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Rockets Galore (1958)
Creaks and groans to a predictable conclusion
Based on one of the stories by the famous Compton Mackenzie, this is a feeble film about the residents of a small island in the Hebredies and their attempts to prevent the RAF building a rocket base on their island.
I fell asleep (which is unusual).
The main benefit it that it is in colour. Enjoy the scenery and ignore the plot.
Wheel of Fate (1953)
Short and dramatic story of conflicting brothers
Wheel of Fate is a different to the majority of films make the Rank during this period. It comes from a different studio. It comes across as a shorter, more direct film with less stage-setting and plot development and a focus on getting the story across.
The story is about two very different brothers, who run a small garage, owned by their eccentric and bed ridden father. They fall into conflict over a nightclub singer.
The film is a bit like reading a short story - expect it to happen quickly.
Quest for Love (1971)
A romantic seventies sci-fi classic
There is a man out there with dangerous sideburns, who can also travel across to a parallel universe. Sounds unlikely?
Quest for Love isn't such a bad movie, in the sense it could be far worse. It's the story of a physicist who develops the technology to travel to a parallel universe where the same characters exist, but they have different lives. He turns out to be a brilliant novelist but a right swine to Ottile, his wife.
The story is OK. But the clothes, cars and interior decor is great. And check out Heathrow airport in the mid 1970's. It looks empty.
Once a Jolly Swagman (1949)
Not many swagmen to be seen
Dirk Bogarde appears in this film as a young, working class lad who achieves fame and fortune (and a nasty little moustache) as a speedway bike rider during the 1940's. Of course, his career is interrupted by the war.
It is a little laboured at times, but you have to admire the cameramen who created the footage of the races with such limited technology.
I spent a lot of the film trying to work out where the swagman theme was supposed to come from - aside from using Waltzing Matilda as the theme. Later on I realised his faithful wife Pat, and her brother, were supposed to be Australian. The brother later retired to Australia to go 'sheep farming'.
Account Rendered (1957)
Workable and enjoyable
This strangely short murder-mystery is a good reminder of why the English film industry was so strong during this period.
The cast of relative unknowns (with the exception of a young Honor Blackman) deliver a tight story in a precise way. The sub texts of the story are not laboured, creating an involving story.
It's worth the time.
Avoid at all costs
This abomination, which was written by John Cleese and friends, represents the very low point of English film making. Leaving aside the excesses of the 1970's, this is a racist, sexist, and very unfunny movie with so little plot it is amazing.
Re-arrange your sock drawer instead. The time would be better spent.
The Young Lovers (1954)
Low key and unconvincing love story
This is one of the many films that have a promising synopsis and fail to really engage.
It's the story of two young lovers who meet at the ballet in London. One works in the code room at the US Embassy, the other the daughter of the Soviet ambassador. They decide that love transcends politics and run away together. They have an unconvincing escape across the channel during a violent storm and are last seen sailing away together (to where no-one is sure).
All the potential for drama and conflict between the two bitter enemies is lost and the actors themselves seem unconvinced.
Forbidden Cargo (1954)
Want glamour and travel? Join HM customs...
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.
Madness of the Heart (1949)
An awful contrived story
No one is pretending that a movie made in 1949 will be the latest. However this feeble story about a woman who goes temporarily blind, and who is trying to be killed off by her evil in-laws, stretched credibility to the very end. Students of French movie accents may find it interesting, as will those studying the geography of the French coast, and airport terminal design in the 1950's.
Operation Amsterdam (1959)
Well made wartime action story
Operation Amsterdam is a pleasant surprise. It has both a strong story and some unusual cinematic touches to keep the viewer interested.
The story of the British secret service agents who are sent to Amsterdam to recover industrial diamonds before the German invasion is a familiar one, and their eventual safe escape is predictable enough.
What interested me was the atmosphere of fear and bleakness that the producers manage to convey. The empty streets, in bright sunlight; the columns of fleeing people; the confusion of not knowing who are enemies or friends, makes for a better than average effects.
Added to this a score made only with drums, and some very abrupt editing that is almost painful to watch, makes this a worthwhile watch.