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Bombsight Stolen (1941)

Cottage to Let (original title)
Allied spies and Nazi agents insinuate themselves at a Scottish cottage (converted to a wartime hospital) with interests on an inventor's nearly perfected bomb sight.

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Writers:

(adapted from the play by), (screenplay) (as A. de Grunwald) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jeanne De Casalis ...
Carla Lehmann ...
Helen Barrington (as Carla Lehman)
...
...
George Cole ...
Ronald
...
Alan Trently
Frank Cellier ...
John Forest
Muriel Aked ...
Miss Fernery
Wally Patch ...
Evans
...
Mrs. Trimm
Hay Petrie ...
Dr. Truscott
Catherine Lacey ...
Mrs. Stokes
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Storyline

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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bombsight Stolen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full - Range Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name and address of the agents, McPhail & McPhail, 24 Angus Street, is an in-joke, referring to the screenwriter Angus MacPhail. But rather than leave them out altogether, the phone number and town have been blacked out. See more »

Goofs

Despite being apparently unconscious, the downed parachutist can be seen helping the two boatmen pull him into the rowing boat at the start of the film. See more »

Quotes

Ronald: You can always tell a real butler. Butlers' faces are white. If they pinch the boss's port, they're red. Yours is brown.
See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
(uncredited)
from "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg"
Music by Richard Wagner
Arranged by Louis Levy
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A rather brilliant wartime drama comedy called COTTAGE TO LET--fast complex cast and plot
29 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cottage to Let (1941)

There are so many characters, so many tinges of British accent, and such a parade of turncoats and double agents it's difficult to quite follow everything here. But stick it out. Or, in the extreme case (which I admit taking) see it twice. It's "quite worth it, I dare say."

A comedy on the surface, and quite funny all through, it's also a serious war movie, shot and released in the thick of World War II. The key theme is actually not the bomb sight design and the attempt by the government to protect its secret from spies. It's about loose lips. And looking for traitors among us.

So, here at this cottage near where a top scientist is working on a secret weapon idea, there is a parade of suspicious characters, and I mean characters, including the redoubtable Alastair Sim. There is a nutty family running the place, a couple of love affairs in the air, a bunch of secret messages sent by various messengers. I count rough twelve characters who matter, and if some are very minor, they are critical in some small way to the outcome. Allegiances are everything.

What makes the movie actually remarkable is that it holds to together so well. And it has a tight economy to the editing, and a fluidity to the filming, that keeps it really going. For some reason the lighting in the first half, and the interior scenes in general, is bright and flat (no Warner Bros. influence here I guess) but then there are some scenes later that are extraordinary in their dramatic atmosphere.

In fact, there are some ideas that prefigure famous later ones, like the auction that is interrupted by spies and good guys by bidding incorrectly, stolen by Hitchcock in "North by Northwest." Or even the ending which is a slim version of the mirror shootout by Welles in "Lady from Shanghai." It's quite an exciting finish (never mind the goofy millstone moment, which you'll see).

Anthony Asquith, the director, went on to make some mainstays of post-war British cinema, and that's yet another reason to appreciate this, as a precursor to his own work. But it also reveals a real intelligence for the movies. Evident and appreciated.

In the big view, it isn't the plot, which is necessarily contrived to give a message to the nation, but the many pieces, and the writing and acting in those pieces, that make the movie really strong. The one version out there (streaming on Netflix) is a weak print (and there is no DVD release, apparently) so the sound and even the richness of the visuals will hamper a good appreciation. Even so, give it a look. Alertly.


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