UK / 59 minutes / bw / Theatrecraft, British Lion Dir: Charles Saunders Pr: Guido Coen Scr: Brandon Fleming Story: Dangerous Afternoon (1951 play) by Gerald Anstruther Cine: Geoffrey Faithfull Cast: Ruth Dunning, Nora Nicholson, Joanna Dunham, Howard Pays, Gladys Henson, Ian Colin, Jerold Wells, May Hallatt, Gwenda Wilson, Elizabeth Begley, Barbara Everest, Jackie Noble, Deirdre Clarke, James Raglan, Edna Morris, Richard McNeff, Jan Miller, Frank Sieman, Keith Smith, Max Brimmell, Trevor Reid, Frank Hawkins, Barry Wilsher.
Irma Randall used to be one of the most audacious jewel thieves in the country until she was caught and jailed. In making a prison escape she fell and broke her back, and now she’s recreated herself as the wheelchair-bound, ultra-genteel Miss Letitia “Letty” Frost (Dunning), owner of Primrose Lodge, a residential home for elderly ladies—in fact, her criminal pals who’ve retired from the profession.
Letty Frost (Ruth Dunning).
Louisa Sprule (Nora Nicholson).
Well, they have in theory, anyway. Sweet old Mrs. Louisa Sprule (Nicholson) is unable to break herself of the habit of petty shoplifting; Mrs. Judson (Everest) has difficulty letting a pocket go by unpicked; Miss Burge (Hallatt) compulsively Continue reading
Spookitude? Noirishness? A youthful John Le Mesurier? Who could ask for more?
UK / 38 minutes / bw / IMP, Grand National Dir & Scr: John Gilling Pr: Harry Reynolds Cine: Cyril Bristow Cast: Victoria Hopper, John Stuart, John Le Mesurier, Frank Hawkins, Antony Doonan, Blanche Fothergill, T. Gilly Fenwick, William Douglas, A. Sawford-Dye, Elizabeth Howarth, Pat Ryan.
This short feature, the first in John Gilling’s directorial career, is an intriguing crossover between noirishness and the ghost story. Gilling gives it a somewhat grandiloquent opening scroll:
In presenting the first of my series of psychic mysteries, I merely relate the story of ‘ESCAPE FROM BROADMOOR’ as it was told me. I do not vouch for its truth or accuracy—I do not know if it happened at all, or if it did, whether it happened quite like this—but the story interested me. I hope it will interest you too.
So far as I can ascertain, and please feel free to correct me, there were no further episodes in what Gilling clearly conceived as a series.
Pendicost John Le Mesurier) persuades his acolyte Jenkins (Antony Doonan) to cooperate.
Ten years ago two crooks, Pendicost (Le Mesurier) and O’Gorman, raided a grand London house, Twelvetrees, the residence of Roger Trent (Hawkins). A maid interrupted them, and one of the two men shot her down. O’Gorman was hanged for the murder; Pendicost turned King’s Evidence and was instead judged criminally insane and sent to Broadmoor, the UK’s main maximum-security psychiatric unit. But three months ago Pendicost Continue reading
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.
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.
Sam 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