A wartime cottage on a Scottish estate becomes a focus of attention when not only the new tenant but a London evacuee and a downed fighter pilot all move in. The interest may not be ... See full summary »
A wartime cottage on a Scottish estate becomes a focus of attention when not only the new tenant but a London evacuee and a downed fighter pilot all move in. The interest may not be unconnected with the fact that the landowner is also a key British military inventor. For a start, the butler is obviously a Scotland Yard flatfoot. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
From the jaunty opening scenes to the thrilling ending, you could be forgiven for thinking 'Cottage To Let' was made during the post war period. But this film was released in 1941, when the outcome of the war was still in the balance.
The cast reflects the wealth of talent available in the British Film Industry at this time and for two decades onwards. Not a false note is struck: Jeannie De Casalis makes me laugh out loud playing the dotty wife (check out her introduction speech for John Mills at the fête). Leslie Banks turns in a precise low key performance. He is an antidote to all the eccentric and unbalanced scientists that were/are the staple of cinema-land. Michael Wilding is urbane and, in his scenes, a good foil for a crumpled Alistair Sim, or the intense and faintly menacing John Mills.
Sim, of course, had managed to get his protégé George Cole the part of Ronald. Cole had (I think) already played this role on the stage, but took to the sound stage like a fish to water. He moved and acted as if born to boom and camera. In an idle moment compare young George as Ronald with middle-aged George as Arthur Daley in TV's Minder. It's all there: the sideway looks, aggrieved voice, controlled energy, sheer believable and likable personality.
The film scores on all points for me. The script is realistic and economical, the supporting cast firmly wedded into the few sub-plots. Even the sets, one or two seem to have migrated from other films, are splendid and evocative. And the final denouement is probably one of the most menacing in wartime film, if not the wettest.
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