A Woman of Mystery (1958)

UK / 70 minutes / bw / Danziger, UA Dir: Ernest Morris Pr: Edward J. Danziger, Harry Lee Danziger Scr: Brian Clemens, Eldon Howard Cine: Jimmy Wilson Cast: Dermot Walsh, Hazel Court, Jennifer Jayne, Ferdy Mayne, Ernest Clark, Martin Benson, Diana Chesney, David Lander, Gordon Tanner, Paul Dickson.

Brian Clemens, later to earn a place in television history with the hugely popular series The Avengers (1961–9), was clearly popular at the Danzigers B-feature studio around the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their relevant ventures together include:

  • The DEPRAVED (1957)
  • THREE SUNDAYS TO LIVE (1957)
  • MOMENT OF INDISCRETION (1958)
  • THREE CROOKED MEN (1958)
  • The PURSUERS (1961)
  • RETURN OF A STRANGER (1961)
  • Two Wives at One Wedding (1961)

A Woman of Mystery is a fairly typical Danzigers production, although not so typical of Clemens’s screenplays. The plot lacks his trademark twists and turns and especially that slightly surreal edge that tends to mark his work. It’s a good workmanlike tale, though, and on the whole competently acted by a not insignificant cast. What lets it down are the production standards—a point I’ll come back to. Michael Caine has an uncredited bit part as a thug; no comment.

Dermot Walsh as Ray and Hazel Court as Joy.

Jane Hale (uncredited), a hatcheck girl at the Flamingo Club, seemingly gasses herself. Harvey (Clark), editor of Fact, “the magazine of private and confidential stories,” thinks her death might make a good human-interest story, and sets crack reporter Ray Savage (Walsh) the task of investigating this potential “woman of mystery.”

Jennifer Jayne as Ruby.

Needless to say, Ray’s digging reveals Jane didn’t commit suicide at all: she was murdered. After interviewing a bunch of people Continue reading

Third Time Lucky (1949)

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Will his gambling addiction be the death of him?

 

UK / 86 minutes / bw / Alliance Anglofilm, GFD Dir: Gordon Parry Pr: Mario Zampi Scr: Gerald Butler Story: They Cracked her Glass Slipper (1941) by Gerald Butler Cine: Cedric Williams Cast: Glynis Johns, Dermot Walsh, Charles Goldner, Harcourt Williams, Yvonne Owen, Helen Haye, Edna Kaye, John Stuart, Sebastian Cabot, Ballard Berkeley, Harold Berens, Millicent Wolf, Marianne Deeming, Bruce Walker, Michael Hordern, Charles Rolfe.

Third Time Lucky - 0 opener

We start in a hospital, where young office receptionist Joan Burns (Johns) is taken by a grim-faced police escort to an office where a police inspector (Stuart) interviews her about a crime that has recently been committed. Where did she get the gun? Why did she fire it? Was it her who fired it? At first she refuses—or is perhaps too shell-shocked—to respond, but eventually the words start flowing and we enter the first of two extended flashbacks that between them constitute almost the entirety of the movie . . .

Third Time Lucky - 1 Lucky commandeers Joan's cab, C Rolfe as driver

Lucky (Dermot Walsh) commandeers Joan’s cab, The driver is played by Charles Rolfe.

Some whole ago, Joan had just caught a taxi when a young man, sprinting from a dog track, jumped aboard, claiming to be a cop. He instructed the driver (Rolfe) to do his best to escape a pursuing cab. The pursuers successfully lost, the man Continue reading

Out of the Shadow (1961)

vt Murder on the Campus
UK / 60 minutes / bw / Border, New Realm Dir & Scr: Michael Winner Pr: Negus Fancey Cine: Richard Bayley Cast: Terence Longden (i.e., Terence Longdon), Donald Gray, Dermot Walsh, Robertson Hare, Diane Clare, Felicity Young, Edwin Styles, Douglas Muir, Jill Hyem, Max Faulkner, Tony Thawnton, Laura Thurlow, Geoffrey Ryan, Ann Sharp, Harold Siddons, Mark Eden, William Ingham, Bill Mitchell.

Out of the Shadow - 0 opener

The third feature movie of Michael Winner’s long and highly prolific directorial career, this potboiler rarely rises above the mediocre. Its opening credits even manage to misspell the name of its leading man (Longden for Longdon); in fact, there isn’t a proper cast list.* The best one can say of the movie is that it reads rather like one of Merton Park’s lesser and more hurried offerings (in fact, it was made at Marylebone Studios); however, like the Merton Park pieces, it somehow manages—despite its stodgy directing and often very flat, uninspired acting—to be quite pleasing to watch.

Journalist Mark Kingston (Longdon) was out of the country when, two weeks ago, his younger brother Tony (uncredited), an undergraduate at the fictional Leicester College, Cambridge, fell from his high rooms in the college into the river Cam, and died. The coroner returned an open verdict; the cops believe it was either accident or suicide, and have closed their investigation. Of course, Mark doesn’t believe one word of that, so as soon as he’s checked in with his boss, Jimmy (Siddons), at the news agency, he heads for Cambridge, booking a room at the Regent Hotel and making a general pest of himself.

Out of the Shadow - 1 Tony Kingston interrupts the killer

Tony Kingston (uncredited) interrupts the killer (Douglas Muir).

A couple of the students at the college tell Mark they did see a man walking on the roof the night that Tony died. Mark learns this when Continue reading

Hideout, The (1956)

The Hideout 1956 - 0b other opener

UK / 55 minutes / bw / Major, Rank Dir: Peter Graham Scott Pr: John Temple-Smith Scr: Kenneth Hayles Cine: Brendan J. Stafford Cast: Dermot Walsh, Rona Anderson, Ronald Howard, Sam Kydd, Howard Lang, Edwin Richfield, Arnold Diamond, Trevor Reid, Richard Shaw, Tommy Clegg, Jessica Cairns, Frank Hawkins, Jack Taylor, Angela Krefeld.

The Hideout 1956 - 0a opener

A modest piece of UK noir with a convoluted plot that seems to make reasonable sense at the time but becomes harder to follow the more you think about it later.

At the Rex Hotel in London, a valise that was being carried by Helen Grant (Anderson) is accidentally put into the taxi that’s going to take Pan–Atlantic Insurance special investigator Steve Curry (Walsh) to the airport for his New York flight. Steve doesn’t discover the error until he’s at the airport; luckily Tim Bowers (Kydd), whom he’s recently helped out of a jam, came along to see him off, so can take the case back into town and try to track down the woman who lost it. In so doing, Tim finds the case is full of cash: £8,000, in fact—a very great deal, in 1956.

The Hideout 1956 - 1 Sam Kydd has a more major role than usual, hurrahSam Kydd as Tim Powers; those rare occasions when Kydd gets a more major role are always good news.

At the airport, Steve is abducted by some thugs, who attempt to beat out of him the location of the valise. He escapes, makes it back to Tim’s apartment, and learns the truth. The inside lid of the case bears a label with the name and address of one Robert Grant. Steve goes there and recognizes Continue reading

Floating Dutchman, The (1952)

UK / 76 minutes / bw / Merton Park Dir & Scr: Vernon Sewell Pr: William H. Williams Story: The Floating Dutchman (1950) by Nicolas Bentley Cine: Jo(sef) Ambor Cast: Dermot Walsh, Sydney Tafler, Mary Germaine, Guy Verney, Hugh Morton, Nicolas Bentley, Arnold Marlé, Derek Blomfield, Ian Wilson, James Raglan, Orest Olaff, Ken Midwood.

Floating Dutchman - 0 opener

One never expected masterpieces from Merton Park, but their cut-price fillers did have their charms—they offered an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so even if they tended to be forgotten within minutes of the A-feature starting. The movies in the long EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERIES series (1960–64) were typical of the studio’s output; even at the time it was the series’ theme tune (written by Michael Carr) that really stuck in the mind, far less so the movies themselves. The Floating Dutchman is one of the better Merton Park offerings, and benefits from having the under-recognized Sydney Tafler in a principal role, plus Arnold Marlé and Ian Wilson among the support. And it’s certainly more memorable than many a Merton Park item: I must have been a child when I last saw the movie, because I can remember being devastated by a particular incident toward the end, yet the very fact that, decades later, I could remember this and occasional other incidents—and the performances of Marlé and Wilson—is testament in itself.

Floating Dutchman - 4 Victor

The great Sydney Tafler as club owner and criminal kingpin Victor Skinner.

A body is fished out of the Thames. The cops, as we learn when Inspector Cathie (Morton) briefs his boss, Gwynn (Raglan), swiftly discover that the man died from a bash on the head, not from drowning, and, thanks to an inquiry from the Dutch police, that he was a shady jeweler called Martinus Vandermeer. On the body was a card from the nightclub Skinner’s, with, scrawled on the back, the telephone number of notorious fence Otto Krohner (Marlé). By following up on this link, Cathie believes, the Yard might Continue reading