The Sleeping Tiger

In DVD/Blu-ray by Samuel Love

Newly restored and on Blu-ray for the first time, Joseph Losey’s quintessential Brit noir The Sleeping Tiger is a lost classic ripe for reappraisal. 

The darkly gripping film tells the tale of a psychiatrist (Alexander Knox) who catches a young thug (Dirk Bogarde) breaking into his house. Rather than press charges, the psychiatrist thinks of another way to keep the criminal off the streets – by inviting him to stay at his home as a social guinea pig, believing he can curb his criminal tendencies. Tensions arise, however, when the young thug begins an affair with the psychiatrist’s wife (Alexis Smith)…

Tense and compelling, The Sleeping Tiger is packed with fantastic performance and stunning visuals. Mixing romance with psychotherapy and crime is a tough ask, but Losey pulls it off with great aplomb. 

On release in 1954, the film’s producer Victor Hanbury was credited as director as Losey – who would later work with Bogarde again on The Servant among other works – was blacklisted in the McCarthy era of the time. The film is very much a precursor to the aforementioned later work; both deal with a tense, psychosexual domestic power play.

The film’s stunning new restoration looks spectacular, especially on StudioCanal’s Blu-ray release. Released as part of the label’s Vintage Classics range, The Sleeping Tiger is a lost masterpiece that stands comfortably within the series among other classics of the genre.