Hangover Square (1945) Murdering Maundering Madman Is Musical Genius

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Linda Darnell film noir movie poster

With no messing about, this film jumps straight into a POV murder. First a stab with a dagger then a double tap with a gas lamp. The victim isn’t just gonna die, he’s gonna burn too! In the first of a series of shocking and macabre death scenes Hangover Square really grabs your attention. I love it when a movie gamble pays off. Went into this film really for it’s short runtime. Not the ideal way to pick a film, I know. Had way too many late nights and the thought that if I ain’t digging it I’ll turn it off and get myself an early night. Haha no chance. I was hooked and instantly invested in the plight of George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar), right from that first hard hitting opening scene.


Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar holding dagger knife noir

George is a giant of a man. Wandering through the streets of Edwardian London in a daze. He looks lost and confused, innocent even. Look closer and you can see a drip of blood on his head. One thing we know from that first brutal murder is that this here man mountain is a killer. It’s no secret. George has a rare amnesia condition that is randomly brought on by certain loud, unexpected noises. When activated, George becomes a murdering maundering madman and loses up to a whole evening transfixed in this state. On waking he recalls nothing of his ways but he’s aware of his condition, declaring his worries to Dr. Allan Middleton (George Sanders) who gives George the all clear.

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Faye Marlowe George Sanders

Barbara Chapman – “George has been so depressed about his lapses, are they really dangerous?”
Dr. Allan Middleton – “When he goes into one of his moods his subconscious mind has control. There’s nothing especially dangerous about that but if his condition at the time is aggravated by excessive concentration he’ll have an urge to destroy anything that stands in his way.”

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Faye Marlowe

Thing is George is a wonderful caring man and a genius composer with a gift for writing piano concertos. George is also a big lummox and a total doofus! With adoring Barbara Chapman (Faye Marlowe) doting after him and her father, Sir Henry Chapman (Alan Napier) ready to push George’s career into the limelight, George has it all! Until, that is, the darn sexy, all singing, all dancing club floozie, Netta Longdon (Linda Darnell) flashes her eyelashes at him. You guessed it, Netta is our naughty femme fatale.

Hangover Square (1945) Linda Darnell saucy stockings and pants film noir movieHangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Linda Darnell film noir piano singing

With the addition of George’s friend Mickey (Michael Dyne) and the dashing Eddie Carstairs (Glenn Langan) and not forgetting a siamese cat and a friendly man sitting down a hole. We have all our players on the table, what could possibly be about to happen in this film? Well I can tell you there’s some really shocking scenes that will have you gasping at the screen, “This was made in 1945! surely you can’t do that?

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar crazy eyed look turning mad

Things I’ve learnt From This Film

  • The tragic story of Laird Cregar broke my heart. I didn’t realise that Hangover Square was his last film before he died and even more shocked to learn he was only 31! He looks so much older. With his hulking size he was always destined to be the villain but he yearned to be more of a romantic leading man. Determined to lose weight he went on a crash diet which included amphetamines. With all the strain on his system he underwent surgery for severe stomach problems and unfortunately a few days later died of a heart attack. It’s nice to hear that Vincent Price delivered Laird’s eulogy at his funeral.
  • The two other films from Laird Cregar that I’ve seen are I Wake Up Screaming with Betty Grable and Victor Mature and This Gun For Hire with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. He was fantastic and very memorable in both. I have his penultimate film The Lodger ready to watch very soon and am very much looking forward to it.
  • Well I investigated the Indian Thuggee knot cord after! Yes an eye opener.
  • Directed by John Brahm who I see would later go off into TV heaven directing multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour to name just a small few.
  • Hangover Square is based on a 1941 novel of the same name by English playwright Patrick Hamilton. He had written the play that Alfred Hitchcock would later make called Rope.
  • Linda Darnell is excellent and feisty alongside Sidney Poitier in the superb No Way Out which I reviewed last year and it comes very recommended.
  • Was traffic to learn that Linda Darnell also died very young at the age of 41 in a house fire.
  • Hangover Square is available in excellent quality to stream on youtube at the time of writing here.
Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Linda Darnell publicity promo photo shot film noir

A sweet publicity promo still.

Hangover Square is an entertaining dark edged film. You are there with George throughout his plight. Yeah he might get a little carried away when he’s in his “out of his mind” state but you still care for the big man. Netta on the other hand is just so darn sexy but you hiss and boo at her all the same. Like I say above, this was an unexpected surprise and I really enjoyed it. One I would definitely recommend if you haven’t seen it. Let me know if do or if you have.

Have fun with movies… Mikey Wolf

12 thoughts on “Hangover Square (1945) Murdering Maundering Madman Is Musical Genius

  1. Damn you, Mikey! There I was, enjoying your review and thinking I’d really like to see this movie, when I saw your link to it on YouTube, and went there to download it. TWO HOURS later, after downloading that film and NINETEEN others I happened upon, I’m finally getting back to your post!

    But seriously, this sounds like a good one! And I don’t know if you noticed, but that guy’s page where you found ‘Hangover Street’ also has a lot of noir films available, and it looks like most are in HD; I grabbed myself a bunch, plus a few others that looked interesting (I’ve never seen ‘Black Moon Rising’, and it’s HD as well!). If you have a moment, check out the first 47 seconds of ‘Female Jungle’…good lord, it was awesome…I downloaded it immediately!

    Also…I’d never heard that story about Laird Cregar…sad indeed. But here’s something I remember reading years ago: Linda Darnell died when she fell asleep while smoking in bed, watching one of her movies. If it’s true, quite a strange and unfortunate way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There I was thinking “Just over a month late on this reply? Actually Mikey you doing alright! Not too bad” Then notice the 2019! Ooooops one year, one month and some change. Sorry Todd. Though I do think we talked about the YT site you found those goodies on.
      But I can’t remember “Female Jungle” and it’s wasn’t on my to watch one day soon list. Just watched the beginning. Now that definitely looks like one of our films. esp with that sweet runtime. Pushing it to the top list.
      I had just stumbled across the missed message as I linked this film to another Laird Cregar film. I let out a little YIKES when I noticed. Still this will be a nice surprise comment reply you’ll have to rack your brains to remember what the shit is that wolf-thing going on about! LOL

      I wonder how many of those 20 odd films you found you managed to see?

      Hey Todd hope you holding up alright? Been on lock down or working? I’m back next week. Boo. I guess more excuse to drink more this week I guess! Looks side to side. Joking aside I do hope you good bro?


      • Ha, it did throw me for a second…”Hmm, I don’t remember commenting on this in the past few weeks…” I thought maybe I’d wait a year and respond to your comment, but I chose to be the adult here and responded now. And yeah, I’d forgotten all about ‘Female Jungle’…but I’ll be watching it tonight!

        And I have no idea how many of those films I’ve watched…I’ve downloaded – um – ‘borrowed’ so many of them since then, I don’t know which twenty were on that list!

        Things are cool here…no work yet, so I’m still at home hanging out, working on my blog sites, and watching movies. I hope to have a new review up in a few days, if I don’t slack off. And you go back to work next week…damn, that stinks! Why can’t the wife and kids work, so you can relax? But seriously, hope you’re doing good and staying healthy as well.

        And what’s this? I see Mike had a comment below, and I thought, ha, I wonder how long it took Mikey to respond to THAT one! Oh…less than a day. I guess I’m just not as important to you as I thought I was…

        Liked by 1 person

        • ” but I chose to be the adult here and responded now” LOL that did make me laugh.

          You know what Todd I think I know why it never got commented on. Pretty sure we carried on the conversation on email. That kind of makes sense now because I recall bits of the comment ie the “borrowed” bits on YT. LOL

          Yeah defo stinks going back to work but hey I’m grateful there’s still something to go back to. Sounds like big changes are coming and not sure all staff will make it through. So I had better look keen at least! LOL
          On a plus side we have a Bank Holiday a week Friday. So “By Grabthar’s hammer” I do hope I can take that off and they don’t cancel the darn thing!. Break me in gently.

          Good to hear you well and keeping busy. Hope that all the record shops will soon be opening for you. Be so nice to walk into a store. Been so long no one will know what to do. Staring at stacks of dvds and record scared to touch those mystical square things…
          Revolver Records sounds cool but that might of shut down now. Record High sounds right up my alleyway. Asylum sounds great too. Man I need to get to Phoenix with a whole heap of dollar.!!!!! I could spend weeks in there. Some sound like they got coffee shops and food and all!! Heaven..

          Haha replying in less than a day to MTOTM..

          BTW the Jeremiah Johnson is for you bro. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a classic film and makes a great double bill with The Lodger. Really sad how Cregar died going on a crash diet believing he could be the leading man. A real loss. Lodger was remade in a decent effort with Jack Palance called Man in the Attic if you’re so inclined. Miss Darnell was a real stunner. Made a few films with Tyrone Power including Zorro and Blood and Sand. Tragic ending for this beautiful lady. Great pick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post 🙂 It has been a long time since I have seen this film, but I do remember finding it entertaining and I am a huge fan of noir (Film noir and Neo-noir). I remember Linda Darnell from John Ford’s My Darling Clementine. That is a great western. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You always find ways to expand my “to watch list” even further John! My Darling Clementine sounds like a great take on the Earps. Massive fan of Tombstone so I know I will enjoy this and hey with Linda involved it’s gonna be pretty to look at.

      Liked by 1 person

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