Respectable Edmund Gwenn drops a bombshell on his family: their dull suburban life is paid for by his membership of a counterfeiting gang.
An enjoyable version of the J.B. Priestley trifle, enlivened by Gwenn's knowing performance and by the teaming of Cedric Hardwicke and Ethel Coleridge as a couple of sponging relatives.
Script adapt.: Gordon Wellesley, Anthony Kimmins. (o.a. J.B. Priestley)
Director: Carol Reed
Players: Victoria Hopper, Ethel Coleridge, Katie Johnson, Francis James, James Harcourt, David Hawthorne, Frederick Burtwell, Terence Conlin, Norman Walker, Tom Gill, Arnold Lucy
Launder and Gilliat's comedy about a beauty contest winner hasn't really aged well but it does have its compensations. The title role is taken by Pauline Stroud, but the real interest today lies in spotting future stars Diana Dors, Dana Wynter, Joan Collins and Kay Kendall as well as a host of established names such as Dennis Price and Stanley Holloway and many others. Best of all is Alastair Sim in his single scene as a has-been producer ruminating on the state of the British Film Industry. It's four minutes of sheer magic and makes it worth sitting through the rest of the movie.
Script: Frank Launder, Val Valentine
Director: Frank Launder
Players: John McCallum, Gladys Henson, George Cole, Bernadette O'Farrell, Eddie Byrne, Renee Houston, Dora Bryan, Sidney James, Michael Ripper, Charlotte Mitchell, Toke Townley, Richard Wattis, Googie Withers
Classic train thriller with Margaret Lockwood trying to convince fellow passengers that a little old lady has been abducted. Hitchcock was a late arrival on the project but he made the most of Launder and Gilliat's surprisingly saucy script.
Script adapt.: Sydney Gilliat, Frank Launder. (o.a. Ethel Lina White)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Players: Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers, Dame May Whitty, Naunton Wayne, Basil Radford, Mary Clare, Emil Boreo, Googie Withers, Philip Leaver, Catherine Lacey, Sally Stewart, Josephine Wilson
Anna Neagle adds Florence Nightingale to her gallery of British heroines, and does the usual thorough job.
Script adapt.: Warren Chetham Strode. (Reginald Berkeley)
Director: Herbert Wilcox
Players: Michael Wilding, Gladys Young, Felix Aylmer, Sybil Thorndike, Peter Graves, Julian d'Albie, Arthur Young, Edwin Styles, Barbara Couper, Helen Shingler, Helena Pickard, Rosalie Crutchley, Maureen Pryor, Henry Edwards, Andrew Osborn
Classic Ealing comedy, but am I the only one who thinks it over-rated? Little old lady accidentally outwits a gang of thugs and ends up with the loot. Katie Johnson is the old lady and Alec Guinness (overplaying) is the leader of the gang.
Script: William Rose
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Players: Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner, Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Connor, Edie Martin, Stratford Johns, Sam Kydd, Lucy Griffiths
Film version of the stage show Me and My Girl, taking its title from the show's most famous song. Lupino Lane recreates his original role.
Script adapt.: Clifford Grey, Robert Edmunds, John Paddy Carstairs. (o.a. Louis Rose, Douglas Furber, Noel Gay)
Director: Albert de Courville
Players: Sally Gray, Enid Stamp Taylor, Seymour Hicks, Norah Howard, Wallace Lupino, Wilfrid Hyde White
Wartime tribute to the nursing profession. Rosamund John gives up architecture in order to look after the sick, and finds romance with patient Stewart Granger.
Script adapt.: Elizabeth Baron, Roland Pertwee, Major Neilson. (o.a. Monica Dickens)
Director: Maurice Elvey
Players: Margaret Vyner, Godfrey Tearle, Sophie Stewart, John Laurie, Cathleen Nesbitt, Joyce Grenfell, Megs Jenkins, Wylie Watson, Ernest Thesiger, Brefni O'Rorke, Leslie Dwyer, Aubrey Mallalieu
With her son about to be hanged for murdering his girlfriend, a mother tries to make a last-minute appeal to the judge who sentenced him.
Part of Fred Paul's Grand Guinol series, overly dependent on the last-minute twist.
Script: George Saxon
Director: Fred Paul
Players: Jack Raymond, Jeanne di Ramo, Henry Doughty
Actor, writer, director Emlyn Williams is the local yob who returns to his hated Welsh village in order to flood it for a new reservoir. Edith Evans is the old woman who stands in his way. It's all a bit too slow moving to be the Victorian melodrama it wants to be, but Evans milks every scene she's in for all it's got.
Script: Emlyn Williams
Director: Emlyn Williams
Players: Richard Burton, Anthony James, Barbara Couper, Hugh Griffith, Roddy Hughes
Minor Alec Guinness in which he plays a dying man who decides to have one last fling at a seaside resort. Written by J.B. Priestley (a rare original film script), this is pleasant enough film but with an unnecessary twist ending.
Script: J.B. Priestly
Director: Henry Cass
Players: Beatrice Campbell, Kay Walsh, Bernard Lee, Wilfrid Hyde White, Muriel George, Helen Cherry, Sidney James, Ernest Thesiger, Esma Cannon
What is it with the British and trains? There are so many memorable movies that feature them. The Lady Vanishes, Murder on the Orient Express, Sleeping Car to Trieste, Rome Express, Oh, Mr Porter!, even Night Mail. Add The Last Journey to the list in a place of honour.
The story is simple. A train driver (Julian Mitchell) on his last journey before retirement thinks his fireman is seeing his wife and decides to run the train into the buffers when they reach the terminus. Well, that plot was old-hat even before Gance made La Roue, but it's still serviceable here. The train has the usual cross-section of society on board: con-artist, bigamist, cute children, funny foreigners. All heading for the big smash.
For a Julius Hagen quota-quickie, the film looks remarkably expensive. Maybe that's because GWR gave a lot of co-operation and we're spared the embarrassing models that mar a lot of Hitchcock's films. Only rarely does the footage look speeded up for dramatic effect.
Vorhaus gets some wonderful sequences out of his trains. The most memorable is when the train first speeds through a station and the air-blast knocks flat the people standing on the platform. This sequence is repeated at the next station but this time is played for laughs.
The performances are mostly adequate. Julian Mitchell overplays the cackling madness bit in a manner that Tod Slaughter would find excessive, but the rest of the cast are good without being outstanding. Mention should go to Hugh Williams playing a villain for a change, and Sydney Fairbrother as the temperance worker leafleting the passengers.
It's fast and entertaining, using virtually every filmic device Vorhaus could squeeze in, and deserves to be rescued from the quota-quickie ghetto it's been placed in.
Script adapt.: H Fowler Mear, John Soutar. (o.a. J. Jefferson Farjeon)
Director: Bernard Vorhaus
Players: Godfrey Tearle, Judy Gunn, Nelson Keys, Mickey Brantford, Frank Pettingell, Olga Lindo
An entertainer is called up on the outbreak of war and makes himself useful organising a concert party.
As ever with John Baxter, the plot is just an excuse for for a roll-call of popular entertainers doing their stuff.
Script: Bridget Boland, Austin Melford
Director: John Baxter
Players: Tommy Trinder, Jean Colin, Edward Lexy, Anthony Hulme, Marjorie Browne, Ida Barr, Charles Victor, Peter Gawthorne, Wally Patch, Warren Jenkins, John Laurie, Leonard Morris, Henry Lytton, Billy Percy, Geraldo and his orchestra, Darville and Shires, The Three Maxwells, The Joan Davies Dancers, Sudney Burchell, The Julias Ladies' Choir, The Georgian Singers, The Scottish Sextette
When an elderly prankster dies he leaves £50,000 to four of his relatives providing they perform some ridiculous tasks. Alastair Sim is the standout as the novelist who has to spend a month in jail, but still wants to keep the affections of his fiancée: judge's daughter Joyce Grenfell. It's a delightful comedy with wonderful moments and some nicely judged serious bits from Fay Compton as the domestic tyrant who has to become a maid.
Script: Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies
Director: Mario Zampi
Players: Guy Middleton, George Cole, Beatrice Campbell, Veronica Hurst, A.E. Matthews, Anthony Steele, John Laurie, Eleanor Summerfield, Ronald Adam, Leslie Dwyer, Ernest Thesiger, Hugh Griffith, Michael Pertwee, Audrey Hepburn, Charlotte Mitchell, Noel Howlett
The French Revolution. A young aristo can save his mother's life if he returns a necklace to France. But its current owner is a beautiful English lady.
A late entry in cinema's operetta cycle is a surprisingly good vehicle for singing duo Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.
Script adapt.: Jack Worthington. (o.a. Ingram d'Abbes)
Director: Paul L. Stein
Players: Peter Graves, Felix Aylmer, Francis L. Sullivan, Paul Dupuis, Chili Bouchier, Ralph Truman, Charles Goldner, John Ruddock, Jack Melford, Hay Petrie, Frederick Burtwell, Anthony Nicholls, D. Whittingham, George de Warfz, John Serret, Clare Lindsay, Harry Fine, Griffiths Moss, Mary Martlew, Geoffrey Wilmer, Laurence Archer, James Hayter, John Clifford, Andre Belhomme, Hugh Owens, Harry Terry, Beatrice Campbell, Robert Conner, George Dudley, Maurice Bannister
Mild-mannered bank clerk Alec Guinness and novelty gift manufacturer Stanley Holloway plan a gold bullion robbery and to sneak the loot out of the country disguised as Eiffel Towers. One of Ealing's most joyous comedies, with an Oscar-winning script and perfect performances. Watch out for Audrey Hepburn's bit part.
Script: T.E.B. Clarke
Director: Charles Crichton
Players: Sidney James, Alfie Bass, Marjorie Fielding, John Gregson, Clive Morton, Ronald Adam, Sydney Tafler, Edie Martin, Arthur Mullard
Michael Redgrave is the ex-crook desperate to keep his lawyer son from finding out about his wicked past. Sounds like the plot of a po-faced melodrama, but it's actually a joyous comedy.
Script adapt.: T.E.B. Clarke, Patrick Campbell, Vivienne Knight. (o.a. Denys Roberts)
Director: Charles Crichton
Players: Jeremy Burnham, Elizabeth Sellars, Ronald Squire, George Coulouris, Joan Hickson, Lionel Jeffries, Harold Goodwin, Meredith Edwards, Brenda Bruce, David Hutcheson, John le Mesurier, Michael Trubshaw, Reginald Beckwith, Moultrie Kelsall, Mary Kerridge, Irene Handl, Allan Cuthbertson, Sam Kydd, John Hewer, John Warwick
Ian Hunter, penniless and idle, goes in search of a heiress.
Script adapt.: (o.a.) Gerard Fairlie
Director: Michael Powell
Players: Claire Luce, Bernard Nedell, Bobbie Comber, Denys Blakelock, Marjorie Gaskell, Pamela Carme, Harold Warrender, Sara Allgood, Michael Shepley, Miles Malleson, Fred Withers, Frank Morgan, Fewlass Llewellyn, Paul Blake