Guilt Is My Shadow (1950) in Ashburton

(Last Updated On: June 9, 2017)

Regular readers of WASD will know that we like to remember old movies filmed in South Devon. This time it’s the turn of the 1950 Ashburton-set ‘Guilt Is My Shadow’, a low-key and low-budget British crime drama from Associated British Pictures.

The movie opens with a bank robbery gone wrong. The only member of the gang to escape is a terribly well-spoken getaway driver Jamie (Peter Reynolds) who hides out on his uncle’s farm. However, Uncle Kit (Patrick Holt) is a recluse who resents his nephew’s visit. Jamie, on his part, is openly contemptuous of farm life and the lifestyle of local villagers. He’s also a liar and a thief with a line in nasty domestic violence and, when he gets a job in the local garage, he cheats the customers.

While this starts out as a gritty urban crime thriller it then becomes a rural psychodrama when Jamie’s wife turns up and our anti-hero starts sniffing around the local Ashburton maids. It all ends badly…

Director Roy Kellino had a career in movies before moving into television. The screenplay, by the Director, Ivan Foxwell and John Gilling was based on a novel by Norah Lofts.

It is, of course, the Devon location shooting that has attracted our interest. The outdoor scenes were shot in Ashburton and the agricultural fair. There’s also a scene of a train arriving at ‘Welford Station’ – actually Staverton on the preserved line of the South Devon Railway. The locomotive no.1470 was a regular on the line which ran to Ashburton and closed in 1964.

Here’s a short clip of the movie:


Kevin Dixon went to Audley Park – now Torquay Academy – and South Devon College when it was at Torre. After studying at Birmingham City University, he returned home because there’s nowhere else quite like Torquay. He then became involved in community and adult education, completed a PhD at Exeter University , and started writing about the weird and unknown side of town. He now Chairs Healthwatch Torbay and is involved in health and social care in the Bay.