Bill (George Moon) and Suzie (Evelyn Dall) are Broadway headliners. She hits the roof when she discovers he's given their life savings to their friend Tommy (Tommy Handley). She's even more annoyed when she finds it's been "invested" in a Time Machine invented by Professor Felix Aylmer. The quartet accidentally end up in Elizabethan England and the Professor gets thrown in the tower for making prophecies about the future of the throne.
It's an amiable enough picture, but Handley never really found a screen persona to match his radio one. Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt make a brief appearance (their last in a film together) and Stephane Grappelly gets to play his fiddle in one anachronistic number. Olga Lindo is the standout as Elizabeth though she's helped by a striking resemblance to Flora Robson.
Script: Howard Irving Young, J.O.C. Orton, Ted Kavanagh
Director: Walter Forde
Players: John Salew, Leslie Bradley, Roy Emerton, Iris Lang
The inhabitants of a perfect English village excitedly look forward to the Prime Minister's visit, but then realise they have to do something about the local drunk first.
Sweet little comedy with Eddie Byrne getting a star part for once and giving it all he's got.
Script adapt.: Peter Blackmore. (o.a. R.J. Minney)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Players: Jane Barrett, Raymond Lovell, Hermione Baddley, Marjorie Rhodes, Sidney James, Sydney Tafler, Dora Bryan, Robert Brown, Thora Hird, Ivor Bernard, Patrick McAlinney, Edie Martin, Joan Young, Peter Jones, Marianne Stone, Julian d'Albie, Nigel Clarke, Henry Longhurst, Peter Swanwick, Thomas Gallagher, Freda Bamford, Ian Carmichael, Brian Roper, Harry Herbert, Jack May, Toke Townley, Tristram Rawson
Little lad trapped in bank vault is the basis of this low budget suspense movie.
It builds up a fair bit of tension, though some of the Canadian accents are a little rough.
Script adapt.: Peter Rogers. (o.a. Arthur Hailey)
Director: Gerald Thomas
Players: Lee Patterson, Betty McDowall, Robert Ayres, Alan Gifford, Larry Cross, Vincent Winter, Robert Beatty, Sandra Francis, Gordon Tanner, Victor Wood, Jack Cunningham, Sean Connery, Murray Kash, John Paul, Don Ewer
Michael Redgrave is the drunk trying to prove his son didn't commit murder. A great cast is sunk by an over-heated script and rotten direction from Joseph Losey.
Script adapt.: Ben Barzman. (o.a. Emlyn Williams)
Director: Joseph Losey
Players: Alec McCowen, Ann Todd, Leo McKern, Peter Cushing, Lois Maxwell, Paul Daneman, Richard Wordsworth, Renee Houston, George Devine, Joan Plowright, Ernest Clark, Dickie Henderson
Complicated story about a research scientist who can see a few seconds into the future. Gene Nelson is the token Yank hero investigating his case. Only a British film of the fifties could hire one of Hollywood's best song-and-dance men and cast him in a thriller.
Script adapt.: Ken Hughes, (o.a.) Charles Eric Maine
Director: Ken Hughes
Script: Faith Domergue, Peter Arne, Joseph Tomelty, Donald Gray, Vic Perry, Launce Maraschal, Roland Brand, Charles Hawtrey
This cosiest of Ealing comedies concerns the closure by BR of a branch line and some villagers determination to keep it open. It was something of a disappointment at the time and it's not got the bite of the best of Ealing, but it benefits from the nostalgia factor and from having one of the most memorable trains in cinema history.
Script: T.E.B. Clarke
Director: Charles Crichton
Players: Stanley Holloway, George Relph, John Gregson, Naunton Wayne, Godfrey Tearle, Gabrielle Brune, Hugh Griffith, Sidney James, Reginald Beckwith, Edie Martin
Shelley Winters is the first wife of John Gregson, who learns she inherits a fortune if he hasn't got a son by a certain date, otherwise he gets the dosh. And second wife Peggy Cummins is about to drop at any moment.
Winters tries to shake the script up but can't really do much with it. Cummins is possibly the first pregnant woman to be stroppy in cinema since Mary Astor got her Oscar for The Great Lie; but grumpy doesn't equal funny and she's just annoying.
Script adapt.: Peter Rogers. (o.a. Roger Macdougall)
Director: Muriel Box
Players: Wilfrid Hyde White, Mona Washbourne, Hartley Power, Martin Miller, Hal Osmond, Anthony Oliver, Joan Sims, Aubrey Mather, Ronald Adam, Charles Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Meredith Edwards, Marjorie Rhodes, Maurice Kaufman, John Warren, Dorothy Bramhall, Grace Denbigh Russell, Bartlett Mullins, Joan Newall, Campbell Singer, Joan Hickson, Fred Berger, Nicholas Parsons, Ann Gudrun
Paris looks lovely in Technicolor but this tale of a father and son (Alec Guinness and Vernon Gray) hitting the tourist trail and looking for love isn't up to much.
Script: Robert Buckner
Director: Robert Hamer
Players: Odile Versois, Elina Labourdette, Claude Romain, Maureen Davis, Austin Trevor
Thomas Hughes's classic tale of life at Rugby public school is brought to the screen in an adequate way and as a vehicle for child star John Howard Davies. Casting Robert Newton as benign reformer Matthew Arnold is a bit odd but he does his best.
Script adapt.: Noel Langley. (o.a. Thomas Hughes)
Director: Gordon Parry
Players: Diana Wynyard, James Hayter, Hermione Baddeley, Kathleen Byron, Michael Horden, Francis de Wolff, Any Veness, Brian Worth, Rachel Gurney, John Charlesworth, John Forrest, Glyn Dearman, Geoffrey Goodheart, Michael Ward
Russ Tamblyn is the teeny-tot a fairy gives to childless couple Bernard Miles and Jessie Matthews in this lovely musical. Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas are the hissable villains who con him into helping them rob the royal treasury.
Script adapt.: Ladislas Fodor. (o.a. The Brothers Grimm)
Director: George Pal
Players: June Thorburn, Alan Young
Swift bit of exploitation to cash in on the popularity of Britain's favourite rocker. Steele plays himself in a rather sweet version of his rise to fame. Not much of a film, but a remarkable piece of nostalgia.
Script: Norman Hudis
Director: Gerard Bryant
Players: Lisa Daniely, Patrick Westwood, Hilda Fenemore, Mark Daly, Charles Lamb, Peter Lewison, John Boxer, Cyril Chamberlain, Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band, Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group with Nancy Whiskey, Tommy Eytle Calypso Band, Chris O'Brien's Caribbeans, The Steelmen, Dennis Price, Tom Littlewood
Stirring tale of the French Resistance and their hunt for a traitor within. John Clements is the hero and Greta Gynt the chief suspect (not with that billing she's not!). Well-made, low-budget George King endeavour.
Script: Anatole de Grunwald, Katherine Strueby
Director: George King
Players: Hugh Sinclair, Godfrey Tearle, Yvonne Arnaud, Bransby Williams, Judy Kelly, Gabrielle Brune, Karel Stepanek, Brefni O'Rorke, Gibb McLaughlin, Olaf Olsen, Herbert Lom
Incompetent crooks kidnap Terry-Thomas' wife, Brenda de Banzie, but he doesn't want her back. Fun comedy with a few laugh-out-loud moments and a lot of smiles. Terry-Thomas gives his definitive performance and George Cole shines as the gang's useless Mr Big.
Script: Michael Pertwee
Director: Mario Zampi
Players: Bernard Bresslaw, Sidney James, Joe Melia, Vera Day, Delphi Lawrence, John le Mesurier, Sydney Tafler, Nicholas Parsons, Terry Scott, Edie Martin
Off the coast of Germany, a mad lighthouse keeper finds his solitude is interrupted by a concentration camp escapee and a new assistant who's a British agent in disguise.
Lighthouses have often been a fruitful setting for British films. Cape Forlorn, Back Room Boy, Thunder Rock, The Phantom Light and Tower of Terror to name a few. There's probably a monograph to be written about the symbolism of the island and the way film makers have exploited the unusual topography of the spaces. It's a space both isolated and claustrophobic.
There's probably already several monographs written about disability and the way film makers have used disability to signify monstrousness. The lighthouse keeper is not only insane but he also has his right hand replaced by a hook which he uses as a terrifying weapon. Not that he needs it; the big hulking brute can knock a man out with just his left hand. Wilfrid Lawson as the lighthouse keeper really knows how to brood and threaten. He also knows how to convincingly portray a man who can drink a lot of booze since his own consumption of alcohol was legendary. Michael Rennie as the agent and Movita as the escapee fill their roles adequately, but it's Lawson's show all the way.
Director Laurence Huntington makes the most of the action and produces an enjoyable film. Clearly filming in Germany was out of the question so some of the sets have more than a hint of plasterboard about them, but that's a minor detail. And anyway, there's a surprising amount of outdoor location shooting for a something filmed under wartime restrictions.
Tower of Terror may not be on the list of must-see British films, but if anyone does produce that lighthouse monograph, it certainly deserves its place.
Script: (o.a.) John Argyle, John Reinhart
Director: Laurence Huntington
Players: Wilfrid Lawson, Movita, Michael Rennie, Morland Graham, George Woodbridge, Edward Sinclair, Richard George, Charles Rolfe, John Longden, Victor Weske, Olive Sloane, Davina Craig, Noel Dainton, Rita Grant, Eric Clavering, Joe Welch, Charles Minor, Kieran Tunney, Robert Cameron, Sam Lee, Daley Cooper
Neville Shute's novel about the suffering of Western women interned by the Japanese in the Far East is turned into a memorable film. Virginia McKenna heads the female cast and gives her most memorable performance as she falls for Aussie Peter Finch.
Script adapt.: W.P. Lipscomb, Richard Mason. (o.a. Neville Shute)
Director: Jack Lee
Players: Takagi, Tran Van Khe, Jean Anderson, Marie Lohr, Maureen Swanson, Renee Houston, Nora Nicholson, Eileen Moore, Geoffrey Keen, Vincent Ball
After the local tart is found strangled, Scotland Yard man John Mills is called in to investigate.
Rather a good whodunit. It's the sort of thing that's been seen a million times before and since, but it's done well. Of course, strictly speaking it's the middle class bit of town that's on trial.
Script: Robert Westerby, Ken Hughes
Director: John Guillermin
Players: Charles Coburn, Barbara Bates, Derek Farr, Alec McCowen, Geoffrey Keen, Fay Compton, Margaretta Scott, Meredith Edwards, Elizabeth Seal, Magda Miller, Maureen Connell, Harry Locke, David Quitak, Dandy Nichols, Raymond Huntley