River Beat
Directed byGuy Green
Written byRex Rienits
Produced byHerman Cohen
Victor Hanbury
StarringJohn Bentley
Phyllis Kirk
Leonard White
Glyn Houston
CinematographyGeoffrey Faithfull
Edited byPeter Graham Scott
Music byHubert Clifford
Insignia Films
Distributed byEros Films
Lippert Pictures (US)
Release date
29 March 1954
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

River Beat is a 1954 British second feature[1] noir crime film directed by Guy Green and starring John Bentley, Phyllis Kirk and Leonard White.[2] It was distributed in the United States by Lippert Pictures.


Judy is a radio operator on an American ship duped into smuggling diamonds in the belief that she is delivering cigarettes. Stopped by Customs she is in further trouble when the man who involved her is found dead in the river. Customs Detective Dan Barker has fallen for Judy and faces a moral dilemma: he must find out whether or not she is guilty, while protecting her from the smugglers.



The film was shot at Walton Studios and on location around London. The film's sets were designed by art director John Stoll.

It was Guy Green's first film as a director. He said Phyllis Kirk was "very helpful".[3]


On the film's release Variety said "The programmer market, currently short of passable supporting filmfare, will find this London-localed melodrama an acceptable filler ... Miss Kirk provides a casting switch to the Anglo-American film efforts Lippert usually releases. Heretofore it has been an American male in England, and mixed up with Scotland Yard and British crooks.  ... The plotting is contrived and everything drops too patly into place as the 70 minutes unfold."[4]

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "A competent little thriller, which maintains a good pace and has a fairly simple plot with one or two interesting twists. It has no pretensions to anything further; there is little attempt at characterisation, or to show much of the work of the River Police. The film, however, owes something to the tradition of the semi-documentary feature in its use of well-photographed locations in and around the Thames and Dockland."[5]

In British Sound Films David Quinlan rates the film "good", calling it a "well-acted, well-paced, well-set thriller: well above-average."[6]

Chibnall & McFarlane, in The British B Film: The Studio Years 1928–1959 rate the film "exceptional in its use of docklands locations and pacey action."[1]


  1. ^ a b Chibnall, Steve; McFarlane, Brian (2009). The British 'B' Film. London: BFI/Bloomsbury. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-8445-7319-6.
  2. ^ "River Beat". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  3. ^ Schwartzman, Arnold (19 November 1991). "Interview with Guy Green side 3". British Entertainment History Project.
  4. ^ "River Beat". Variety: 6. 21 July 1954.
  5. ^ "River Beat". Monthly Film Bulletin. 21 (240): 60. 1 January 1954.
  6. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 365. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.