Carol Reed's tale of Berlin stars Claire Bloom as the English visitor and James Mason as the spiv she falls for. He makes a living kidnapping people wanted in the East, but she accidentally becomes a victim. It's okay but it's no Third Man.
Script adapt.: Harry Kurnitz, Eric Linklater. (o.a. Walter Ebert)
Director: Carol Reed
Players: Geoffrey Toone, Hildegarde Neff, Aribert Waescher, Ernst Schroeder
The end of the Spanish Civil War. Czech Anton Walbrook, a member of the International Brigade, is captured and later sent to work in the Sahara by the Vichy government building a railway for the Germans. He escapes with vital information, but the only way to get to London with it is for his old girlfriend to marry his old enemy. The complicated storyline was provided by Rudolph Cartier who became one of television's great producers (1984, Quatermass), but shows no sign of intelligence here.
Script: Warwick Ward, Edward Dryhurst, Margaret Steen
Director: Max Green
Players: Margaretta Scott, Reginald Tate, Mary Morris, Peter Sinclair, David Horne, Hartley Power
A film stuntman takes the wrong overcoat and finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue. Another no-star bore from director Lance Comfort.
Script: P. Manning O'Brine
Director: Lance Comfort
Players: Robert Hutton, Emerton Court, Lisa Gastoni, Leonard Sachs, Marianne Stone
Period drama in which Phyllis Calvert is treated badly by husband James Mason and even worse by best friend Margaret Lockwood. This made huge stars of Mason and Lockwood and started off the Gainsborough melodrama cycle. It was considered entertaining tosh then and it still is.
Script adapt.: Margaret Kennedy, Leslie Arliss, Doreen Montgomery. (o.a. Lady Eleanor Smith)
Director: Leslie Arliss
Players: Stewart Granger, Nora Swinburne, Helen Haye, Martita Hunt, Amy Veness, Diana King, Raymond Lovell, Beatrice Varley, Roy Emerton, A.E. Matthews
Edward Everett Horton plays the mild-mannered man whose reflection comes to life and does all the wild things he never could. It's fun and Horton was always good value for money.
Script adapt.: F. McGrew Willis, Hugh Mills. (o.a. William Garrett)
Director: Maurice Elvey
Players: Genevieve Tobin, Garry Marsh, Ursula Jeans, Alastair Sim, Renee Gadd, Viola Compton, Felix Aylmer, Stafford Hilliard
Is this the greatest comedy of all time? Maybe. It's certainly the most thought-provoking, as Capital and Labour unite to stop Alec Guinness' invention of everlasting cloth. Packed with wonderful performances, it's difficult to single out any for special praise, but I'll just mention Joan Greenwood's innocent yet sexual rich girl, Vida Hope's butch factory worker with a crush on Guinness, Ernest Thesiger's desiccated tycoon and Edie Martin's frail landlady wondering who'll want her laundry services if clothes never get dirty.
Script adapt.: (o.a.) Roger Macdougall, Alexander Mackendrick, John Dighton
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Players: Cecil Parker, Michael Gough, Howard Marion Crawford, John Ruddling, Miles Malleson, Mandy Miller, Charlotte Mitchell, Olaf Olsen, Judith Furse
The Bakiga tribe migrate through Uganda. This semi-documentary was made with an all-African cast for Group 3 but never got a cinema release.
Script: Montagu Slater
Director: Cyril Frankel
Players: Frederick Bijurenda, Violet Mukabureza, Mattayo Bukwira
Minor government clerk Norman Wisdom becomes an international figure when he gets involved with the diplomatic wrangling surrounding some Pacific islands.
An unpromising subject produces what might be Wisdom's funniest film. It certainly has less of the sentimentality that ruined his previous film One Good Turn. For nostalgia fans the highlight is the chase sequence through TV studios in which he gets to wreck some well known programmes including Fabian of the Yard, The Grove Family and Philip Harben's cookery programme.
Script: John Paddy Carstairs, Vernon Sylvaine
Director: John Paddy Carstairs
Players: Lana Morris, Belinda Lee, Jerry Desmonde, Karel Stepanek, Garry Marsh, Inia Te Wiata, Evelyn Roberts, Violet Fairbrother, Martin Miller, Eugene Deckers, Hugh Morton, Lisa Gastoni, Charles Hawtrey, A.J. "Man Mountain" Dean, Bruce Seton, Macdonald Hobley, Michael Ward, Peggy Ann Clifford
Boris Karloff is the mad scientist with a mind transplanting machine. Anna Lee is the girl he fancies but she fancies John Loder. What can Karloff do? Hm! Robert Stephenson's direction and Karloff's single-minded performance make this a fun thirties horror.
Script: John L. Balderston, L. DuGarde Peach, Sidney Gilliat
Director: Robert Stevenson
Players: Frank Cellier, Donald Calthrop, Cecil Parker, Lyn Harding, Clive Morton, D.J. Williams, Brian Pawley
What would you do if you could do anything? That's what Roland Young finds out when some passing Gods decide to use him as an experiment. No doubt you'd start out by performing a few conjuring tricks, move on to exploring the possibilities of making loads of money, and finish by destroying the world. Just like Young.
After the difficulties in the making of Things to Come you'd think Alexander Korda would have steered well away from H. G. Wells. But they got together again for this fantasy.
The special effects, while primitive by modern standards, are effective. Young's performance strikes the right note of bewildered determination and helps convince us even when the effects fail.
There's more to enjoy here that just special effects. There are early performances from Ralph Richardson, Joan Hickson and George Sanders (playing the God Indifference with the sort of bored sneer that would be the hallmark of his career). There's also a great score from Mischa Spoliansky which nicely underpins the comedy.
As with Things to Come, The Man Who Could Work Miracles gets bogged down in political debate. It's interesting to watch the debate between democracy and fascism which was so hot in the 30s, but it does detract from the fun. Welles seems to be endorsing a sort of benevolent dictatorship again, as in Things to Come, but it's significant that this dictator cocks it up and kills everyone.
With a tighter script this could have been a classic, but it's still well worth a look.
Script: H.G. Wells
Director: Lothar Mendes
Players: Edward Chapman, Ernest Thesiger, Joan Gardner, Sophie Stewart, Robert Cochran, Lawrence Hanray, George Zucco, Wallace Lupino, Lady Tree, Wally Patch, Bernard Nedell, Bruce Winston, Torin Thatcher, Ivan Brandt, Mark Daly
After blundering into an assassination attempt, young English couple Leslie Banks and Edna Best have their daughter kidnapped to ensure their silence. This film was unavailable for many years thanks to the glossier remake of the fifties, but many people rate it as far superior.
Script: A.R. Rawlinson, Edwin Greenwood, Emlyn Williams, Charles Bennett
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Players: Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield, Pierre Fresnay, Cicely Oates, D.A. Clarke-Smith, George Curzon, Henry Oscar
And who can blame him when they all look like Moira Shearer? With a script by Terence Rattigan, this is a nicely witty comedy.
Script adapt.: Terence Rattigan
Director: Harold French
Players: John Justin, Gladys Cooper, Roland Culver, Denholm Elliott, Harry Andrews, Joan Benham, Jeremy Spencer, Melvyn Hayes
True story of the hoax that convinced the Germans we weren't going to invade Sicily.
Script adapt.: Nigel Balchin. (o.a. Ewen Montagu)
Director: Ronald Neame
Players: Stephen Boyd, Clifton Webb, Gloria Graham, Robert Flemyng, Josephine Griffin, Laurence Naismith, Geoffrey Keen, Moultrie Kelsall, Cyril Cusack, Andre Morell, Michael Horden, Allan Cuthbertson, Joan Hickson, Terence Longden, Gibb McLaughlin, Miles Malleson, William Russell, Richard Wattis, Wolf Frees, Brian Oulton, Ronald Adam