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It is pouring with rain at one minute to midnight on Friday the thirteenth, and the driver of a London bus is peering through his blurred windscreen as his vehicle sails down an empty road. Suddenly, lightning strikes, and a vast crane above topples into the path of the oncoming bus... Then Big Ben begins to wind backwards. Time recedes. And we discover the lives of all the passengers and the events that brought them to that late-night bus journey, from the con-man with a hundred-pound cheque to the businessman's distraught and elderly wife. Time flows on, inevitably, to the crash -- and past it, as some live and some die. Written by
Towards the beginning of the film Jessie Matthews (playing Millie) asks the bus conductor (played by her husband Sonnie Hale) "You won't forget to put me off at Linden Gardens, will you?" Sonnie's prompt reply is "No fear!" -- there was very little chance of his forgetting that particular address, since his own flat in Linden Gardens had seen the beginning of their relationship only a few years earlier... See more »
So many early British sound films that I've seen on video suffer from either poor print transfer quality or poor sound or both. Fortunately, I was able to obtain a copy of this movie on a video of excellent quality, enabling me to focus on the story itself.
And, an excellent story it was. At first sight, the passengers on the ill-fated bus looked like a pretty boring lot (except for the always lovely Jessie Matthews). But, as the film went back to show each passenger's story on the day before the accident, I discovered that the cast, contrary to initial appearance, was a talented group of performers, skillfully directed so as to bring a real individuality to their distinctive characterizations.
Viewers may have different preferences as to which two passengers are going to meet a tragic end and which ones will survive. But, the movie holds your interest as it keeps you guessing. This film deserves a much wider audience
a real gem of early British Cinema.
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