Smokescreen (film)

Smokescreen is a 1964 British crime drama film, written and directed by Jim O'Connolly and starring Peter Vaughan.[1]

Lobby card autographed by Deryck Guyler
Directed byJim O'Connolly
Produced byRonald Liles
John I. Phillips
Written byJim O'Connolly
StarringPeter Vaughan
John Carson
Yvonne Romain
Music byJohnny Gregory
CinematographyJack Mills
Edited byHenry Richardson
Distributed byButcher's Film Service
Release date
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Mr. Roper, an insurance investigator, travels to Brighton to assess the apparent death of a businessman, after his burning car was seen crashing over a cliff into the sea. The insurance company is suspicious, as the man had only recently taken out life insurance for a large sum. When the car is recovered and no body is found, Roper and the police have to find out whether they are dealing with an accident, an insurance fraud or a murder.


Critical reception

The Radio Times: "this above-average programme filler has a passable plot (involving a little bit of skulduggery in suburban Brighton) that's kept moving swiftly and painlessly by director Jim O'Connolly...Vaughan plays with a dogged determination that is efficient, engaging and quite at odds with the more sinister characterisations he would essay later in his career".[2] BFI Screenonline described the film as "an utterly charming B-film comedy-thriller that emphasises character as much as plot and makes full use of extensive location footage."[3]

The film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane selected Smokescreen as one of the 15 most meritorious British B films made between World War II and 1970. They describe it as an "uncommonly neat little insurance racket-cum-murder thriller" and praise the way that its comic relief is "built into the fabric of the film's main narrative action".[4]


The opening scenes were shot in London, but much of the rest of the film was shot on location in West and East Sussex, including the Brighton area. The scene featuring Derek Guyler as the station master was shot at the now closed Hellingly railway station.[5]


  1. "Smokescreen". BFI. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  2. "Smokescreen". RadioTimes. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  3. "BFI Screenonline: Smokescreen (1964)". Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  4. Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, pp. 286–88.
  5. "Smokescreen". ReelStreets. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
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