13 East Street (1952)

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“I’ve lived in a jungle all my life. She who bites first bites last—that’s my motto.”
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UK / 69 minutes / bw / Tempean, Eros Dir: Robert S. Baker Pr: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman Scr: John Gilling, Carl Nystrom Story: Robert S. Baker Cine: Monty Berman Cast: Patrick Holt, Sandra Dorne, Sonia Holm, Robert Ayres, Dora Bryan, Michael Balfour, Hector MacGregor, Michael Brennan, Alan Judd, Michael Ward, Alan Gordon, Harry Towb.

A likable, extremely competent (aside from the abominably staged fisticuffs) but hardly memorable programmer from a time when such movies were the heart of British cinema. And it comes complete with a rooftop chase!

Gerald Blake (Holt) holds up a jewelry store in London but is caught by the cops as he tries to make his getaway. Sentenced at the same time as expat American professional crook Joey Long (Balfour), he befriends the man and, as luck would have it, becomes his cellmate and buddy. Soon enough, Gerald engineers an escape, and brings Joey along with him.

Patrick Holt as Gerald Blake.

Joey’s a member of the gang run by another US immigre, Larry Conn (Ayres), under cover of the latter’s Haulage Contractor business. Thanks to Joey’s friendship, Larry takes Gerald at face value and recruits him. Other Continue reading

Ringer, The (1952)

UK / 73 minutes / bw / London, British Lion Dir: Guy Hamilton Scr: Val Valentine, Lesley Storm Story: The Gaunt Stranger (1925; vt Police Work; revised vt The Ringer 1926) by Edgar Wallace Cine: Ted Scaife, John Wilcox Cast: Herbert Lom, Donald Wolfit, Mai Zetterling, Greta Gynt, William Hartnell, Dora Bryan, Norman Wooland, Denholm Elliott, Charles Victor, Walter Fitzgerald, Campbell Singer, John Stuart.

The Ringer 1952 - 4 Lom is suitably creepy as Meister

Herbert Lom, in supreme form.

Feared internationally, the crook Henry Arthur Milton, better known as The Ringer—because he could ring the changes with his disguises—finally met his end in Australia. Or did he? According to his wife Cora Ann (Gynt) he somehow escaped and has now made his way to London. That’s what the cops think too, and the slightly sinister Chief Inspector Bliss (Wooland), recently returned to Scotland Yard from a somewhat mysterious secondment in New York, is put in charge of the case. He liaises with Inspector Wembury (Victor) of the Met, whose Deptford territory includes the home of powerful criminal lawyer Maurice Meister (Lom). It’s thought that the reason The Ringer has come back to London is to seek vengeance on Meister, whom he blames for the suicide some years ago of his (The Ringer’s) sister Gwenda.

The Ringer 1952 - 2 Zetterling as Lisa Gruber

Mai Zetterling as Meister’s secretary Lisa Gruber.

Wembury enlists the aid of cheery Cockney burglar Samuel “Sam” Cuthbert Hackitt (Hartnell), who has just been released from prison; although too terrified to Continue reading

Green Man, The (1956)

UK / 77 minutes / bw / Grenadier, British Lion Dir: Robert Day Pr & Scr: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat Story: Meet A Body (1954 play) by Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat Cine: Gerald Gibbs Cast: Alastair Sim, George Cole, Terry-Thomas, Jill Adams, Raymond Huntley, Colin Gordon, Avril Angers, John Chandos, Eileen Moore, Arthur Brough, Dora Bryan, Richard Wattis, Alexander Gauge, Cyril Chamberlain, Vivien Wood, Marie Burke, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Ripper, Doris Yorke, Terence Alexander.

By no stretch of the imagination is this a film noir; rather, it belongs to the same stream of UK crime comedies whose best-known representatives include Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The LADYKILLERS (1955) and School for Scoundrels (1960). It has, too, many of the characteristics of a Whitehall farce, with the same fine timing, mockery of pretensions, and expert manipulation of misunderstandings, especially of an amorous nature.

The glorious piano trio make amorous eyes at the gentlemanly knave Hawkins.

Outwardly respectable Hawkins (Sim)—although he uses other aliases—discovered the art of murder-by-bomb while he was still in preparatory school at Embrook House, whose loathed headmaster Continue reading