A Polish sailor on leave in Cardiff murders his unfaithful girlfriend, Anya (Yvonne Mitchell). A lonely young girl is a witness and takes the gun to impress her playmates.
A strange friendship then grows between the girl and the gunman as the two go on the run and the police net around them tightens.
12-year-old Hayley Mills gives an astonishing performance here in her film debut, playing Gillie, the young girl who befriends the murderous sailor Korchinsky (Horst Buchholz) and hinders the investigation of Superintendent Graham (Hayley’s father, John Mills) at every turn.
The “kid and the killer” plot had cropped up regularly during the 1950s and this variation has nothing new to say on the subject. But J Lee Thompson (always a fine director of children) surrounds Hayley with credible characters and faithfully captures the sights and sounds of Cardiff’s docklands.
Det Sgt Harvey
J Lee Thompson