Send for Paul Temple (1946)

vt The Green Finger
UK / 84 minutes / bw / Butcher’s Dir & Pr: John Argyle Scr: John Argyle, Francis Durbridge Story: Send for Paul Temple (1938 radio play) by Francis Durbridge Cine: Geoffrey Faithfull Cast: Anthony Hulme, Joy Shelton, Tamara Desni, Jack Raine, Beatrice Varley, Hylton Allen, Maire O’Neill, Michael Golden, Richard Shayne, Edward V. Robson, Phil Ray, Leslie Weston, Olive Sloane, H. Victor Weske, Norman Pierce, Melville Crawford, Charles Wade.

Send for Paul Temple - 0 opener

A gang of jewelry robbers is terrorizing the English Midlands, and its members aren’t afraid to kill anyone who gets in the way. The only clue the cops have comes from the dying words of a night watchman: “The Green Finger.”

Bestselling mystery novelist Paul Temple (Hulme) is visited at his country home near Evesham by his old friend Chief Inspector Gerald Harvey (Crawford), but almost immediately Harvey is shot down in one of the local pubs, The Little General. The landlord, Horace Daley (Ray), insists the death must have been a suicide, and when the local physician, Dr. Milton (Allen), arrives he seems to agree. The only other person who might cast some light on the subject is the pub’s solitary resident guest, the middle-aged Miss Amelia Marchment (Varley). Her hobby, it emerges, is the history of old English inns, and she announces that The Little General is in fact a far more ancient inn than is generally realized . . . and that it was originally called The Green Finger!

Send for Paul Temple - 2 Miss Marchment and crooked publican Daley

The seemingly ingeuous Miss Marchment (the splendid Beatrice Varley) and the crooked publican Horace Daley (Phil Ray).

Steve Trent (Shelton), a journalist on one of the London newspapers, has been running a campaign along the lines that, since Scotland Yard is bamboozled by the gang, the cops should “send for Paul Temple”—although quite why the Yard should think a Continue reading

Morton Thompson’s Not as a Stranger (1955)

vt Not as a Stranger
US / 136 minutes / bw / Kramer, UA Dir & Pr: Stanley Kramer Scr: Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt Story: Not as a Stranger (1954) by Morton Thompson Cine: Franz Planer Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Myron McCormick, Lon Chaney Jr., Jesse White, Harry Morgan, Lee Marvin, Virginia Christine, Whit Bissell, Jack Raine, Mae Clarke, William Vedder, John Dierkes, Jerry Paris, Juanita Moore.

Kramer’s first movie as a director has little noirish interest outside its cast, which is crowded out with major and minor contributors to the genre, such as Mitchum, Grahame, de Havilland, Sinatra, Crawford, Morgan, Marvin, Christine and a number of familiar faces among the extensive list of uncredited actors. Its source, Thompson’s novel, was a whopping medical drama exploring the same thematic territory that the UK author A.J. Cronin had mapped out a quarter of a century earlier in novels like The Citadel (1937).

Lucas “Luke” Marsh (Mitchum) is a medical student dedicated to the point of obsession in his studies at a big-city teaching hospital; unfortunately, his father Job (Chaney) has drunk all of Luke’s inheritance from his mother and, though Luke’s tutor Dr. Aarons (Crawford) and best pal Alfred “Al” Boone (Sinatra) lend him some money toward paying his fees, it’s only enough for the hospital bursar (Dierkes) to give him a 30-day extension before, unless he finds the rest, he’ll be expelled.

Not as a Stranger - Pic 1

Robert Mitchum as Luke Marsh with Gloria Grahame as the predatory widow Harriet Lang: “They always warn you about solitary drinking,” she purrs at him, “but they never tell you how to get people to stay up and drink with you.”

Shy Swedish–American nurse Kristina “Kris” Hedvigson (de Havilland) worships the ground Luke treads on; so far as he’s concerned, she’s just an older woman who’s kind enough to help him from time to time. (In fact, de Havilland was just a year or so older than the supposedly student-age Mitchum. Sinatra was actually older than de Havilland.) But, at a smorgasbord party that Kris throws, her friend Bruni (Christine) brags that Kris has extensive savings; soon, to the horror of Continue reading