An elderly artist thinks he has become too stale and is past his prime. His friend (and agent) persuades him to go to an offshore island to try once more. On the island he re-discovers his ... See full summary »
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
Essentially a re-release of Michael Powell's 'The Edge of the World (1937)', but with color 'bookends' in which director and actors revisit the island of Foula forty years later and talk about their experiences.
David Barr is the manager and chief designer of a British shipyard (when we still built ships). The shipyard is in financial trouble but Barr has a design for a new ship that will save them... See full summary »
Curley Blake is a lift operator in a block of flats. He is in love with Emily, the cleaning girl. When Emily returns from a stay in hospital, Curley arranges to treat her to dinner in one ... See full summary »
A man suffering from temporary blindness accidentally walks into a house where a murder has just occurred. The killers, realizing he's blind, decide not to kill him but just knock him out ... See full summary »
This is the tale of life in a British port in the first year of World War II. Spies and smugglers abound in the blackout and unreal shore life of the "phoney war" (before the shooting started). Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hobson and Veidt co-starred in "Spy in Black" in 1938 (released in '39), a beautiful WWI drama about spies and counterspies made by Alexander Korda's London Films. This film was the first pairing of director Michael Powell and scripter Emeric Pressburger who would soon come to be known as The Archers.
1940 saw the release of "Contraband", also featuring the same stars, as well as director and screenwriter. Technically, this film is superior to "Spy in Black", but if one is expecting a Hitchcockian romance-thriller laced with sparkling wit, a la "The 39 Steps" or "The Lady Vanishes," one is in for a big disappointment. Conrad Veidt, only three years away from death, looks much older than forty-seven in "Contraband". It is sad to see him cast as a 'romantic lead' having to occasionally spout some inane, undignified dialogue. Try to imagine Humphrey Bogart playing the lead in "Casablanca" in 1956 instead of 1942, and you have the idea. Even between "The Spy in Black" and "Contraband" Veidt had aged considerably.
The acting, direction, and camera-work are superb---diminutive Hay Petrie steals every scene he is in, as he did in "The Spy in Black" and "Knight Without Armour" (1937). Had he worked in Hollywood, he would likely have been a successful character lead, as was Claude Rains. It is Emeric Pressburger's script which ultimately sinks "Contraband". There are many potentially dramatic moments which are undermined by campy dialogue and situations, so much so that one cannot take the film seriously at all. The same occurs to a lesser degree in the otherwise excellent "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" and "A Matter of Life and Death". Pressburger, a Hungarian emigrè, also ham-fistedly telegraphs an appeal for sympathy towards all non-Brits in the aforementioned UK films.
I much prefer the Korda-produced films to the work of The Archers for the above reasons.
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