True story of how HMS Amethyst escaped from the Chinese revolution in 1949. The story is fascinating but the film far too long.
Script adapt.: Eric Ambler. (o.a. Laurence Earl)
Director: Michael Anderson
Players: Richard Todd, William Hartnell, Akim Tamiroff, Donald Houston, Keye Luke, Sophie Stewart, Robert Urquhart, James Kenney, Richard Leech, Michael Brill, Barry Foster, Thomas Heathcote, Sam Kydd, Ewan Solon, Ian Bannen, Bernard Cribbins, Kenneth Cope, Kenneth Cope, Alfred Burke, Cyril Luckham
American Peter Thompson becomes an Earl. Poor fish-out-of-water comedy with only a few glimpses of the usual British stalwarts to lighten the gloom.
Script adapt.: (o.a.) John Paddy Carstairs
Director: John Paddy Carstairs
Players: Guy Middleton, Noelle Middleton, Diana Decker, Harold Lloyd Jr, Jon Pertwee, Edward Chapman, Richard Wattis, Reginald Beckwith, Jennifer Jayne, Sidney James, Harry Locke, George Woodbridge, John MacLaren
Andrew Ray is the child blackmailed into helping a robber after a fight over the titular balloon ends in a friend's death. Kenneth More is the dad, taking another step closer to movie stardom. It's good, but soon fades from the memory.
Script: Anne Burnaby, J. Lee Thompson
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Players: Kathleen Ryan, William Sylvester, Bernard Lee, Hy Hazell, Veronica Hurst, Sandra Dorne, Campbell Singer, Sidney James, Marjorie Rhodes, Eliot Makeham, Peter Jones
Under-rated spy story. Anna Neagle is the posh German-sympathiser forced to go to Canada for her own safety. Really she's working undercover to expose a plot to blow up Halifax harbour. Of course we knew it all along, but Miss Neagle does a grand job of half-convincing us that maybe she is a Nazi. In British films of the period it is usually the posh person who turns out to be the Quisling, but this is about the only film to examine the sympathy the upper-classes had for Hitler. It's also a cracking thriller and very atmospheric in its recreation of wartime conditions.
Script: Miles Malleson, DeWitt Bodeen
Director: Herbert Wilcox
Players: Richard Greene, Lucie Mannheim, Albert Lieven, Nova Pilbeam, Margaret Rutherford, Cyril Fletcher, Marjorie Fielding, Aubrey Mallalieu, Eliot Makeham, Ian Fleming, Valentine Dyall, Leslie Dwyer
Diana Dors gives her best dramatic performance as the Ruth Ellis figure waiting to be hanged and recalling what lead her to kill.
Script adapt.: John Cresswell, (o.a.) Joan Henry
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Players: Michael Craig, Yvonne Mitchell, Geoffrey Keen, Olga Lindo, Michael Ripper, Marianne Stone, Dandy Nichols, Shirley Ann Field
Lieutenant Donald Sinden's drunken practical joke gets mistaken for a secret weapon. Totally daft Cold War comedy.
Script adapt.: Peter Rogers. (o.a. Edward Hyams)
Director: Ken Annakin
Players: Sarah Lawson, Akim Tamiroff, Naunton Wayne, Bill Kerr, Dora Bryan, Martin Miller, Michael Shepley, Ferdy Maine, Michael Horden, Peter Arne, Bryan Coleman, Peter Martyn, Shirley Lorrimer, Cyril Chamberlain, Marianne Stone, Shirley Eaton, Lisa Gastoni
A songwriter finds his "muse" in a traffic jam and determines to marry her. Her family are more than happy to get her off their hands and conspire with him to con her into the marriage. But now he has to find a way woo her properly.
Basically a cuddly version of Taming of the Shrew with Thelma Todd giving it all she's got as the shrew.
Script: Frank Launder
Director: Monty Banks
Players: Stanley Lupino, Thelma Todd, John Loder, Gerald Rawlinson, James Carew, Charles Mortimer, Hugh E Wright, Charlotte Parry, Arthur Rigby Jr, Syd Crossley, Monty Banks
Silly and cheap tale of smugglers. The contraband in question are rare books which makes a change from gems or drugs but doesn't exactly up the excitement quota.
Script adapt.: Maclean Rogers. (o.a. Michael Cronin)
Director: Maclean Rogers
Players: Honor Blackman, Hugh McDermott, Jane Hylton, Ivan Samson, Ferdy Mayne, Hugh Moxey, Shirley Dean, Gerard Heinz, Basil Dignam
Young man goes on the run after being unjustly accused of murder and is helped by a beautiful blond woman.
Charming performances from Nova Pilbeam and Derrick de Marney enhance one of Hitchcock's most endearing films. There are lots of typical Hitch sequences, but the most famous is the camera glide through a crowded dance hall to pick out the murderer's twitching eye.
Script adapt.: Charles Bennett, Alma Reville, Antony Armstrong, Edwin Greenwood, Gerald Savory. (o.a. Josephine Tey)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Players: Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby, George Curzon, Mary Clare, John Longden, Basil Longden, Basil Radford, George Merritt, J.H. Roberts, Jerry Verno, H.F. Maltby, Pamela Carme, Torin Thatcher, Frederick Piper
An American and an Eastern European meet in London and fall in love. But the forces of the Cold War try to drive them apart.
It's Romeo and Juliet with a 50s twist, and as such works very nicely.
Script: Robin Estridge, George Tabori
Director: Anthony Asquith
Players: David Knight, Odile Versois, David Kossoff, Joseph Tomelty, Paul Carpenter, Theodore Bikel, Jill Adams, John McClaren, Betty Marsden, Peter Illing, Peter Dyneley, Bernard Rebel
1870, and the marriage between a duke's son and the daughter of a wealthy brewer is about to be announced. Except nobody's remembered to inform the groom. When he's finally told, his only way out is to try to create a scandal by going to Paris with a pretty young music hall performer.
Young Man's Fancy is a jolly little romantic comedy which didn't make a massive impact on release and has rather faded from popular memory since. Maybe that's because it doesn't feature the right stars, or maybe it's the setting that's the problem. With Europe on the brink of war, setting a fluffy comedy during the Siege of Paris might have been a mistake.
Griffith Jones and Anna Lee do well as the young leads, but the real glory of Young Man's Fancy is the teaming of Seymour Hicks and Martita Hunt as Jones' parents. Hicks is a bumbling old duffer with a fondness for drink and the naughtier end of the music hall scene, while Hunt is his duchess: a woman who could give Queen Victoria lessons in how not to be amused.
Money was clearly spent on this production to give as much Hollywood gloss as possible. Lee and Jones never looked more lovely, and Lee's costumes are a wonder (take a bow Molly Nicholson). The sets are more Art Deco than Victoriana and there's certainly not the grubby, grimy view of the era that would become fashionable from Great Expectations onward. Glamour is all here.
The film's recent release on DVD gives us a chance to finally catch up with its charms. It's well worth doing.
Script: Roland Pertwee
Director: Robert Stevenson
Players: Billy Bennett, Edward Rigby, Francis L Sullivan, Meriel Forbes, Felix Aylmer, Aimos, Phyllis Monkman, Morton Selten, George Carney, Violet Vanbrugh, Athene Seyler, Irene Eisinger, Allan Aynesworth, Peter Bull, Aubrey Dexter, Harry Terry
Robert Donat plays our youngest Prime Minister in this patriotic morale booster.
Script: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat, Viscount Castlerosse
Director: Carol Reed
Players: Phyllis Calvert, Robert Morley, Raymond Lovell, John Mills, Max Adrian, Felix Aylmer, Albert Lieven, Stephen Haggard, Geoffrey Atkins, Jean Cadell, Agnes Laughlin, Ian MacLean, A. Bromley Davenport, John Salew, Kathleen Byron, Frank Pettingell, Jack Watling, Ronald Shiner, John Slater, Leslie Dwyer, Frederick Leister, Esma Cannon, Merle Tottenham, Aubrey Mallalieu, Margaret Vyner, Austin Trevor, Leo Genn, James Harcourt, Muriel George, Kynaston Reeves, Alf Goddard, Frederick Valk, Esme Percy,
Stage farce about two couples sharing a house. It doesn't have the precision of a theatre performance but it does have Joan Greenwood and Audrey Hepburn and that should be enough for anyone.
Script adapt.: Anne Burnaby. (o.a. Ronald Jeans)
Director: Henry Cass
Players: Helen Cherry, Nigel Patrick, Derek Farr, Guy Middleton, Athene Seyler, Fabia Drake, Irene Handl, Joan Sanderson
A sensitive public schoolboy falls in love with his headmaster's wife.
The film was unreleased due to the upheaval of the coming of talkies and its controversial subject matter, but it now emerges as an engaging tale. The public school ethos now seems laughable even to those who went to one, but the quality of the performances and direction lift the film and it shows that Bentley was capable of more than just Dickens adaptations.
Script: Thomas Bentley. (o.a. John Van Druten)
Director: Thomas Bentley
Players: Robin Irvine, Marjorie Hume, Gerald Rawlinson, Sam Livesey, Tom Helmore, Dorothy Black
Newlyweds discover a will makes them rich if they divorce.
Would-be farce that doesn't work on any level. A title in search of a script.
Script: Ronald Jeans
Director: Anthony Simmons
Players: Peggy Cummins, Donald Sinden, Richard Wattis, Peter Reynolds, Georgina Cookson, Barbara Steele, Gladys Boot, Betty Buskcomb, Olive Sloane, Ian Fleming, Candy Scott, Noel Trevarthen