New whodunnit film See How They Run unfolds in London's West End in 1953 – and director Tom George has revealed which films from the period inspired him during production.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, George – who is making his feature directorial debut following his acclaimed work on hit BBC sitcom This Country – mentioned Rear Window as well as Kind Hearts and Coronets as two films that informed some of his choices for the murder mystery.
"I'm not sure there were specific films that guided the look in a way that you can really closely trace," he said. "But one thing I love about films of that period, whether it be Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock, or slightly earlier Kind Hearts and Coronets – one of the very best Ealing comedies – is the pacing of them from an editing point of view.
"On the one hand, they're really sharply plotted, and there's very little fat on the bone in terms of the way the story moves forward. But in a camera sense, they're quite understated and they let things play and they let the characters appear in group shots."
He added: "That was something that I was really keen to get into this film. Partly because it is a nod to that era of filmmaking, but also because comically it's always the most satisfying thing for me to let a moment play – particularly when you've got two brilliant characters, like Stalker (Saiorse Ronan) and Stoppard (Sam Rockwell). That chance to just watch them in a two-shot and not overcut the moment, let it play.
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"And you get that joy of watching the line and the reaction and watch that chemistry between the two of them, that sense of them watching each other trying to figure each other out. And I hope that sort of has been influenced by some of the films of that period."
The film is set against the backdrop of the 100th performance of Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap and makes numerous references to Christie and her work – often affectionately poking fun at whodunnit tropes.
Asked about his own personal favourite Christie novels or adaptations, George revealed that he was a huge fan of ITV's Poirot series starring David Suchet.
"I used to watch Poirot every Saturday night," he said. "The David Suchet Poirot, the TV series. I read a handful of Agatha Christie's when I was younger, but it was really that David Suchet Poirot who was my sort of main connection with Agatha Christie – my brother and I would watch it every Saturday night and try and crack the case.
"But also I think, particularly for a British audience, the whodunnit and particularly the Agatha Christie whodunnit is deeply within our subconscious, even if you're not a fan of whodunnits, per se.
"And I wouldn't say that I was a huge dedicated fan of the whodunnit before making this film, but through making it you realise how much you know already about how those films work and the type of characters who you come across in her stories and in the film depictions of them.
"So it's sort of deep in there for all of us. And that was something that definitely wanted to have fun with in the making of this film. Because the audience comes with a lot of knowledge already and expectations, there's a chance to sort of play with those expectations."
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