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The Phantom Light (1935)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 275 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 10 critic

A lighthouse keeper has been murdered in mysterious circumstances and, during the ensuing investigation a Phantom Light keeps appearing at the scene of his death.

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Title: The Phantom Light (1935)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Binnie Hale ...
Gordon Harker ...
Donald Calthrop ...
Milton Rosmer ...
Ian Hunter ...
Jim Pearce
Herbert Lomas ...
Claff Owen
Reginald Tate ...
Barry O'Neill ...
Capt. Pearce
Mickey Brantford ...
Bob Peters
Alice O'Day ...
Mrs. Owen
Fewlass Llewellyn ...
Griffith Owen
Edgar K. Bruce ...
Sgt. Owen
Louie Emery ...
Station Mistress
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Storyline

A lighthouse keeper has been murdered in mysterious circumstances and, during the ensuing investigation a Phantom Light keeps appearing at the scene of his death. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 August 1935 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La luce fantasma  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Alice Bright (Binnie Hale) remarks that she had just been performing in a play, Sam Higgins (Gordon Harker) retorts, "East Lynne?" This is a reference to the oft produced play and movie of Mrs. Henry Wood's novel of the same name. "East Lynne" was enjoyed for its mad plot and frequently incomprehensible dialogue. See more »

Quotes

Alice Bright: I'm going to tell you the truth.
Sam Higgins: What, again?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dad's Army: Put That Light Out! (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Ajax Shipwreck
(uncredited)
Music by Julien Porret
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
3 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Phantom Light is directed by Michael Powell and adapted from the Joan Roy Byford and Evadne Price play The Haunted Light. It stars Gordon Harker, Binnie Hale, Donald Calthrop, Milton Rosmer, Ian Hunter and Herbert Lomas. Cinematography is by Roy Kellino and music by Louis Levy.

Harker stars as lighthouse keeper Sam Higgins, who gets more than he bargained for when he takes up employment at the North Stack Lighthouse out on the foggy Welsh coast.

Some time before he formed half of the classic film making partnership with Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell was a 1930s purveyor of the "quota-quickie" British movie. Not many of those films remain in print, thankfully this delightful blend of comedy and suspense is now in home format circulation. Out of Gainsborough Pictures, The Phantom Light harks back to a wonderful time of sincerity in film making, the acting mannerisms are as correct as the dialect (it's so nice to hear the term Michaelmas used), the locale is beautifully realised and maximum dramatic impact is garnered from the minimalist settings (three parts of the film is set in the lighthouse itself). Powell proves to be adept at eking out eerie atmospherics from the story, aided superbly by Roy Kellino's photography, while it's no small triumph to actually blend the comedy with the drama and not hurt the flow of the film.

Tan-y-Bwlch and lummee, what a night!

It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, Hale is annoyingly high pitched and shoe-horned into the fray, though her beautiful legs go up to her armpits and distract the red blooded amongst us, and the actual turn into the suspense realm comes, considering the running time, a bit too late in the story. But the faults are actually minor ones and they don't ultimately affect the enjoyment on offer for the classic film fan. It very much can be seen as a precursor and influence to the great Will Hay pictures, Ask A Policeman & Oh! Mr. Porter, and if you want links away from the thematics and plotting? Which are joyously similar, then Herbert Lomas was in Ask A Policeman and Louis Levy scored both. It doesn't have the slapstick that dominated the Hay movies, here the wit is dry and neatly pitched as polar opposites are thrust together under one lighted roof, but this is more a light hearted thriller than a comedy drama. With excellent locations used (Devon/Wales), and a director taking his early tentative steps to greatness (yes you read right), it's a film that has enough reasons to check it out regardless of story. As it is, it's pretty darn good anyway. And I'll be back to say the same thing after my next viewing at Michaelmas. 7.5/10


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