Murder by Proxy
Murder by Proxy poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTerence Fisher
Written byRichard Landau
Based onMurder by Proxy
by Helen Nielsen
Produced byMichael Carreras
StarringDane Clark
Belinda Lee
Betty Ann Davies
CinematographyWalter J. Harvey
Edited byMaurice Rootes
Music byIvor Slaney
Distributed byExclusive Films
Lippert Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • 19 March 1954 (1954-03-19) (US)
  • 28 March 1955 (1955-03-28) (UK)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Murder by Proxy is a 1954 British film noir crime drama film directed by Terence Fisher and starring Dane Clark, Belinda Lee and Betty Ann Davies.[1][2] The screenplay concerns a man who is offered money to marry a woman. It was produced by Hammer Films and shot at the company's Bray Studios in Berkshire with sets designed by the art director J. Elder Wills. It released in the United States by Lippert Pictures as Blackout.

Plot summary

Drunk and down-and-out Casey Morrow (Clark) in London is approached by a young and beautiful heiress, Phyllis Brunner (Lee), offering him much money if he will marry her. He accepts, but then wakes up the next morning in some other woman's apartment with blood on his coat from the murder of Brunner's father. Now he must unravel the mystery to clear his name, which leads him into a twisted labyrinth of encounters with various suspicious characters who seem to make his situation worse the more he learns.



The film was based on a novel Murder by Proxy which was published in 1952. It was the first movie in an eight picture contact between Hammer Films and Lippert Pictures.

Dane Clark's casting was announced in September 1953.[3] He stayed on in England to make Five Days.[4]

Script supervisor Renee Glynne later recalled that Belinda Lee "was still very inexperienced at that time and I had to watch her quite carefully. She'd cross her legs the wrong way or turn her head at the wrong moment or come out with the wrong line, so I'd have to correct her and try to help her out. Dane obviously fancied her and got very cross with my professional interference'. He got quite nasty and was actually pushing me away from her." Glynne says she had to take medication "in order to survive the rest of the film. After that I had to give all my instructions to him through the director, Terry Fisher...after some shots he'd have to put his head under cold water because he was so enraged that I was even there. Eventually he realised how silly it all was and went down on his knees, tears streaming down his face, begging me to forgive him, But I still asked Tony Hinds to take me off the next film he was in."[5]


The Monthly Film Bulletinsaid "the treatment is sufficiently persuasive to bring a fair amount of excitement to the well tried material."[6]

Variety called it "a gabby, overlong, import from England that has Dane Clark heading the cast as the only name known in the domestic market. Condition of the supporting feature market is such currently that the film will have no trouble getting bookings, even though it offers scant measure of entertainment.... There’s nothing the players can do with the plot as presented under the production helming of Michael Carreras, and Terence Fisher's direction is deliberate to the extreme, even for a British offering."[7]

Filmink called it "an entirely decent, unpretentious film noir; the age gap between the leads is annoying, but Lee is an ideal femme-fatale-or-isn’t-she?"[8]


  1. ^ "Blackout (1954) - Terence Fisher - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  2. ^ "Murder by Proxy (1955)".
  3. ^ ZUKOR SEES VALUE IN VARIED METHODS: New York Times 21 Sep 1953: 22.
  4. ^ Round the British Studios Nepean, Edith. Picture Show; London Vol. 62, Iss. 1605, (Jan 2, 1954): 11.
  5. ^ Rigby, Jonathan (1995). "Calling the Shots". Hammer Horror. No. 7. p. 38.
  6. ^ MURDER BY PROXY Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 22, Iss. 252, (Jan 1, 1955): 59.
  7. ^ Review of film at Variety
  8. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.