After Dark (1933)

|
Cattermole-Brompton by name, Cattermole-Brompton by nature!
|

UK / 44 minutes / bw / Fox British Pictures Dir & Pr: Albert Parker Scr: R.J. Davis, J. Jefferson Farjeon Story: After Dark (1932 play) by J. Jefferson Farjeon Cine: Geoffrey Faithfull Cast: Horace Hodges, Hugh Williams, George Barraud, Ian Fleming, Gretha Hansen, Henry Oscar, Pollie Emery, Arthur Padbury.

The name that stands out in the credits of this short feature, aside from that of the versatile cinematographer, is J. Jefferson Farjeon, the prolific Golden Age crime novelist and playwright who returned to the limelight in 2014 when the British Library reissue of his 1937 novel Mystery in White became a surprise Christmas bestseller. Continue reading

Too Hot to Handle (1960)

vt Playgirl After Dark
UK / 93 minutes / color / Wigmore, ABPC, Warner-Pathé Dir: Terence Young Pr: C.P. Hamilton Marshall Scr: Herbert Kretzmer Story: Harry Lee (idea) Cine: Otto Heller Cast: Jayne Mansfield, Leo Genn, Carl Boehm (i.e., Karlheinz Böhm), Danik Patisson, Christopher Lee, Kai Fischer, Patrick Holt, Martin Boddey, Sheldon Lawrence, Barbara Windsor, John Salew, Tom Bowman, Ian Fleming, Penny Morrell, Katherine Keeton, Susan Denny, Judy Bruce, Elizabeth Wilson, Shari Khan, Bill McGuffie, Michael Balfour, Larry Taylor, June Elvin, Morton Lowry, Martin Sterndale, Harry Lane, Robin Chapman.

Too Hot to Handle 0 opener

Gentleman Johnny Solo (Genn) runs the upscale Pink Flamingo strip club in London’s Soho, directly across the road from the Diamond Horseshoe, the joint run by his main rival, Diamonds Dinelli (Lawrence). Johnny’s right-hand man is Novak (Lee); his both-hands woman and chief “exotic dancer” goes under the name of Midnight Franklin (Mansfield), although he often joshingly calls her Twelve O’Clock.

Today he’s hired two new strippers, the schoolteacher-like Marjorie Adams (Denny) and the naive, manifestly underage Stephanie Swanson (Windsor, later to be the bubbly little sexpot in countless Carry On movies), who soon decides that her stage name should be Pony Tail. He also agrees to let a French journalist, Robert Jouvel (Boehm)—wrongly called “Jouvet” in the closing credits—hang around the club for a few days for the purpose of writing an article for a Paris magazine.

Too Hot to Handle 1 Robert does his best to ignore Midnight's rear . . .

Robert (Carl Boehm) does his best to ignore the rear of Midnight (Jayne Mansfield) . . .

Too Hot to Handle 2 . . . but is captivated by Lilliane in rehearsal

. . . but is captivated by Lilliane (Danik Patisson) in rehearsal.

Robert is instantly much taken with one of the strippers, the mysterious Austrian dancer Lilliane Decker (Patisson), who has a touch of tragedy in her eyes and is clearly running from something or someone, because she throws a tantrum when Continue reading

Voice of Merrill, The (1952)

vt Murder Will Out
UK / 80 minutes / bw / Tempean, Eros Dir & Scr: John Gilling Pr: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman Story: Terence Austin, Gerald Landau Cine: Monty Berman Cast: Valerie Hobson, Edward Underdown, James Robertson Justice, Henry Kendall, Garry Marsh, Daniel Wherry, Sam Kydd, Daphne Newton, Ian Fleming, Johnnie Schofield.

Voice of Merrill - 1 Jean Bridges confronted by her murdererJean Bridges (uncredited) confronted by her murderer.

The handsome building outside which this movie opens and closes is BBC Broadcasting House, in London.

Struggling mystery writer Hugh Allen (Underdown) is introduced one night at the Flamenco restaurant by his publisher, Ronald “Ronnie” Parker (Kendall), to Alycia Roach (Hobson), unhappy wife of the hugely successful, extraordinarily egotistic and thoroughly obnoxious playwright Jonathan Roach (Justice). Hugh’s date, Jean Bridges (uncredited), has stood him up; we very soon learn that she was the young woman whom we saw gunned down by a mysterious figure in the opening moments of the movie.

For Hugh and Alycia it’s quite patently love at first sight.

Voice of Merrill - 2 Alycia and Alan hear that Jean's not coming

Alycia (Valerie Hobson) and Alan (Edward Underdown) hear that Jean’s not going to join the supper party.

They’re not particularly subtle about it, and it seems that Continue reading

Riverside Murder, The (1935)

UK / 64 minutes / bw / Fox Dir & Pr: Albert Parker Scr: Selwyn Jepson Story: Six Hommes Morts (1930) by André Steeman (i.e., Stanislas-André Steeman) Cine: Alex Bryce Cast: Basil Sydney, Judy Gunn, Zoë Davis, Alastair Sim, Reginald Tate, Ian Fleming, Tom Helmore, Martin Lewis, C.M. Hallard, Aubrey Mallalieu.

Steeman’s novel was later filmed again as the far better and more ambitious Les Dernier des Six (1941), dir Georges Lacombe. (There was also a version for the small screen: L’Inspecteur Wens: Six Hommes Morts [1975], an episode of the French/WG TV series Les Grands Détectives [1974–5].) The 1935 version is pretty poor stuff, with a clumsily constructed plot, an extremely tiresome female lead, a waste of Alastair Sim’s talents, and a profoundly silly tagged-on romantic ending.

Someone murders successful financier Robert Norman (Mallalieu) in the library of his riverside home, River House. Inspector Philip Winton (Sydney) of the local constabulary is called in to investigate, which he does with Sergeant “Mac” McKay (Sim) alongside him as his obsequious assistant. It soon emerges that five years ago, after Norman had harmed four of his friends with bad financial advice, he gave each of them cash by way of compensation; the five agreed on The Pact, a sort of faux-tontine whereby they all—or at least all the survivors—would assemble here at an agreed date and share equally among them the wealth they’d earned in the intervening period. With Norman now dead, each of the remaining four will gain one-quarter of his not inconsiderable fortune. That agreed date is now: The Pact has until midnight tomorrow to run . . .

Two of those four have already arrived and are staying in River House: writer Hubert Perrin (Tate) and the rather retiring Henry Sanders (Fleming). Soon a third turns up, the wastrel William Gregg (Lewis); it’s said that the dead man had recently wearied of Gregg’s endless requests for “loans” and had cut off the money supply. Finally the fourth appears, Alfred Jerome (Helmore), freshly arrived from the Far East; he’s plainly terrified, displaying on his shoulder the bullet graze that he apparently received last night when someone took a potshot at him. As he talks about this in Norman’s library to Sanders and Claire Haines (Gunn), a headstrong young journalist who has butted into the case and keeps returning despite the best efforts of Philip and Mac to eject her, he moves nervously to the French windows to close them and is promptly shot down from the darkened garden beyond.

Riverside Murder -

A shot rings out and Jerome (Tom Helmore) clutches his chest . . .

Sanders runs for help. When he returns he finds Continue reading