22 user 19 critic

Fragment of Fear (1970)

3:21 | Trailer
Reformed drug addict Tim Brett (David Hemmings) is vacationing in Italy with his aunt. When she is murdered, he tries to investigate, and soon his whole life is out of control.


John Bingham (novel), Paul Dehn (screenplay)





Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hemmings ... Tim Brett
Gayle Hunnicutt ... Juliet Bristow
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Mr. Copsey (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
Flora Robson ... Lucy Dawson
Adolfo Celi ... Signor Bardoni
Roland Culver ... Mr. Vellacot
Daniel Massey ... Major Ricketts
Mona Washbourne ... Mrs. Gray
Arthur Lowe ... Mr. Nugent
Yootha Joyce ... Miss Ward-Cadbury
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Sergeant Matthews
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Mrs. Baird
Mary Wimbush ... 'Bunface'
Philip Stone ... C.I.D. Sergeant
Glynn Edwards ... C.I.D. Superintendent
Learn more

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A young British author is plunged into a nightmare as he tries to solve his aunt's murder in Italy. When threats of violence, mysterious notes, and deadly phone calls shatter his life, the Police and his girlfriend doubt the story, due to his past as a drug addict - even though his life is in danger. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Murder in Pompeii. Voices in the night. Despair in the gutter. A phantasmagoria of fright! See more »


GP | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


During production on British Rail's Waterloo & City tube line, a train ran into the buffer stops at the end of the line at Bank station. David Hemmings, Gayle Hunnicutt, and ten extras suffered minor injuries. See more »


During the wedding scene, Hemmings' character calls out for Major Ricketts and then switches to Colonel Ricketts by mistake. See more »


[last lines]
Tim Brett: They think I've given up. But I *haven't* given up. As soon as I can think straight, I'll draw them out. They're somewhere.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The role of Columbus (the pigeon whom Tim feeds outside his window) is credited as being played by "A London Pigeon" See more »


Featured in Paul Dehn: The Writer as Auteur (2017) See more »


Fragment Of Fear
Written by Johnny Harris
Performed by The Johnny Harris Orchestra
See more »

User Reviews

Underrated, unknown near masterpiece psychological thriller
18 February 2004 | by chrisdfilmSee all my reviews

Richard Sarafian is a decidedly underrated director. After finally seeing this, it's satisfying to report his VANISHING POINT was not a flash-in-the-pan. FRAGMENT...does not move at the same pace, nor does it get the viewer involved quite as quickly, but once you're about twenty minutes in, you're hooked until the end as Sarafian and screenwriter Dehn continually manipulate reality and our perceptions of it, along with lead character David Hemmings' perceptions of it. Really brilliant in the way it portrays a matter-of-fact unfolding of events that seem like a conventional, yet still insidious conspired-murder-by-blackmail-ring plot. But then we're constantly shown by the dialogue and actions of other characters that these events we've just witnessed may never have occurred. As an audience, we're constantly being shifted back and forth, momentarily convinced that recovering-addict-turned-successful-writer Hemmings is undergoing paranoid delusions, then the next moment convinced there really is a vast conspiracy against him and his investigation into his rich aunt's death. Disturbing and constantly involving, sucking the viewer in until the shocking conclusion. Unfortunately, the film's one real liability, which may in fact be the reason for some viewers' antipathy toward this film, is its totally inappropriate music score. Not only is the score mixed too loud on the soundtrack, it repeatedly draws attention to itself, often diffusing the effects Sarafian is trying to achieve. If only they had gotten someone like John Dankworth who could have composed a similar jazzy score but much more subtly and in keeping with the film's rhythms. Of course, even better would have been Ennio Morricone, someone who had already scored many Italian giallo thrillers that had attempted to play with reality in a similar way. Whomever hired Johnny Harris made a big mistake. His score is the one thing that keeps this from being a genuine little masterpiece.

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English | Italian

Release Date:

September 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fragment of Fear See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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