1933: An ocean liner belonging to a second-rate German company is making a twenty-six day voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bremerhaven, Germany. Along the way it will stop in Cuba to pick up... See full summary »
During World War II an American travels to Britain to sell an old house near London that belongs to his family. But he mets Susan Trimble who lives in the house and who is strictly against ... See full summary »
One dark summer night, Francesca Cunningham, a once world famed pianist, escapes from her hospital room and tries to commit suicide by jumping off a local bridge. She is rescued and taken ... See full summary »
Philip Sutherland is an American news writer stationed in Moscow since the war; while there he falls for a Russian ballet dancer, Marya Lamarkins, who, he finds out, learned English because... See full summary »
Young Jane Benson just about manages to make ends meet running the large family house in Yorkshire. In love with local doctor Freddie Jarvis, she suggests they marry, but almost at once ... See full summary »
When Celia Crowson is called up for war service, she hopes for a glamor job in one of the services, but as a single girl, she is directed into a factory making aircraft parts. Here she ... See full summary »
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On a visit to London, 18 year-old American Melinda Greyton goes to her first party, a Regimental ball. There she meets and falls madly in love with Major Michael Curragh, a handsome ... See full summary »
Frank Burdon is a new reporter on a small-town Scottish paper. He's told to interview local politician William Gow, then left in charge of the paper overnight. He sees Gow being high-handed to a woman who can't afford to license her dog, and decides to run that story instead of the expected puff piece. Both are decent men, but a little too proud to back down, and the battle escalates into a criminal case... but at the same time, Burdon and Gow's daughter Victoria are falling in love. Written by
An apparent piece of froth hides a satire of Hitler
Why isn't this excellent comedy better known? More to the point, why is it so consistently misinterpreted? Most commentators view it as an amusing piece of froth about the provost of a small Scottish town (Cecil Parker) ordering that a dog be put down because its owner cannot pay for its licence. There's Vivien Leigh as the provost's daughter and Rex Harrison on top form as the journalist who makes the silly story national news. It's all very funny and delightfully played by all concerned. But underlying this story (adapted from a German play by James Bridie) is a subtle satire of dictatorship as was then current in Germany and Italy. Parker's role is very clearly based on Hitler, a times quite unsettlingly so, and it is in the bold but successfully intermingling of whimsy with dictatorial manners that the film gains its particular power. Cute it may seem to be, but Victor Saville was a wise and quite a subversive soul, and you'll find few other films from this period that so ably blend the dark with the light. Take a look at it again and see what I mean!
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