American actors Edmund Lowe and Constance Cummings star in this humorous thriller, which blends classic elements of farce, sparkling dialogue and Hitchcockian suspense. Seven Sinners was the first film to feature a joint writing credit for Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, the prolific and hugely talented partnership best known for Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes – which was itself in many ways prefigured by Seven Sinners – and the classic St. Trinian’s series.
Produced by Michael Balcon and directed by Albert De Courville, the film’s plot was based on that of The Wrecker, the hit stage play co-written by Arnold Ridley (author of The Ghost Train), in which a man deliberately causes trains to crash; Seven Sinners, released by Gaumont-British in 1936, is notable for its use of spectacular crash footage from Géza von Bolváry’s silent 1928 adaptation of The Wrecker, in which a set of SECR coaches and an F1 Class locomotive were released on an incline to collide with a Foden steam lorry – to startlingly authentic visual effect!
Detective Edward Harwood is in a quandary – after meeting a man named Wagner at the Nice Carnival, he later comes across the man’s dead body. But he is astonished to find that, while his attention is diverted fetching his new partner, insurance agent Caryl Fenton, the body has vanished! On the train from Nice, Harwood’s troubled musings end abruptly when the train crashes. When he stumbles upon Wagner’s body amid the wreckage, he finds a clue: a Parisian address written on the man’s sleeve. When Harwood and Caryl visit the address they meet a man who is clearly lying and begin to realise that they have uncovered a sinister network prepared to use any means necessary to conceal its crimes...