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Unusual film from the Boultings
This is a film that was made by the Boultings at about the time they were preparing I'm Alright Jack.It contains some pretty odd characters.Virginia Maskell who was engaged to amputee Ian Bannen but is still living with him.Bannen himself playing the amputee who for some reason has to have most things done for him despite the fact that even in the sixties prosthetic limbs were available.There is also the secret service portrayed by Nigel Stock as bumbling but effective.At the time this film was made the country was getting over the shock of the defections to Russia and the errors made by the secret service.Donald Pleasance is effective as the seedy go between.Peter Cushing also stands out as the head of the department,whilst Tony Britton makes the best of a rather thankless role.A very interest and almost unknown film.
A Woman of Mystery (1958)
Promising Start But Dull Execution
Made by the Danzigers for the bottom half of a United Artists double bill.This film starts with a promising premise but falls away to become rather routine and by the end rather boring.Dermot Walsh is acceptable as the lead.It makes a change from the American fading stars that were usually parachuted in for the American box office.Clearly this indicates that this was not a consideration.The film is told in flashback which I always consider an unsatisfactory device.Difficult though to understand why the periodical would take such an interest in the death of a suicide nor how it would be that the coroner would miss such an important issue as a bruise on the corpse.
King of the Ritz (1933)
Not One Of His Best
This film is unusual in that it was a joint venture between Gaumont British and British Lion.It was produced by British Lion and distributed by Gaumont.That probably explains why the film has survived when many British Lion films of this era are missing.The film is,as often,based on a play.Stanley Lupino is the hall porter in the Ritz Hotel.He has control over the staff and knows what all the guests are up to.He has to deal with a bunch of eccentric guests including a King who has only 326 subjects.He saves a Duchess from being robbed.She decides to marry Lupino and takes him back to her stately home.Everything is falling apart,tables,chairs.Lupino actually fancies a maid,Gina Malo,so he goes back to the hotel and they decide to marry.The plot is not that good and there is not enough comical turns by Lupino.The music and dances are very disappointing,particularly bearing in mind that Noel Gay is involved in the musical side.This film is not nearly as good as his ABPC films.
The Siege of Pinchgut (1959)
EAling goes out with a bang
One of the previous reviewers stated erroneously that Ealing only lasted 20 years.That is completely wrong.A studio has been on the present site for around 100 years.In 1930 a company was formed called Associated Talking Pictures headed by Basil Dean.This made films for release by Radio Pictures.Trouble was Radio wanted them as supports for their American imports whereas Dean wanted them for top of the bill.So they split from Radio.Dean was ousted in 1938 because he liked to use his wife,Victoria Hopper,in colossal flops such as "Whom The Gods Love".It was at this point that Balcon,who had left MGM British became head of the studios,the name changed to Ealing and it became world famous.However by 1955 various problems beset Balcon and he had no option but to sell the studios,where films are made to this day.Balcon had a distribution deal with MGM and rented space at their Boreham Wood studios,where the likes of "Davy" and "Dunkirk" were made.However MGM was in turmoil and Balcon left for ABPC who distributed this film.However films had moved on since his heyday and so the company was disbanded at the end of the year.It is actually a rather good film,even if Aldo Ray is less than convincing as an Aussie.It is an entertaining film and a fine testament to Ealing and Balcon.
The Interrupted Journey (1949)
Whilst this is a reasonably entertaining entry in the British Noir,nevertheless the writers have used many influences whilst writing the script.The first and most obvious influence is "Dead Of Night",albeit that the chain is broken by the ending.The second and more obvious is "Woman in The Window" which starred Edward G Robinson.In that film he took an overdose at the end as he was bound to be caught as the killer.It all turns out to be a dream.The climax is similar here in that Todd is about to be shot by Gauge,sees the smoke from the gun and then segues back to the train.It had all been a bad dream!A good cast and lots of expressionism add up to a film which arrives at its destination on time.
Guilt Is My Shadow (1950)
Dull Overlong Thriller
Jamie the bad sheep of the family gets involved in a robbery and flees to his relatives farm in the west country.subsequently his wife arrives.however the wife falls for farm life and Patrick Holt simultaneously.The wife finds Jamie stealing money from a tin box.she struggles with him and eventually hits him on the head.he dies and is buried on the farm.his absence is noted and eventually the police come to search the farm but cannot find the body.however in one of those logic defying moments that happen so often in films of that era it is clear that the wife will confess to the police.it is extremely slow and in the end rather dull and disappointing.
Heavy handed Nazi propaganda
When this film was released the Nazis and the Soviets were at war rather than allies.So clearly the Nazis had to justify their invasion of Russia by showing how cruel,and deceitful and merciless were the Russians.the problem with this film is that it is rather ponderous and at 97 minutes far too long to hold peoples attention.As is usual in this type of film the Russians,or however is the enemy is shown in the most unflattering light possible and the Nazis in an extremely heroic light.The bombing of Rotterdam being shown as a heroic venture to free the captives of the Russians rather than the reality which was the bombing and invasion of a hitherto neutral country.Such things as truth never bothered the Nazis.
An Honourable Murder (1960)
An Odd Film From The Danzigers
Clearly the Danzigers wanted to find a story to fit into their schedule at as little cost as possible.So they chose this modern day 65 minute adaptation of "Julius Caesar".It is set in a boardroom and is very static ,and worst of all it is extremely dull.There are a lot of interesting actors appearing not least John Longden whose career stretched back to the silent films,and appeared in the first ever British all talking picture "Blackmail".The problem is that although they are speaking a very familiar text,albeit adapted,it just comes out as extremely boring.It is difficult to care whether or not Longden will be voted off the board and how the shareholders will react.
Sands of the Desert (1960)
A Little Goes A Long Way
Charlie Drake became a star through his work on TV.Firstly on children's TV with Mick and Montmorency and then The Worker.His origins were in the music halls and his speciality was slapstick.Given that he was short and could sing one assumes that Associated British were trying to see if he could rival the box office success achieved by Rank's Norman Wisdom.Now I am not a Wisdom fan but Wisdom was far superior to Drake.It also appears that Rank spent more money on Wisdom than Associated did on Drake.Everything about this film is shoddy.The film is studio bound with poor acting and a truly awful script.Drake tries the facial tics that worked for him on the small screen but they are simply excruciating.If there was ever any humour in this film now it has evaporated so that the film is virtually unwatchable.
The Intruder (1953)
Jack Hawkins as a Compassionate Colonel
Jack Hawkins plays a Colonel of a tank corps during world war two.After the war he finds a burglar in his home who turns out to be Michael Medwin who was one of his loyalist soldiers during the war.It turns out that he is on the run from prison having been sent there for manslaughter.The story of how Medwin arrived at that spot is dealt with by flashbacks.A couple of them ,such as that with Arthur Howard,don't add very much too the plot.What this film does tell us about is the trouble that many ex servicemen had in adapting back to civilian life.The cast is excellent and is very entertaining.However I found the end a bit of a disappointment and rather an anti climax.Not seen now,it deserves an airing.There is a great cameo from Denis Price who nearly steals the film with his cowardly Captain.