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In a rural English hospital during WWII, a postman dies on the operating table. One of the nurses states that she has proof of who the murderer is. The facetious Inspector Cockrill suspects one of the five doctors and nurses who were in the operating theater to be the assassin. But four poisonous pills have disappeared....Written by
Jean-Marie Berthiaume <email@example.com>
Original literary source: "Green for Danger", novel by Christianna Brand, published by The Bodley Head, London, 1945. See more »
As the movie takes place in 1944 whilst Britain is being attacked by V1 bombs ('doodlebugs'), the windows and glass doors in the hospital should have been taped to prevent glass being shattered by an explosion and blowing in on people inside. See more »
The quintessential 40s British whodunit, Green for Danger satisfies even as it leaves a trail of plot holes that even Alistair Sims' rather self-satisfied Inspector Cockrill would have spotted. Perhaps it satisfies despite its flaws because it embodies all the good things about British films back then. The writers assume a level of intelligence on the part of their viewers and possession of an attention span that would seem unattainable to many of today's MTV generation. Time is taken to develop characters and establish relationships instead of telling the audience everything about a character that is necessary only for the purpose of driving the plot along.
Alistair Sim, sporting a typically smug grin when he's not ducking airplanes, plays Inspector Cockrill, who is called upon to investigate the murder of a postman on the operating table at a quaint hospital full of wooden beams and flagstone floors. He doesn't appear until midway through the film – although his voice can be heard on the narration from the outset – and his dry wit peps things up immeasurably. We are presented with the usual group of suspects: Leo Genn as a vaguely slimy Lothario who wastes no time in pursuing the lovely nurse Fredericka (Sally Gray) the moment she breaks off her engagement to a young Trevor Howard; buxom Megs Jenkins, a matronly figure even then although she was still in her twenties, and a nurse who borders on the edge of hysteria nearly all the time. They were all present at an operation in which poor old Moore Marriott was pumped full of Co2, and are all, therefore, suspected of his murder.
The film keeps you guessing throughout – knowing very little about the film before I watched it, I couldn't even figure out who the second victim was going to be for a while: the plot seemed to be setting up one character for the fall before turning the spotlight on someone else entirely. A couple of red herrings throw you off the trail quite nicely, and Inspector Cockrill's confidence proves to be monumentally misplaced. The twist at the end is truly sublime, and the look on Alistair Sim's face when all becomes clear is one of those cinematic moments that live long in the memory. It's all very quaint and old-fashioned now, but it still provides some solid entertainment.
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