one of the few movies I have ever seen that uses music to perfection. The ending of this film is the perfect mix of Image and Sound. Laird Cregar is so good in this film as the composer. Its kinda like he was born to play the role. I guess the film is a gothic noir of sorts. GREAT!
½ December 12, 2009
J'ai bien aime, quoique je trouve "The Lodger" superieur... :)
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2009
Murduring for music..good enuff motive..lol.
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