Forbidden Cargo (1954) Poster

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Want glamour and travel? Join HM customs...
dj_kennett18 March 2001
This movie is kind of fun. If you imagined that working from Customs was boring and uninteresting, this will change your mind. Kenyon the Customs inspector travels to the South of France, consorts with beautiful women, stays in luxury motels, and generally lives a very high life.

It's not a bad story about a brother and sister drug smuggling ring that is busted open my modest men from Customs in tweed jackets and narrow ties.
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Smuggling Does Not Pay.
gordonl567 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Forbidden Cargo – 1954 H.M. customs receives a phone call about the Royal Navy landing goods and equipment at a private bird sanctuary. Customs contacts the Navy and discovers they know nothing about it.

Inspector Nigel Patrick gets the case and stakes out the beach in question. Joyce Grenfell, the owner of the beach, says that every two weeks there is a landing. Sure enough a DUKW lands and starts off loading dozens of boxes into a large truck.

Patrick follows the truck to an abandoned WW2 airfield where the boxes are stored in an old barracks. That night Patrick breaks in and checks out the boxes. They are full of expensive French Cognac and such. The smugglers must be making fortune in evading the tax man.

Two weeks later, Patrick, along with a dozen Policemen, hide in the dunes and wait for the smugglers to show. The DUKW lands and the Police pounce grabbing the crew, the goods, and the DUKW.

Several days later, the Captain of the DUKW, Eric Pohlmann, who is out on bail pays a visit to Patrick. He offers to spill about his bosses if he can cut a deal on his smuggling charges. He gives Patrick a small bit of info as a good faith gesture. His bosses will be bringing 30 pounds of heroin into the UK in two weeks. Patrick sets up a meeting for the next day.

Pohlmann, however, does not keep the meeting. He has been fished out of the Thames in a less than breathing state. The Police find a letter with a London address and phone number.

Patrick, using a cover story that he is a insurance investigator, checks said address and finds Elizabeth Sellars and Terence Morgan. The brother and sister swear they never heard of Pohlmann.

Patrick does some more digging and finds that the two, have been travelling every two weeks to, and from the south of France.

Patrick follows them to Nice to keep an eye on them. The pair are staying on a yacht with a wealthy shipping heiress, Greta Gynt. Gynt and her man Friday, Theodore Bikel seem to be in the clear as far as Patrick can discover.

All Morgan and Sellars seem to be doing is hitting the party circuit at night and scuba diving by day.

Two weeks go by and Sellars and Morgan fly back to London. Patrick follows and reports to his boss, Jack Warner, he failed to find anything on the pair.

The only clue they have is that one of Gynt's ships is docking that day. The Customs boys board the ship and search it from stem to stern looking for the heroin. They find nothing.

They find nothing because Morgan and Sellars attached a waterproof container under the hull to hold the dope. They had done this during their scuba dives at Nice. The freighter had been docked in Nice at the time. When the ship hits the UK, Morgan will do his frogman act again and retrieve the dope.

It finally dawns on Patrick what is going on when Sellars is captured piloting a small boat near the freighter.

The police and Customs lads track down Morgan and the drugs and the chase is on. We now discover that Bikel and Gynt are in on the dope smuggling. The pair are quickly slapped in cuffs. Morgan escapes in a car but ends up at the bottom of the Thames without the benefit of his scuba gear. Case closed.

The director was Harold French. THE MAN WHO WATCHED TRAINS GO BY is his most well known film. The d of p was C.M. Pennington. His work includes, OBSESSION, DESPERATE MOMENT and 1984,


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Entertaining smuggling yarn
malcolmgsw8 February 2016
This is an entertaining smuggling yarn with an excellent cast.Nigel Patrick is good in the lead role ably supported by Jack Warner,then at the height of his Dixon of Dock Green fame.The chief villain is Terence Morgan assisted by American,Theodore Bikel.Even smaller roles are well cast.The inimitable plays the aristocratic birdwatching,and is hilarious as usual.Eric Pohlman is a gang member who wants to spill the beans to get a shorter sentence.There is a lot of cars dashing around dark London streets.Strangely the package of drugs is supposed to be at Victoria Station but it is clearly Waterloo.Shame that this film now seems to be virtually forgotten.
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Childhood nightmare
trimmerb123418 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Somewhere at the back of my mind was the memory of a film where a speeding car attempts to cross Tower Bridge just as it was opening - and fails. And here it is. It's quite a spectacular scene, making best use of one of London's best known landmarks. That the car is a Rolls Royce adds to the thrills (budgets in 1954 didn't run to crashing a modern Rolls Royce though). It forms the climax of an exciting car chase - and the demise of the villain. The inspiration may well have been the true life story not of a car jumping the bridge but on the 30th December 1952 a red bus full of passengers. By sheer good luck the other side opened more slowly and thus was slightly lower causing the bus to drop some feet but at least get across.

Like IMDb reviews, critics have very mixed opinions on this film. Halliwell, the one time doyenne critic and ITV film buyer dismissed it as "typical British thick-ear". but writer, film critic and author of "A Guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills", John Howard Reid is very complimentary about it in nearly all departments (assuming that the IMDb reviewer above is one and the same person?). I agree with but defer to his much more expert and detailed judgement. Jack Warner again has a good role as a detective - quite different to his ageing avuncular flatfoot PC George Dixon on TV.

A 6.5 out of 10
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Admirably tense and exciting!
JohnHowardReid14 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Director: HAROLD FRENCH. Original screenplay: Sydney Box. Film editor: Anne V. Coates. Photography: C. Pennington-Richards. Art director: John Howell. Costumes designed by Joan Ellacott. Furs: Calman Links Ltd. Make-up: Geoffrey Rodway. Music composed and directed by Lambert Williamson. 2nd unit director and production manager: Douglas Peirce (sic). 2nd unit photography: Peter Hennessy. Camera operator: Reginald Morris. Production controller for Pinewood Studios: Arthur Alcott. Assistant director: Ernest Morris. Sound editor: Graeme Hamilton. Sound recording: C.C. Stevens and Gordon K. McCallum. Western Electric Sound Recording. Producer: Sydney Box. Executive producer: Earl St John. Made with the co-operation of Her Majesty's Customs & Excise, the City and Metropolitan Police Forces, the Railkways Executive, the Port of London Authority, the Corporation of the City of London, and Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd (suppliers of underwater equipment). Interiors filmed at Pinewood Studios. A Sydney Box Production for London Independent Producers, presented by J. Arthur Rank.

Copyright 1954 by General Film Distributors Ltd. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release through Fine Arts Films: June 1956. U.K. release through General Film Distributors: 31 May 1954. Australian release through British Empire Films: 24 February 1956. Sydney opening at the Embassy. 7,700 feet. 85 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Customs man on the trail of a drug shipment meets a beautiful model.

COMMENT: Admirably tense and exciting with much skillful lensing on actual locations, "Forbidden Cargo" still comes across as an engrossing and suspenseful thriller.

The performances are all that could be desired. The whole cast from stars to bit players turn in highly ingratiating yet solidly naturalistic characterizations. Box's taut script, with its shrewdly observed insights into the dialogue and motivations of real people, certainly helps.

I could start by commending Jack Warner's cleverly etched Chief Investigator who is given a dynamic but agreeably bantering manner, progress through Terence Morgan's caddishly charming heavy, and end up with Hal Osmond's perkily friendly yet defensively officious luggage counterman.

Production values are remarkably high. Credits, including Harold French's tense, creatively forceful direction, Anne Coates' imaginatively rapid film editing, and the attractively moody camera- work by Pennington-Richards, are outstanding in all departments.
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