Two families argue in a new money/ old money dispute. Hitchcock can't quite get Galsworthy's play right on the screen. There's such a huge difference between the original material and the "opening out" stuff it feels like two different films jammed together.
Script adapt.: Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville. (o.a. John Galsworthy)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Players: Edmund Gwenn, Helen Haye, John Longden, Frank Lawton, C.V. France, Phyllis Konstam, Jill Esmond, Edward Chapman, Ronald Frankau, Herbert Ross Dora Gregory, R.E. Jeffrey, George Blanchof
A Parisian embassy and while an elegant party is going on downstairs, Zurta (Albert Lieven) is robbing a safe. He's interrupted by a servant but shoots him and throws his loot (a politically important diary) to his confederate Poole (Alan Wheatley) who is waiting below. He then rejoins the party where the lovely Valya (Jean Kent) is anxiously waiting for him. When Valya and Zurta go to meet Poole they find he's absconded. They rush to the station and just manage to board the Orient Express.
Naturally the train is full of colourful characters: George and Joan (Derrick De Marney and Rona Anderson), a couple having an illicit holiday; Sgt West (Bonar Colleano) a randy Yank serviceman; Elvin (Michael Ward), an effete birdwatcher; and, later, a famous author and his downtrodden assistant (Finlay Currie and Hugh Burden). Also on board is Inspector Jolif (Paul Dupuis) who is eventually called in when Poole is found bumped off.
It's a rattling good yarn, though since we know Zurta is the criminal there's little surprise when Jolif gets to the bottom of the affair. Jean Kent gets to do little except smoulder exotically and the humorous characters are not a patch on Charters and Cauldicott from Night Train to Munich and The Lady Vanishes. There is more humour to be had from George and Joan ("Do you think I'm cheap") and forties attitudes to extra-marital sex.
The film isn't as good as its reputation, or as the original Rome Express, but it's still very watchable.
Script adapt.: Allan Mackinnon, William Douglas Home. (o.a. Clifford Grey)
Director: John Paddy Carstairs
Players: David Tomlinson, Gregoire Aslan, Zena Marshall, David Hutcheson, Eugene Deckers
Total dross about crook Dirk Bogarde who holds up a psychiatrist (Alexander Knox). The shrink tries to reform him but naughty Dirk seduces the Doc's wife Alexis Smith. She turns out to be madder than he is. Since this was directed by Joseph Losey on the run from the HUAC, auteurists would have you believe this is a near-masterpiece. They lie.
Script: Derek Frye (Carl Foreman)
Director: Victor Hanbury (Joseph Losey)
Players: Hugh Griffith, Patricia McCarron, Maxine Audley, Glyn Houston, Harry Towb, Russell Waters, Billie Whitelaw, Fred Griffiths, Esma Cannon
Alcoholic bomb disposal expert falls in love and tries to redeem himself. Powell and Pressburger's bleakest film was a financial failure and can be looked at as the start of their decline, but it still provided great roles for David Farrar and Kathleen Byron.
Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
(o.a. + co. script) Nigel Balchin
Players: Jack Hawkins, Leslie Banks, Michael Gough, Cyril Cusack, Milton Rosmer, Walter Fitzgerald, Emrys Jones, Michael Goodliffe, Renee Asherson, Anthony Bushell, Henry Caine, Elwyn Brook-Jones, James Dale, Sam Kydd, June Elvin, David Hutcheson, Sidney James, Roderick Lovell, James Carney, Roddy Hughes, Geoffrey Keen, Bryan Forbes, Robert Morley
Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers are the nice young couple who inherit a flea-pit cinema and try to turn it into a going concern. They are assisted, or hindered, by their aging staff Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford and Bernard Miles. With such a charming cast no wonder this is so fondly remembered.
Script: William Rose, John Eldridge
Director: Basil Dearden
Players: Leslie Phillips, Francis de Wolff, Sidney James, June Cunningham, George Cross, Stringer Davis, George Cormack, Sam Kydd, Michael Corcoran
Robert Newton, Dennis Price and Herbert Lom are among the treasure-seekers who converge on an Alpine hut looking for looted Nazi gold. It's slow building up the tension but runs along nicely for the most part.
Script adapt.: David Evans, Keith Campbell. (o.a. Hammond Innes)
Director: David Macdonald
Players: Mila Parely, Marcel Dalio, Stanley Holloway, Guy Middleton, Willy Feuter, William Price, Zena Marshall