Danger Within (1959)

vt Breakout
UK / 96 minutes / bw / Colin Lesslie Productions, British Lion Dir: Don Chaffey Pr: Colin Lesslie Scr: Bryan Forbes, Frank Harvey Story: Death in Captivity (1952; vt The Danger Within) by Michael Gilbert Cine: Arthur Grant Cast: Richard Todd, Bernard Lee, Michael Wilding, Richard Attenborough, Dennis Price, Donald Houston, William Franklyn, Vincent Ball, Peter Arne, Peter Jones, Ronnie Stevens, Terence Alexander, Andrew Faulds, Steve Norbert, Cyril Shaps, Eric Lander, John Dearth, Robert Bruce, Harold Siddons, Ian Whittaker, David Williams, David Graham, Howard Williams, Dino Galvani.

Michael Gilbert was among the great writers of mystery fiction, his most famous novel indubitably being his fourth, Smallbone Deceased (1950), one of those rare books that your correspondent has not only read more than once but makes time to read every few years as a not-so-guilty pleasure.

Most of Gilbert’s novels were set in standard detective-fiction territory. His two main series detectives were Chief Inspector Hazlerigg of the Yard and, later, Patrick Petrella of the Met. Late in life he broke the mold to write some historical detections, but the odd one out during his earlier career was his sixth novel, Death in Captivity (1952; vt The Danger Within), in which he drew upon his own experiences as a prisoner of war in Italy to set a mystery in a POW camp.

The movie adaptation, co-written by Bryan Forbes—best-known as director of such classic movies as site favorite Whistle Down the Wind (1961)[*]—chooses to focus on Continue reading

snapshot: The Crooked Road (1965)

UK, Jugoslavia [sic] / 94 minutes / bw / Argo, Triglav, Trident, Seven Arts Dir: Don Chaffey Pr: David Henley Scr: J. Garrison, Don Chaffey Story: The Big Story (1957; vt The Crooked Road) by Morris L. West Cine: Stephen Dade Cast: Robert Ryan, Stewart Granger, Nadia Gray, Marius Goring, Catherine Woodville, George Coulouris, Robert Rietty, Milan Micić, Demeter Bitenc, Slobodan Dimitrijević, Murray Kash, Vladimir Bačić, Nikša Stefanini

Robert Ryan as Richard Ashley.

What’s this? A Robert Ryan movie I don’t know anything about? And he’s playing opposite Stewart Granger? And still I haven’t been aware of it? How could this possibly be?

Sign me up at once for a viewing . . .

In some unnamed Mediterranean or Baltic country, the populist candidate Vittorio, Duke of Orgagna (Granger), seems well set to win the upcoming elections. However, Vittorio is a crook—his hands are not just dirty but bloody—and US journalist Richard Ashley (Ryan) has the evidence to prove it. All he needs are some vital photostats, and he’s made arrangements to buy these from shifty petty crook Garafano (uncredited).

Nadia Gray as Cosima, Duchess of Orgagna.

There are complicating factors. Vittorio’s wife Cosima (Gray) was the love of Richard’s life, and her marriage to the duke has done nothing to dampen the fire between them. Vittorio, meanwhile, has thrown his secretary and mistress Elena (Woodville) into the mix, hoping she’ll be able to seduce Richard into revealing what his plans are for the story that’ll blow Vittorio’s reputation to smithereens just days before the election.

Vittorio, through his fiendishly loyal factotum Carlo (Coulouris), has Continue reading

Question of Adultery, A (1958)

vt The Case of Mrs. Loring
UK / 86 minutes / bw / Flamingo, Raystro, Eros Dir: Don Chaffey Pr: Raymond Stross Scr: Anne Edwards, Denis Freeman Story: A Breach of Marriage (1948 play) by Dan Sutherland Cine: Stephen Dade Cast: Julie London, Anthony Steel, Donald Houston, Anton Diffring, Andrew Cruickshank, Frank Thring, Conrad Phillips, Kynaston Reeves, Arthur Gomez, Georgina Cookson, Richard Caldicot, John Rae, Mary Mackenzie, John Fabian, Rodney Burke, Philip Holles, Michael Logan, Sam Kydd, John Charlesworth, Max Brimmel, Van Boolen.

Question of Adultery - 1 Mary in Court

Mary (Julie London) in court.

A courtroom drama adapted from a play, with a long flashback as its centerpiece giving the backstory that has led the protagonists to the court.

UK racing car driver Mark Loring (Steel), plagued by anger-management issues and general juvenility, is obsessively jealous of his US wife Mary (London), who gave up her successful singing career to be his bride. She is cordially loathed by Mark’s tycoon father, Sir John Loring (Sydney), in large part because Sir John’s wife, who walked out not long after Mark was born, was likewise a US chanteuse, and in perhaps even larger part because Sir John wants to possess his son entirely; as Mary tells the old man early on:

Mark? Your property, that’s all Mark is to you. Just a piece of property, like your ships or your factories. And you try to buy him from me like a piece of real estate. Well, I’m not selling. You haven’t got enough love to buy him with.

At the Iberian Grand Prix, which Mark wins, he’s incensed when one of the mechanics, Mario Fiorenzo (a hopelessly miscast Phillips), takes a very obvious shine to her. That evening at the hotel, Mario engineers a casual meeting in the bar with her; she cleverly defuses the situation when Mark turns up. But it’s not so easy when Continue reading