Ankle-length skirts may monopolize this side of the Atlantic, But Britain is parading a New Look of a different sort. It's called the James Mason Look at features depression, moodiness and a general lack of bright-eyed outlooks. "The Upturned Glass" is overflowing with this Look, both in the person of Mason and in its somber story, lowkey lighting and pessimistic characters. Yet aside form its dampening emotional effect, it ties all these ingredients together nicely and if you're not too fashion-conscious, the New Look will do as well as any.
The Dastardly Crime at Midnight is made to order for the Mason treatment and after a slow start in a well-lit classroom, murder captures the sound-track. A doctor (Mason) tells his criminology class of a case of revenge, the camera reveals in flashbacks that Mason is his own subject, and that his lecture only anticipates his later actions. The original scheme, however, breaks down in practice and Mason's outlook gets blacker and blacker as complications arise between the killing and the burying. He does what he can to lose the body, but finally fails when he is persuaded to operate and save a life, his ironical undoing.
Aside from the vengeful motivation which seems far-fetched, "The Upturned Glass" looks less like a nocturnal fraternity initiation than most Scotland Yard goose-chases. Mason does a credible job as a doctor who is frustrated by his lack of control over mortality, and who plans his revenge as a gesture of independence. Mason the murderer, with a body on his hands, contrasts effectively with a disenchanted country pill-roller who is guiltless, but parttles of the hundreds he has "killed' in his practice. Further contrast comes when Mason scampers behind a railing to hide his crime from a gardener coming home whistling hymns. The gardener, by the way, is the only one who doesn't succumb to the Mason Look, but perhaps he just doesn't believe in fads.