In the 1950s, an American comes to Britain to investigate the murky circumstances of his brother's death that occurred during a WW2 commando raid in Nazi-occupied France.In the 1950s, an American comes to Britain to investigate the murky circumstances of his brother's death that occurred during a WW2 commando raid in Nazi-occupied France.In the 1950s, an American comes to Britain to investigate the murky circumstances of his brother's death that occurred during a WW2 commando raid in Nazi-occupied France.
Ray Milland on a Quest for the Truth
Jacques Tourneur directed this postwar British mystery film very well, and the cinematography by Ossie Morris and camera operating by Arthur Ibbetson were superior, and added to the film's atmosphere considerably. Ray Milland is the lead actor, playing an American who visits England and wants to find out how and why his younger brother had died during the War. The brother (not seen in the film) had joined up as a British commando in 1940 and was mysteriously killed on a commando raid 'with not a German in sight'. Was he murdered by a comrade? Milland sets about visiting in turn all of the 12 men of the commando unit, only to discover that many of them are dead and one died only two weeks before his arrival in England after suggesting that the brother had been a murder victim. One of the surviving men is an East End wide boy played by Naunton Wayne, who is usually a bumbling gent but on this occasion is a convincing used car salesman. His girl friend 'Bubbles' who even does a singing number is played by the ever-effervescent Dora Bryan. A deeply sinister performance is contributed by Marius Goring, as a gay ballet dancer who knows how to handle a gun and whose role in the story only becomes clear at the end. Patricia Roc is the love interest, who alternates between being bouncy and adorable and being the most horrible spoilt brat who pouts if kept waiting for a few minutes and accuses Milland of not being dressed properly when he is in a mere suit and tie (she snottily points out that he has 'ruined her evening' because he hasn't had time to change into black tie). She really needed several good spankings, but does not get one, unfortunately. Milland is very effective in this mysterious tale, exerting extraordinary self-control in the face of extreme provocation from the uncommunicative and rude former comrades of his brother. There are some fine shots of the Scottish highlands as Milland pursues the truth north of the border, where the whistling of a folk tune called 'White Heather' takes on significance in terms of identifying the killer. This is a fine film without pretensions, where the intrigue is unravelled like a thread and leads Milland to strange discoveries about what really happened.
- Dec 7, 2008
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