Judgment Deferred (1952)

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When the legal system fails, let a court of down-and-outs decide!
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UK / 84 minutes / bw / Associated British-Pathé Dir & Pr: John Baxter Scr: Geoffrey Orme, Walter Meade Story: screenplay for Doss House (1933) by C.G.H. Ayres Cine: Arthur Grant Cast: Hugh Sinclair, Helen Shingler, Abraham Sofaer, Leslie Dwyer, Joan Collins, Elwyn Brook Jones, Harry Locke, Marcel Poncin, Wilfrid Walter, Martin Benson, Bransby Williams, M. Martin Harvey, Harry Welchman, Maire O’Neill, Fred Griffiths, Harold Goodwin, Bud Flanagan, Edmundo Ros and His Latin American Orchestra.

A tale that shares elements with M (1931) dir Fritz Lang (remade by Joseph Losey in 1951 as M) and with Margery Allingham’s novel Tiger in the Smoke (1952), filmed as TIGER IN THE SMOKE (1956) dir Roy Baker, and owes a very great deal to the movie Doss House (1933), which was directed by John Baxter himself and whose scripter, C.G.H. Ayres, is acknowledged in the opening credits of Judgment Deferred. The narrative’s embellished with a few comic interludes (mercifully few) and some musical numbers, including a cameo by Bud Flanagan and a couple of songs from Edmundo Ros; Continue reading

Night Won’t Talk, The (1952)

UK / 59 minutes / bw / Corsair, Associated British-Pathé Dir: Daniel Birt Pr: Harold Richmond Scr: Brock Williams Story: Roger Burford Cine: Brendon Stafford (i.e., Brendan Stafford) Cast: Hy Hazell, John Bailey, Mary Germaine, Ballard Berkeley, Elwyn Brook-Jones, Grey Blake, Duncan Lamont, Sarah Lawson, Leslie Weston, Helen Burls, Raymond Young, Susan Pearson.

Night Won't Talk - 0 opener

A surprisingly well made filler for its time, boosted by some excellent acting, this isn’t precisely a hidden gem but it certainly has nothing to be ashamed of.

In the London borough of Chelsea, artists’ model Stella Smith (Pearson) is strangled one night in her bed by a hooded intruder. The next day the newspapers are full of the story. Called in to investigate, Inspector West (Berkeley) and his sidekick Sergeant Robbie Robertson (Lamont) of the Yard soon find that Stella wasn’t quite the angel people made her out to be.

Night Won't Talk - 1 West and Robertson

The Yard’s Inspector West (Ballard Berkeley) and his sidekick Sergeant Robbie Robertson (Duncan Lamont) light up their pipes and swing into action.

We’ve learned this already. One of the artists who often employed her, Kenneth Wills (Blake), laments her death to his landlady, Mrs. Vincent (Burls), solely in terms of his being halfway through an illustration that he may now have to scrap if he can’t find a similar model. Another model, Hazel Carr (Germaine), declares to her flatmate Sue (Lawson) that she for one isn’t going to mourn Stella’s passing because the woman stole out from under her not just modelling jobs but the affections of famous artist Clayton “Clay” Hawkes (Bailey).

Hazel: I’m going to cash in on everything she’s left behind. I’ve inherited it.
Sue: Well, I hope you don’t inherit her murderer.

We find Clay drinking his breakfast at The Dale, the pub where 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