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


CH – DE – ES / 95 minutes / b&w / Praesens-Film (in association with) Central Cinema Company Film (CCC) (as CCC-Film) and Chamartín Producciones y Distribuciones (as Chamartín S.A.) Dir: Ladislao Vajda Pro: Lazar Wechsler Scr: Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Hans Jacoby and Ladislao Vajda, based on a story by Friedrich Dürrenmatt Cine: Heinrich Gärtner Mus: Bruno Canfora Ed: Hermann Haller, Julio Peña amón Quadreny Cast: Heinz Rühmann, Sigfrit Steiner, Siegfried Lowitz, Michel Simon, Heinrich Gretler, Gert Fröbe, Berta Drews, Ewald Balser, María Rosa Salgado Release Date: 9 June 1958 (West Germany) 11 July 1958 (Switzerland) 12 February 1959 (Spain) Original title: Es geschah am hellichten Tag Spanish title: El cebo IMDb rating: 7.9

elcebocartel Synopsis: A girl is found murdered in the woods of a small Swiss village. Immediately all suspicion falls over the old peddler who found the body. Only commissioner Mattei has doubt of his guilt but, recently retired, he leaves the case in the hands of a colleague. At the airport, when his plane is about to take off, Mattei recalls some details mentioned by school children and decides to postpone his trip and investigate the case on his own.

Last night Begoña and I had the opportunity to watch on TV2 for the umpteenth time El cebo, directed by Ladislao Vajda, a film that I have reviewed here. A film unjustly forgotten in my view, although without being the masterpiece that some critics had led us to believe. It is a good exponent of European film noir.

It is worth noting that Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote the screenplay, together with Hans Jacoby and Ladislao Vajda. while he was giving novel form to the story  He finished the novel once the film was completed, and it was published under the title Das Versprechen (The Pledge). The ending of the novel is different and has a much bleaker tone. You can see my review here.

4 thoughts on “Film notes: It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958) directed by Ladislao Vajda

  1. Interesting comments, Jose Ignacio.

    I thought it was more the case that Dürrenmatt wrote the novel/novella because he was dissatisfied with the way the movie had panned out, particularly with the ending the producers had imposed upon it.

  2. Very curious about seeing this again as I think i did catch it, once upon a time – having read the book and seen the later US adaptation more recently, I am certainly primed! Thanks Jose Ignacio

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