Film Review: It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958) directed by Ladislao Vajda

El cebo (1958) PosterIt Happened in Broad Daylight originally titled Es geschah am hellichten Tag is a thriller directed by Ladislao Vadja, co-produced by West Germany, Switzerland and Spain and starring Heinz Rühmann, Michel Simon and Gert Fröbe. The original screenplay was written by Swiss playwright and novelist Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Friedrich Dürrenmatt wasn’t happy to see the detective proven successful at the end the story, and he wrote the novel Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman (The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel) from the previous film script. It was released in Madrid on 12 February 1959 under the title El cebo.

If truth be told, El cebo, the name by which I knew this film, struck me the first time I saw it. Probably because I was just ten or eleven years old. The Franco regime censorship considered this film suitable for all audiences. And it scared me to death. Afterwards, I should have seen it several times on television. Although I’ve only realised recently that the script was written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. 

The film, correctly, was shot in black and white, with an aesthetic taken from the German Expressionism. More precisely, it has reminded me a lot of M (1931) by Fritz Lang. Pity that the music in this film falls short in comparison with the quality set by M. And despite the fact that the ending of the film is not the one envisaged by Dürrenmatt, I consider it an acceptable film, and has some interesting points. It provides a documented picture of that time period and, probably, is one of the first films dealing with the theme of child abuse.  

In my view It’s not the masterpiece regarded by some film critics but, anyway, it’s a quite an interesting movie.

By the way I also managed to watch last night The Pledge (2001) directed by Sean Penn, but in my view, as a film is worthless. 

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