Nurture of nature? One of the oldest debates in the book. Are we fated to live out the lives our genes afford us, or is our upbringing instrumental in making us the person we will become? For those who are proponents of the latter, childhood is the most important stage of development. It’s in these formative years that we make the choices which will chart the course of the rest of our lives. The Sleeping Tiger play on these themes.
Glenda Esmond (Alexis Smith) returns home unexpectedly to find a surprise awaiting her. Her husband Clive (Alexander Knox), a doctor, has decided to bring the man who tried to mug him at gunpoint into their house. The deal is that in order to stay out of jail, Frank Clemmons (Dirk Bogarde) will spend six months being the guinea pig for his psychoanalysis experiments. Believing he can release his subject from a criminal mindset if only he can just get to the heart of the problem.
The Sleeping Tiger is a hardboiled thriller which plays with a number of elements around the human condition. There’s an impressive cast and the script keeps the power dynamics constantly in flux. It was the first film in a wonderful partnership between Bogarde and Joseph Losey (who is credited under a pseudonym (Victor Hanbury) due to the Hollywood blacklist). The American director really brings the best out of the matinee idol and The Sleeping Tiger gives a taste of what was to come from the pair.
- Interview with Dirk Bogarde’s Biographer John Coldstream
- Interview with Matthew Sweet
- Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery
The Sleeping Tiger is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Studiocanal on 7 November.