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House No. 44 (1955) – Review

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Year – 1955

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Navketan International Films

Director – M. K. Burman

Music Director – S. D. Burman

Box-Office Status

Cast – Dev Anand, K. N. Singh, Rashid Khan, Prabhu Dayal, Kalpana Kartik, Kumkum, Kammo, Zamboora, Bhagwan Sinha, Sheela Vaz

Miscellaneous Information – Not Available.

Songs List

Song
Year
Singers
Music Director(s)
Lyricist(s)

Review

PRODUCED by actor Dev Anand under his own Navketan banner “House No. 44,” which was accorded an enthusiastic reception at the Krishna Theatre in Bombay on July 29, 1955 is marked by superb production values.

Planned and designed in the style of Hollywood’s slick, suspense-packed crime thrillers, and faintly reminiscent of John Ford’s gripping drama, ‘The Informer,’ the picture revolves round the daring exploits of a happy-go lucky tramp who, forced by poverty, strays into the underworld of a big city. Later he relinquishes the lucrative career of crime for a girl’s love and is then hounded by the gangsters who ruin his every attempt to earn an honorable living. In the end, he not only saves himself and his sweetheart from the wrath of the gangsters, but also succeeds in making the criminals suffer just punishment at the hands of the Law.

The theme of the picture has both originality and substance to make it a gripping motion picture. The brilliant camera work, specially the sequences shot on locale at Mahableshwar and Bassein, further embellish this superbly mounted production.

Despite these assets, the picture suffers because of a poor screenplay and naive direction which rob much from the picture’s suspense and allow the audience to tell exactly what is coming next.

However, it is fortunate that the drawbacks in the screenplay are offset to a great extent by the convincing portrayals of the cast, the lilting songs, and the three very attractive dance numbers.

Dev Anand in the pivotal role of the reformed criminal has surpassed his similar portrayals in “Baazi” and “Taxi Driver.” His role is the meat and substance of the picture, and his sensitive and powerful performance brings the character to life with vivid realism. It is a magnificent portrayal and just about the best thing in the picture. His beautiful star-wife Kalpana Kartik, as the orphaned girl who reforms him, also acts convincingly in a well directed part.

K. N. Singh as the gangster chief puts over a commendable performance. Rashid Khan as the man suspected of being an informer and Bhagwan Sinha are two more who acquit themselves creditably.

The dances, put over by three of the topmost dancers in the industry today, are delightful. The songs, though hybrid in composition, are melodious and are beautifully sung by Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. The lyrics, however, are trite and their poverty of words adversely affects their quality.

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