Terrified by their knowledge of his whereabouts, Hale is in town to publicize his book by placing small placards around Brighton with the name “Kolley Kibber.” Those who discover them are awarded a small amount of money if they redeem them, while anyone who figures out who Kolley Kibber really is will receive a larger cash award—Hale ceases the activity seeking out the company of women, at first a loud-voiced patron of the bar, Ida (Hermione Baddeley), who acts in a local Pierrot-costumed performance company, and later with a woman on the beach, who he asks to accompany him for the entire day so that he might be protected from the gang’s attack.
When his pick-up leaves him alone for a short bathroom break, the gang corners him, as Hale attempts to quite spectacularly race off. Finally caught, he is taken to a Brighton pier amusement ride, and is later discovered drowned. The police, despite Ida’s testimony that Hale had seemed frightened and troubled during their short meeting, determine the reporter’s death to have been a suicide. And like a somewhat blowsy Miss Marple, she proceeds to investigate what she believes to have been a murder.
Both survive, but Pinkie finally does in his fellow gang partner by pushing him through a high stair banister.
For my taste, Greene’s and Terence Rattigan’s screenplay (I’ve never been a Rattigan admirer; I’ve always loved the fact that Shelagh Delaney wrote her A Taste of Honey in response to a mediocre Rattigan melodrama) with its rather outlandish plot is more than a little fussy and, at moments, quite inexplicable. Why do the police think Hale’s death was a sudden suicide and how Ida so quickly and alertly stumbles upon the truth are both rather preposterous propositions. The “Kolley Kibber” publicity stunt seems absolutely absurd, seemingly introduced into the story simply to track the movements of Fred Hale. And the work never does explain how Hale might have been responsible for the death of former gang leader Kite. Or, for that matter, does the film even hint at how the young teenage boy (Attenborough was only 23 at the time of this performance) has so quickly risen in the gangland ranks? although we suspect it might have something to do his simple cruelty. How he got that way we can never know, except that Greene often conceived of a world in terms of goodness and evil, and Pinkie is most certainly a vision of the devil himself. As David Gritten pointed out in a review in The Telegraph, “Even his phone number contains a "666."