Blu-Ray Review: The Big Clock

When it comes to actors with a huge presence, Charles Laughton was unmistakably a heavyweight. Theatrically trained, the West End led to Broadway and then eventually Hollywood. He made a huge impression in films such as The Private Life of Henry VIII, Mutiny on the Bounty, Jamaica Inn and The Big Clock. The latter, directed by John Farrow, saw him at his muscular finest.

George Stroud (Ray Milland), editor-in-chief of Crimeways, is looking forward to a long overdue vacation with his wife (Maureen O’Sullivan) and son. When his leave is cancelled by Earl Janoth (Laughton), the magazine’s despotic owner, they argue and he’s sacked. He chances upon his boss’s mistress (Rita Johnson) in a bar and they plan to blackmail the tycoon. However, when Janoth sees a man (which he doesn’t recognise as Stroud) leaving her apartment he suspects infidelity and murders her. Looking to find a patsy, he puts Stroud in charge of discovering the identity of the gentleman caller.

Whilst the identity of the killer is known from the start, The Big Clock is a clever film noir where Stroud has to play cat and mouse with his own freedom to conceal the identity of the ‘unknown man’ whilst bringing the real murderer to justice. Laughton and Millard are both superb playing two very different men both fighting for their lives. The Big Clock is a classic noir which twists and turns towards a riveting finale.


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton
  • A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in The Big Clock by the actor, writer, and theatre director Simon Callow
  • Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Ray Milland
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland

The Big Clock is released by on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 13 May.

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