The Upturned Glass (1947)

The Upturned Glassupturned glass
Directed by Lawrence Huntington
Written by John Monaghan and Pamela Mason
Sydney Box Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant


Michael Joyce: Up to this point in the present series of lectures, we’ve dealt exclusively with abnormal mentalities. I emphasise the fact that in civilised communities eighty percent of our murderers and violent criminals were those whose minds had been conditioned by exceptional nervous stress and unhealthy environment. Last Friday we dealt with the smaller group of strictly moronic criminals. And now we come to that much more interesting phenomenon – the sane criminal.

The rest of this film is just not up to James Mason’s awesomely brooding performance.

The film opens with prominent neurosurgeon Michael Joyce (Mason) lecturing an avid medical school class on criminology.  When he starts in on “sane” criminals his case study focuses on a doctor who killed and we segue into the voice-over narration that accompanies the long flashback that tells the tale.  Michael was an unhappily married man whose whole life had become his work.  Then he examines a young patient who is losing her eyesight and slowly becomes attracted to her mother, Emma.  The girl’s father is overseas on a work assignment.  The pair begin a friendship that quickly builds to love but Emma gets cold feet and it goes no further.

upturned glass

Then Emma dies when she falls out a window.  Michael blames the death on Emma’s sister-in-law and the rest of the story is devoted to his plans for revenge.

upturned glass 2

This had potential but just didn’t amount to much.  Despite Mason’s dulcet tones, the lecture gimmick does not add to the drama of this oddly slight story.  I thought the ending was especially awkward and  anti-climactic.  Too bad.



2 thoughts on “The Upturned Glass (1947)

  1. The significance of “the Upturned Glass” As the title? — the country Doctor diagnoses him as insane — not a strong glass but perhaps a fragile goblet? Quite obscure!

    • You know, I don’t remember it well enough to know what the upturned glass is! Really a forgettable film despite Mason.

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