The Long Arm (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Long Arm
British film poster
Directed by Charles Frend
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by Robert Barr
Janet Green
Starring Jack Hawkins
Music by Gebrend Schurmann
Cinematography Gordon Dines
Editing by Gordon Stone
Distributed by Ealing Studios
Release dates
  • June 1956 (1956-06)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Long Arm is a 1956 British crime film starring Jack Hawkins, directed by Charles Frend and produced by Michael Balcon. In the US it's known as The Third Key.


When police respond to a burglar alarm they find nothing amiss after meeting the nightwatchman and searching the premises. The next day the safe is found to have been emptied, using a key, and the nightwatchman a fraud. Supt Tom Halliday (Jack Hawkins) and his new Detective Sargeant, Ward (John Stratten) start to investigate the crime.

Halliday deduces that the false nightwatchman has committed 14 safe-breaking jobs across the country - all against the same type of safe, all with keys. Visiting the safe maker, Halliday gets the names of all the staff, but they are all cleared. Shortly after another safe is cracked and a bystander is run over as the burglar gets into a getaway car. The victim manages to pass limited information to the police before dying. The hit-and-run vehicle is found in a scrap yard. The car had been stolen from a Mrs Elliot but inside they find a newspaper that leads them to a garage in north Wales and a certain Mr Gilson - a deceased former employee of the safe maker.

Halliday finds there are 28 further safes in London. He also finds out that Gilson is being tipped off which safes have a lot of cash in them by an insurance agent. The police arrange with the owner of a safe in the Festival Hall to let the insurance agent know about gala nights that generate a lot of cash. After tailing the insurance agent, the police find that he is meeting Mrs Elliot, and then get her positively identified as Mrs Gilson - the wife of the apparently dead safe maker.

Halliday and Ward then lie in wait for the safe burglar at the Festival Hall, and catch him in the act. As they wait for a police car outside, Mrs Gilson arrives in a sports car. Halliday jumps on the bonnet and breaks the windscreen as Ward chases down Gilson on foot. Both are caught and arrested.



At the 6th Berlin International Film Festival it won the Silver Bear for an Outstanding Single Achievement award.[1]


  1. ^ "6th Berlin International Film Festival: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2009-12-27. 

External links[edit]