Ivor Novello is suspected of being Jack the Ripper in this classic silent film. Director Alfred Hitchcock's fifth film and the one he described as being the first true Hitchcock film. It contains many elements that would become his trademarks including a walk-on for himself.
Script adapt.: Alfred Hitchcock, Eliot Stannard. (o.a. Mrs Belloc-Lowndes)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Players: June, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Malcolm Keen
Launder and Gilliat adaptation of Norman Collins' tale of a boarding house on the eve of the war. And a great job they did of it too. They filled the film with the cream of British character actors (Attenborough, Sim, Carey) right down to a young Arthur Lowe.
Script adapt.: Sidney Gilliat, J.B. Williams. (o.a. Norman Collins)
Director: Sidney Gilliat
Players: Richard Attenborough, Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, Stephen Murrey, Wylie Watson, Susan Shaw, Joyce Carey, Ivy St. Helier, Andrew Crawford, Hugh Griffith, Eleanor Summerfield, Gladys Henson, Maurice Denham
Ruinously expensive musical that stifled the film career of Sid Field and nearly finished off Kay Kendall's into the bargain. Field was one of the great theatre comics and the sequences that reproduce his sketches are worth seeing but the mawkish sentiment between him and his on-screen daughter Petula Clark sink the production.
Script: Elliot Paul, Sigfried Herzig, Val Guest
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Players: Greta Gynt, Tessie O'Shea, Claude Hulbert, Sonnie Hale, Mary Clare, Jerry Desmonde, Beryl Davis, Reginald Purdell, Susan Shaw
Jack Hawkins is the copper looking into a series of safe robberies. It's a well-made Police Procedural most notable for being the last film actually made by Ealing Studios at Ealing (the last Ealing film was the Australian The Siege of Pinchgut).
Script: Janet Green, Robert Barr, Dorothy & Campbell Christie
Director: Charles Frend
Players: John Stratton, Dorothy Alison, Geoffrey Keen, Ursula Howells, Sydney Tafler, Richard Leech, Newton Blick, Ian Bannen, Alec McCowen, Sam Kydd, Glyn Houston, Joss Ambler, Nicholas Parsons, Harry Locke, William Mervyn, Harold Goodwin, Stratford Johns
In order to decide who gets the right to go out with a pretty girl, two golfers embark on a marathon cross-country challenge to reach a distant pub in the least number of strokes.
Probably the best of the PG Wodehouse golfing adaptations with absurdity piling on absurdity to comic effect.
Director: Andrew P Wilson
Players: Charles Courtneige, Roger Keyes, Daphne Williams, Moore Marriott, Harry Beasley
John Mills has the long memory - out of prison after twelve years for a murder he didn't commit, he's determined to get revenge on the perjurers who put him there.
Director Robert Hamer always had a taste for the downbeat and this is one of his grimmest works. He gets a lot of atmosphere out of the locations but John Mills is no one's idea of an avenging angel no matter how hard he tries. In order to get Mills face to face with the last of his enemies, the script has to resort to the wildest of coincidences which punctures any pretence at realism; and if you can't predict how the final shoot-out will end you haven't seen enough movies.
Script adapt.: Robert Hamer, Frank Harvey. (o.a. Howard Clewes)
Director: Robert Hamer
Players: Elisabeth Sellars, John McCallum, Eva Burgh, Geoffrey Keen, Michael Martin-Harvey, John Slater, Thora Hird, Vida Hope, Harold Lang, Mary Mackenzie, Laurence Naismith, Peter Jones, Christopher Beeny
Gracie Fields battles to save an old market from developers.
Enjoyable tale marred by a downbeat ending in which Gracie drives off alone to a fade out rather than a big number.
Script: Gordon Wellesley, J.B. Priestley
Director: Basil Dean
Players: Douglas Wakefield, Harry Tate, Alfred Drayton, Morris Harvey, Vivien Leigh, Robb Wilton, Huntley Wright, Tommy Fields, D.J., Williams, Kenneth Kove, Billy Nelson, Jack Melford, Maud Gill, Helen Ferrers, Norman Walker, Arthur Hambling, Kenneth More
A female singer and a male songwriter split when he becomes infatuated with an actress, but come together again for the sake of the act.
This was only her second feature, but Gracie Fields was already a huge star. It's a bit sentimental but it gives her a chance to sing a handful of songs and show her personality to its best advantage.
Script: Basil Dean, Archie Pitt, Brock Williams
Director: Basil Dean, Graham Cutts
Players: Richard Dolman, Wyn Richmond, Julian Rose, Tony de Lungo, Betty Shale, Viola Compton, Bettina Montahners
A ship's steward inherits a fortune and finds himself engaged to a girl he can't stand.
One of the films retrieved by the Missing Believed Lost hunt.
Script: Clifford Grey
Director: Walter Forde
Players: Bobby Howes, Pat Paterson, Hugh Dempster, Jean Colin, Alfred Drayton, Arthur Chesney, Clare Greet, Joseph Cunningham, Walter Forde
Nigel Bruce is his lordship torn between Gertrude Lawrence and Benita Hume. Apart from a rare screen appearance by Sir Gerald du Maurier, the only point of interest is that it was produced by Alfred Hitchcock.
Script adapt.: Benn W. Levy, Edwin Greenwood, Gilbert Wakefield. (o.a. Horace Annesley Vachell)
Director: Benn W. Levy
Players: A. Bromley Davenport, Molly Lamont, Clare Greet, Betty Norton, Harold Meade, Hugh E. Wright, Hal Gordon
Austin Trevor's third and final attempt at being Hercule Poirot on screen is not a great success. The film lacks the style and the energy necessary to bring off a good whodunit. It would be over thirty years before anyone attempted Poirot on screen again.
Script adapt.: H. Fowler Mear
Director: Henry Edwards
Players: Jane Carr, Richard Cooper, John Turnbull, Michael Shepley, Esme Percy
When a new government forces a toff to take in a homeless family, romantic complications ensue.
Mildly diverting comedy given a boost by Betty Stockfeld's effortless playing. She's not even fazed by having to fall for grumpy pudding Henry Wilcoxon.
Script adapt.: Dorothy Rowan. (o.a. John Hastings)
Director: Henry Edwards
Players: Fred Kerr, David Horne, Henry Wilcoxon, Betty Stockfeld, Kate Cutler, Frank Bertram, Joan Marion, April Dawn, Dering Wells, Frederick Ross
17th Century Devon, and the Doone family are terrorising the county. When a local farmer falls in love with one of the Doone girls, no one is safe from the family's vengeance.
After a rather confusing scene-setting opening, we meet young Jan Ridd. He stumbles into the secret valley of the Doones and meets young Lorna Doone. They're instantly smitten with each other, despite the danger. Sadly their plight is less than convincing since they're played by two non-acting child actors. However, they soon grow up to be John Loder and Victoria Hopper, so that's probably good casting.
Once the grownups take over the plot, things start to move. Ridd and Doone meet again and start a rather wet romance. When the romance is discovered by the Doones, all hell breaks loose and the film turns into an all-action two-fisted Western that's really rather enjoyable.
Lorna Doone was produced and directed by Basil Dean and its main aim was to make Victoria Hopper a star. Miss Hopper had just become the third Mrs Dean, and her husband was determined that the world should fall in love with her as heavily as he did. He believed that his opera-singing wife would add a classy tone to his films to compensate for all that low-brow rubbish he was forced to produce with George Formby and Gracie Fields. Of course, the low-brow rubbish was highly profitable and highly enjoyable, while the classy stuff he preferred stiffed at the box office.
Dean chucked a lot of money at the film with plenty of well-publicised location shooting in the book's locations. There are also some great action sequences particularly the attack on the Doone's home where lots of buildings get set alight or blown up by cannons.
Of all the films he made with Victoria Hopper, Lorna Doone is probably the best. She's well-cast as the fey heroine, though her habit of singing every so often gets a bit annoying. Her main trouble is that, as a type, her sort of passive maiden went out of fashion before the talkies arrived. Also, when she stands next to John Loder she scarcely comes up to his navel so the love scenes are rather chucklesome, particularly since he's saddled with a wig that makes him look like Bernard Breslaw at his most gormless.
Lorna Doone, if it's remembered at all these days, is best remembered as Margaret Lockwood's first film. She plays Ridd's sister with enough spirit and naturalness to render Hopper's performance even more old-fashioned.
Script adapt.: Dorothy Farnum, Miles Malleson, Gordon Wellesley. (o.a. R.D. Blackmore)
Director: Basil Dean
Players: Mary Clare, Frank Cellier, Roy Emerton, George Curzon, Herbert Lomas, Roger Livesey, Edward Rigby, D.A. Clarke-Smith, Lawrence Hanray, Amy Veness, Eliot Makeham, Wyndham Goldie, Betty Blythe, Norman Atkyns, Grey Blake, Alexis France, June Holden, Thea Holme, Harry Lane
A child disappears, but has it been kidnapped?
Not a bad film, and the cast list is a veritable Who's Who of British supporting actors. It also benefits from an unusually jaundiced view of 50s society.
Script: Janet Green
Director: Guy Green
Players: David Farrar, David Knight, Julia Arnall, Eleanor Summerfield, Anthony Oliver, Thora Hird, Anne Paige, Marjorie Rhodes, Anna Turner, Everley Gregg, Meredith Edwards, Irene Prador, Shirley Anne Field, Eileen Peel, Barbara Shotter, Alma Taylor, Anita Sharp Bolster, Beverley Brooks, Robert Brown, Harry Brunning, Fanny Carby, Cyril Chamberlain, Peggy Ann Clifford, Glenda Davies, Guy Deghy, Michael Ward, Fred Griffiths, Joan Hickson, Brenda Hogan, Glyn Houston, Jack McNaughton, Charlotte Mitchell, Dandy Nichols, Joan Sims, Ewen Solon, Marianne Stone, Mona Washbourne, Barbara Windsor