Violent Moment (1959)

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UK / 61 minutes / bw / Independent Artists, Anglo–Amalgamated Dir: Sidney Hayers Pr: Bernard Coote Scr: Peter Barnes Story: “A Toy for Jiffy” (1956; Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine) by Roy Vickers Cine: Phil Grindrod Cast: Lyndon Brook, Jane Hylton, Jill Browne, John Paul, Rupert Davies, Moira Redmond, Bruce Seton, Martin Miller, Frederick Piper, Martin Boddey, Gerald Anderson, John Boxer, Leonard White.

Violent Moment - 0 moodsetter

London, soon after the end of WWII, and wastrel Douglas “Doug” Baines (Brook) is wary of the coppers on every corner because he’s an Army deserter. He makes his way as best he can, helping to support his mistress, Daisy Hacker (Hylton), and their infant son Jiffy on what we suspect are generally slim pickings. One day, though, he’s obviously flush because he spends 15/6 (15 shillings and sixpence)—a small fortune in those days—at the toyshop of Jenkins (Piper) on a cackling tumbler-doll clown for Jiffy, upon whom he obviously dotes; indeed, we sense that Doug is really defined by his love for Jiffy. When he gets home, though, it’s to discover that Daisy has sold the child into adoption for twenty pounds. She’s scathing in her estimation of Doug:

“Twenty pound. I suppose you’ll want your cut.”

 And:

“And another thing. You pretending to believe that I got all that money working as a waitress. You’ve got eyes in your head the same as other men. You know perfectly well where that money came from.”

 

Violent Moment - 1 Doug, Daisy & the tumbler doll

Doug (Lyndon Brook) shows Daisy (Jane Hylton) the toy he’s bought for Jiffy.

As he tries to force out of her the name and address of the adoptive parents so he might Continue reading

Three Steps in the Dark (1953)

UK / 63 minutes / bw / Corsair, Associated British–Pathe Dir: Daniel Birt Pr: Harold Richmond Scr: Brock Williams Story: Roger East Cine: Hone Glendining Cast: Greta Gynt, Hugh Sinclair, Nicholas Hannen, John Van Eyssen, Sarah Lawson, Elwyn Brook-Jones, Helene Cordet, Alastair Hunter, Katie Johnson, Alan Robinson, Neil Hallett, Raymond Young.

Years ago cantankerous Arnold Burgoyne (Hannen) quarreled with his two brothers, and the family wound was never healed. Now he summons his brothers’ grown-up children—plus his lawyer, E.M. Wilbraham (Brook-Jones)—to his stately home, Clarendon, to tell them of the latest changes he plans for his will.

Three Steps in the Dark - 1 Riddle, Sophy, Arnold

Katie “Ladykillers” Johnson as timid housekeeper Mrs. Riddle and Nicholas Hannen as stroppy victim-to-be Arnold Burgoyne bracket Greta Gynt as well known crime novelist Sophy Burgoyne.

His niece Sophia “Sophy” (Gynt) has made her way in the world as a successful mystery novelist, and has no need of his money. His elder nephew, Philip (Sinclair), inherited the adjoining Burgoyne family estate, Morton Curlew, where he lives with his wife Dorothy “Dotty” (Lawson) and breeds racehorses. Arnold’s younger nephew, the broke and diffident Henry (Van Eyssen), is planning to marry a French stage actress, Esmé Robert (Cordet), who joins the party.

Three Steps in the Dark - 2 Dotty, Philip, Henry

More members of the dysfunctional family gathering: Sarah Lawson as Dotty Burgoyne, Hugh Sinclair (seated) as her husband Philip, and John Van Eyssen as her brother-in-law Henry.

It has been Arnold’s intention to leave Clarendon to Henry, but Continue reading

Candlelight in Algeria (1944)

UK / 84 minutes / bw / George King, British Aviation, British Lion Dir: George King Pr: John Stafford Scr: Brock Williams, Katherine Strueby, John Clements Story: Dorothy Hope Cine: Otto Heller Cast: James Mason, Carla Lehmann, Raymond Lovell, Enid Stamp Taylor, Walter Rilla, Pamela Stirling, Lea Seidl, Sybilla Binder, Hella Kurty, Paul Bonifas, Leslie Bradley, Harold Berens, Cot D’Ordan, Richard George, Meinhart Maur, Jacques Metadier, Michel Morel, Bart Norman, Richard Molinas, MacDonald Parke, Graham Penley, Albert Whelan.

Candlelight in Algeria - 0 scensetter

Although this is often listed as a war movie, it’s barely more so than, say, CASABLANCA (1942), which was set in roughly the same place, time and circumstances: North Africa; 1942; in theory the war hasn’t yet spread here but in practice the various forces are jostling for advantage preparatory to what they know is coming. It’s odd that two movies so highly dissimilar should share the same basic elements. Continue reading