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VAL GUEST DIRECTS THE DISEASE MELODRAMA '80,000 SUSPECTS'

Title: 80,000 SUSPECTS Director: Val Guest Year: 1963 Rating: **

Even for an epidemic drama, Val Guest's 80,000 SUSPECTS is extremely grim, starting with a busy and boisterous yet underlined melancholy British hotel New Years Eve bash where two wives of two doctors, polar opposites Claire Bloom, seemingly stalwart wife of our lead handsome doctor Richard Johnson, and drunken floozy Yolande Donlan, converse about being married to strict, aloof professionals... both husbands soon immersed in a small pox outbreak....

Given the stellar British cast also including secondary doctor Michael Goodliffe and empathetic priest Cyril Cusack, there's very little intrigue within the buildup, before the sickness has taken over the city, and, as the film balances the escalating illness with the lead couple's ironically (and soon literally) dying marriage, SUSPECTS has taken itself too seriously to grow into the kind of body-count disease thriller that, compared to the American Film Noir THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK, needed more suspense and less soapy melodrama. 

Kim Tracy in 60,000 SUSPECTS
Claire Bloom in 60,000 SUSPECTS
Richard Johnson in 60,000 SUSPECTS
Yolande Donlan in 80,000 SUSPECTS
Claire Bloom in 80,000 SUSPECTS
Richard Johnson and Kim Tracy (The Girl Hunters) in 80,000 SUSPECTS

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