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Hyde Park Corner (1935)

 -  Drama
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 24 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

In this British farce, a legendary duel is destined to be repeated in an old house at Hyde Park Corner when the two descendants of the original combatants mysteriously reconvene. Based on Walter Hackett's play.

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Title: Hyde Park Corner (1935)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Gordon Harker ...
Constable Cheatle
Binnie Hale ...
Sophie
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Sir Arthur Gannett
Harry Tate ...
Taxi Driver
Eric Portman ...
Edward Chester
Robert Holmes ...
Concannon
Eileen Peel ...
Barbara Ainsworth
...
Howard
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In this British farce, a legendary duel is destined to be repeated in an old house at Hyde Park Corner when the two descendants of the original combatants mysteriously reconvene. Based on Walter Hackett's play.

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based on play | See All (1) »

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Drama

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Get That Out of a Book?
Written by Maurice Sigler, Al Goodhart and Al Hoffman
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As seen from Hodge Podge Corner
1 May 2014 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

This was filmed as a cheap quota quickie less than one year after opening at the Apollo Theatre in London with Gordon Harker starring in that too. I don't know how or how well it went down there but I take it as a romantic-thriller-farce although it's sometimes difficult to believe such stodgy material and semaphore-style acting is for real and therefore to concentrate on the peculiar humour.

A curse put on a card-sharp in 1780 by a man dying in a dignified manner from an utterly ghastly wound suffered after a ferocious fencing duel (not quite!) comes round to haunt the then present day blood-denizens of London, involving swindling and murder. Eventually they all have Strange Interludes in recalling their ancestors' shenanigans in a deliciously bizarre climax. Using a similar theme The Ghost Goes West from the same year did it so much better, and Hollywood also did it better many times over, with I Married A Witch and The Time Of Their Lives to name but two. Eric Portman and his beautiful speaking voice were badly used in 1780 and one can only assume he had a better time of it in 1935 because we don't find out. It's poe-sh talking scummy Constable Harker's film though, he and his knockabout sometimes awkward quips with fellow artiste shoplifter Binnie Hale run throughout the picture – no matter how much it appears they don't get on they're from the same class and from the same class as most of the cinema audience so you know how it should conclude. Favourite bizarre bits: the duel, if I may be so bold as to call it that; Harker's own prosecution of Hale in the courtroom to the court's condescending amusement; the music hall diversion but with Harry Tate waiting outside; the final thirty minutes back at the house where the trouble originally began – and why is Gibb McLaughlin being even more arch than usual; Donald Wolfit's startling final appearance and the characters' amazing coincidental memory recall.

After it's warmed up it's interesting and atmospheric but episodic with no belly-laughs (even at the film) – if unaltered from the play I wonder again how the original theatre audience received it. Sloppy as it is I enjoyed it and sometimes for the right reasons.


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