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This British comedy mystery was missing a couple of essential things: Gaumont-British or Gainsborough as the production company, 1935, plenty of lively interpolative music and a handful of songs to pad out the dolorous 65 minute running time. Never mind about the acting or story. It was a deliberately old-fashioned film mainly intended for the then older generation to enjoy, but I doubt whether they left the cinema with happy feelings engendered; and TV was making it so much easier to feel disappointed. It had as main characters old stalwarts Jack Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge, Joss Ambler, even A. E. Matthews however time had taken its toll on them - alongside the photogenic Diana Dors for whom time was just beginning.
Young married couple take possession of house in country when a slightly cuckoo middle aged lady arrives (Courtneidge of course), decides to spend the night with them but leaves in an apparently murdered condition. The husband Patrick Holt is a crime story writer to whom local police Inspector Ambler takes an unreasonable exception as competition, the wife played by Dors is scatty until the last frantic five minutes. The film veers from interesting socially to embarrassing with pregnant pauses and blank looks to (very) occasionally witty dialogue: "The police have no right to infest my premises","Infest?","The word was chosen with care". Jack as the police constable and Cicely were generally awkward, some might say even when young, and just too out of practice by now for movies - what they could get away in 1935 was impossible by 1955. At the climax she really should've had a jaunty song and ungainly dance to burst into; and attention must paid to the denouement to understand it, that is, if still awake.
Maybe another sad thing is that it's probably easier and more cost-effective for the BFI to restore and release films like this in better condition rather than older, more worthy and more urgent cases. The production company Nettlefold which made this dire effort had been in operation more or less on a shoestring budget since 1895 but TV finally helped close it down in 1961. I've no objection to seeing this to say hello again to some old friends especially as it's so short, but it's difficult for even me to get much more from this or recommend it. It's OK, but if you're interested be prepared for a waste of time.
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