snapshot: When the Bough Breaks (1947)

UK / 78 minutes / bw / Sydney Box, Gainsborough, GFD, Rank Dir: Lawrence Huntington Pr: Betty E. Box Scr: Peter Rogers Story: Moie Charles, Herbert Victor Cine: Bryan Langley Cast: Patricia Roc, Rosamund John, Bill Owen, Brenda Bruce, Patrick Holt, Leslie Dwyer, Cavan Malone, Torin Thatcher, Catherine Lacey, Edith Sharpe, Muriel George, Jane Hylton, Noel Howlett, Sonia Holm.

Lily Gardner (Roc), recovering in hospital after the birth of her first child, Jimmy, receives the unwelcome news that her husband is a bigamist—legally Jimmy has been born out of wedlock. She decides to go it alone, reverting to her maiden name of Lily Bates, forswearing men and getting a job at a department store. There she’s befriended by scent-counter colleague Ruby Chapman (Bruce). During the day she leaves Jimmy at a childcare center, where he’s tended by rich Frances Norman (John). Eventually it all gets too much for Lily and she allows Frances and Frances’s husband Robert (Holt) to adopt the lad.

Patricia Roc as Lily Gardner/Bates, getting the bad news about her marital status.

Eight years later, though, she meets Continue reading

Franchise Affair, The (1951)

UK / 87 minutes / bw / Associated British Dir: Lawrence Huntington Pr: Robert Hall Scr: Robert Hall, Lawrence Huntington Story: The Franchise Affair (1948) by Josephine Tey Cine: Günther Krampf Cast: Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray, Anthony Nicholls, Marjorie Fielding, Athene Seyler, John Bailey, Hy Hazell, Kenneth More, Avice Landone, Maureen Glynne, Peter Jones, Moultrie Kelsall, Ann Stephens, Martin Boddey, John Forrest, Patrick Troughton, Victor Maddern.

Franchise Affair - 0 opener

Made at Elstree, a good adaptation of Tey’s famous novel about the rapid descent of the apparently amiable inhabitants of a sleepy rural town into lynch-mob, witch-hunting mentality. The movie itself is styled to reflect this theme, outwardly having many of the genial trappings of a “cozy” mystery while having at its heart a very steely message indeed.

Teenaged schoolgirl Betty Kane (Stephens) goes missing after visiting an aunt, and turns up a couple of weeks later at her adoptive parents’ home having clearly been beaten. She claims that she spent the intervening period as prisoner of spinster Marion Sharpe (Gray) and her elderly mother (Fielding) at The Franchise, a gloomy old manor on the outskirts of the small town of Melford, somewhere in the Continue reading

Night Boat to Dublin (1946)

UK / 96 minutes / bw / Trans-World, Pathe Dir: Lawrence Huntington Pr: Hamilton G. Inglis Scr: Lawrence Huntington, Robert Hall Cine: Otto Heller Cast: Robert Newton, Raymond Lovell, Guy Middleton, Muriel Pavlow, Herbert Lom, John Ruddock, Martin Miller, Brenda Bruce, Gerald Case, Julian Dallas (i.e., Scott Forbes), Leslie Dwyer, Valentine Dyall, Bruce Gordon, Marius Goring, Olga Lindo, Stuart Lindsell, Gordon McLeod, Joan Maude, Lawrence O’Madden, Hay Petrie, Wilfrid Hyde White.

Night Boat to Dublin - 0 openerIn the opening moments of this noirish spy tale we see Frederick Jannings (Goring), held prisoner in the Tower of London as a suspected Nazi spy and facing death by firing squad, being given one last chance to tell British Military Intelligence what has happened to missing Swedish scientist Dr. Hansen (Miller), whose researches into atomic weapons are making their way to the Nazis. Jannings believes Hansen is dead, which is taken by his captors as a refusal to talk; he’s Continue reading

Eight Witnesses (1950)

UK, WG / 62 minutes / bw / Bavaria Filmkunst, Princess, Vitapix Dir: Lawerence Huntington (i.e., Lawrence Huntington) Pr: Gene Martel Scr: Halsted Welles Cine: Bruno Stephan Cast: Peggy Ann Garner, Dennis Price, Dr. Charles Jacquemar, Wolfgang Buettner, Christian Dorn, Ernst Fritz Fuerbringer, Gerhard Kittler, Auguste Hansen-Kleinmichel, Heinz Beck.

Brilliant scientist Ernst Hildebrund (Jacquemar) escapes from behind the Iron Curtain into Austria, where he heads for Vienna to make contact with the British Military Intelligence agent who’s been wooing him toward defection, Allan Peters (Price). His escape, as he leaps from a train at a border crossing and is chased through swirling mists by armed guards intent on shooting him down like a dog, is something of a pièce de résistance, especially in the context of a postwar cheapie like this.

After Hildebrund phones Allan from a callbox and is told to wait where he his, the frightened scientist is spooked by a couple of sinister-seeming strangers and instead heads to the library for the blind where his daughter Helen (Garner) is a librarian. Allan, who has been romancing her just in case of such an eventuality, heads there too. Of course, the bad guys have likewise guessed Hildebrund might make contact with his daughter, and have planted one of their number (Buettner) there as a supposedly blind reader. When Hildebrund arrives, terrified by now of everyone, he hides an envelope containing his secret formula in a book on the cart pushed around by library staffer Carl (Dorn), who happens to be an undercover operative working with Allan. The fake blind man kills Hildebrund but, unable to find the document, heads back to his superior (Kittler), who’s operating out of a fully functional bakery.

Eight Witnesses - the 8 witnesses ... plus oneEight witnesses . . . plus one!

Allan arrives—too late!—and investigates, interviewing the eight genuinely blind readers who shared a table with the faker. Of course, being blind, they can’t tell him much, although one of their number Continue reading