Big Clock, The (1948)

The Big Clock (1948), directed by John Farrow.

A different form of the old double-chase: publishing tycoon Charles Laughton uses his empire to hunt down a witness who saw him commit a murder, while the witness -- crime editor Ray Milland -- evades pursuit while still on the job -- assigned to find himself -- and tries to get the goods on his boss.

In Hitchcockian style, our hero Ray Milland is slightly guilty. He spent a drunken -- if largely innocent -- night carousing with the murdered woman and listened to her plans for blackmailing the boss. As the hunt closes in on him he is willing to frame someone else for the murder.

It helps that is Milland is naturally sort of shifty, a trait that made him so effective in Dial M For Murder (1954).

This is lighter than your typical crime thriller and almost a screwball comedy. Elsa Lanchester is a hoot as a ditsy artist who can still count the payoff money.

Victor Young score. Edith Head costumes.

Remade as No Way Out (1987) with Kevin Costner. I'm not remembering that well enough to comment on the differences.

Available on DVD. There is something wrong with the fine detail, presumably the side effect of some restoration or sharpening effort.