Stop Me Before I Kill! (aka The Full Treatment) (1960):

Val Guest directed Stop Me Before I Kill! (aka “The Full Treatment”), a British thriller noir, starring Claude Dauphin, Diane Cilento and Ronald Lewis.

The Full Treatment
"The Full Treatment".jpg

Italian theatrical poster

It was based on the 1959 novel “The Full Treatment” by Ronald Scott Thorn.

Racing driver Alan Colby (Ronald Lewis) and wife Denise (Diane Cilento) got involved in a bad accident a year ago. Although they are both physically well, Alan struggles with mood swings and gets easily violent.

The couple go to the Cote D’Azur on vacation where they meet Dr. Prade, a psychiatrist who’s also from London. Prade and Denise talk about their troubled marriage, which angers Alan.

Once home, Alan attempts to strangle Denise and is immediately horrified by his dark impulses. She begs him to seek help from Prade, and he reluctantly agrees. Prade presses Alan to reveal how he would kill Denise. Alan confesses all the details of his fantasy, which includes strangling Denise in bed, dismembering her body, and dropping the pieces down a disposal chute.

After many sessions, Prade concludes that Alan thought, in the moment of the car crash, he had killed Denise and has been reliving those feelings. Alan is ecstatic when Prade declares him cured.

When Denise disappears, Prade pieces together clues, which resemble Alan’s murderous fantasy; they fear that he has killed Denise while in a psychotic fugue state. Prade attempts to take Alan to a clinic, but they have an accident on the way there.

In the confusion, Alan escapes back to southern France, where he spots Denise and Prade on a yacht.

Prade has deceived Denise into taking a vacation while believing that Alan is psychiatric care. Holding that Prade and Denise conspired against him, Alan appears with a gun at Prade’s house.

When she confronts Prade, he reveals his love for Denise and attempts to escape on an old gondola lift.

In the end, the cable snaps. Prade is killed, and Alan and Denise are reunited, but solemn after their ordeal.

Though shot in black-and-white, the movie still conveys the beauty of the French Riviera, where it was shot.

The direction is taut, and the acting decent, compensating for what is essentially a B-level British noir, with only three characters.

Claude Dauphin as David Prade
Diane Cilento as Denise Colby
Ronald Lewis as Alan Colby
Fran├žoise Rosay as Madame Prade
Bernard Braden as Harry Stonehouse
Katya Douglas as Connie
Barbara Chilcott as Baroness de la Vailion
Ann Tirard as Nicole
Edwin Styles as Doctor Roberts
George Merritt as Mr. Manfield


Produced, directed by Val Guest
Written by Val Guest and Ronald Scott Thorn, Based on the 1959 novel The Full Treatment by Ronald Scott Thorn
Produced by Val Guest
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Edited by Bill Lenny
Music by Stanley Black

Production companies: Hammer Film Productions, Falcon Hilary

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Release dates: October 1960 (UK) June 21, 1961 (U.S.)