Chase a Crooked Shadow

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Chase a Crooked Shadow
Chase a Crooked Shadow.jpg
Directed by Michael Anderson
Produced by
Written by
  • David D. Osborn
  • Charles Sinclair
Narrated by Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Music by Mátyás Seiber
Cinematography Erwin Hillier
Edited by Gordon Pilkington
Distributed by Associated British-Pathé (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Release date
  • 16 January 1958 (1958-01-16)
(premiere, London)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Chase a Crooked Shadow (a.k.a. Sleep No More) is a 1958 British suspense film starring Richard Todd, Anne Baxter and Herbert Lom. Michael Anderson directed Chase a Crooked Shadow, the first film produced by Associated Dragon Films, a business venture of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.


In her family's Spanish villa, Kimberly Prescott (Baxter), a young South African heiress of a diamond company, is grieving after her father's recent suicide, when she is taken aback by the arrival of a man (Todd) claiming to be her brother Ward, believed to have died in a car accident a few months ago. Kimberly has trouble convincing her friends and family and the local police inspector (Lom) that a complete stranger has taken her deceased brother's identity and appears to know events of their shared childhood. Finally, there is a dramatic twist in the tale.



The film was originally known as The Prescott Affair. The story was optioned by Dragon Films which belonged to the team of heiress Pamela Woolworth (niece of F.W. Woolworth) and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. who had made The Silken Affair. Dragon developed the story and script, assigning it to two TV writers David Osborn and Charles Sinclair. Roy Kellino originally was attached to produce and direct.[1] David Niven was the first male star announced.[2]

Dragon obtained finance from the Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) who had a releasing arrangement with Warner Bros. The production company became known as Associated Dragon.[3] ABPC's involvement saw director Michael Anderson and star Richard Todd come on to the project.[4] The title was changed to Sleep No More, then Chase a Crooked Shadow and filming started in May 1957.[5] Fairbanks Jr. said he was pressured to make a cameo in the film but refused.[6] Some of the exteriors were shot in the Palafrugel on the Costa Brava.[7] The guitar music that forms a significant part of the soundtrack is played by Julian Bream.


Chase a Crooked Shadow received mixed reviews. Bosley Crowther in his review for The New York Times considered the plot as overly complex and torturous but that the melodrama was "nothing amazing, and neither is this film. It's just a moderately well-done program picture, endowed with a couple of standard thrills".[8]

Leonard Maltin awarded the film three out of four stars, calling it an "exciting, Hitchcock-like melodrama".[9]


Chase a Crooked Shadow was remade in India a few times, as the Bengali-language film Sesh Anka (1963), the Tamil-language film Puthiya Paravai (1964), the Hindi-language film Dhuan (1981), and the Malayalam-language film Charithram (1989) [10]



  1. ^ Schallert, Edwin. "Grant, Tierney ideal 'Prescott Affair' duo; Lyceum plan on slate." Los Angeles Times, 8 October 1956, p. C11.
  2. ^ Schallert, Edwin. "Niven films multiply in Europe; John Agar career booming anew." Los Angeles Times, 29 October 1956, p. C11,
  3. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. "New film group set up in London: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and a member of the Woolworth family to make movies; R.K.G. publicity staff cut." The New York Times, 24 January 1957, p. 30.
  4. ^ Watts, Stephen. "Current action on the British film front: Acclaim new outfit showcase. The New York Times, 18 August 1957, p. X5.
  5. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. "Anne Baxter gets melodrama role: Actress to co-star in film of 'Sleep No More,' which will be made in Europe." The New York Times, 4 May 1957, p. 25.
  6. ^ Bawden and Miller. 2016, p. 104.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin. "Bickford will oppose Ives in Peck feature; Fairbanks deal closed." Los Angeles Times, 9 July 1957, p. A9.
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Screen: New mystery; Anne Baxter in 'Chase a Crooked Shadow'." The New York Times, 25 March 1958. Retrieved: 23 July 2016.
  9. ^ Leonard Maltin (2015). Classic Movie Guide: From the Silent Era Through 1965. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-14-751682-4.
  10. ^ K Jha, Subhash. "Reema Kagti’s Aamir Khan starrer to be titled Dhuaan?", 16 September 2011. Retrieved: 23 July 2016.


  • Bawden, James and Ron Miller. Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood's Golden Era. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2016. ISBN 978-0-8131-6710-7.

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