Danger Within (1959)

vt Breakout
UK / 96 minutes / bw / Colin Lesslie Productions, British Lion Dir: Don Chaffey Pr: Colin Lesslie Scr: Bryan Forbes, Frank Harvey Story: Death in Captivity (1952; vt The Danger Within) by Michael Gilbert Cine: Arthur Grant Cast: Richard Todd, Bernard Lee, Michael Wilding, Richard Attenborough, Dennis Price, Donald Houston, William Franklyn, Vincent Ball, Peter Arne, Peter Jones, Ronnie Stevens, Terence Alexander, Andrew Faulds, Steve Norbert, Cyril Shaps, Eric Lander, John Dearth, Robert Bruce, Harold Siddons, Ian Whittaker, David Williams, David Graham, Howard Williams, Dino Galvani.

Michael Gilbert was among the great writers of mystery fiction, his most famous novel indubitably being his fourth, Smallbone Deceased (1950), one of those rare books that your correspondent has not only read more than once but makes time to read every few years as a not-so-guilty pleasure.

Most of Gilbert’s novels were set in standard detective-fiction territory. His two main series detectives were Chief Inspector Hazlerigg of the Yard and, later, Patrick Petrella of the Met. Late in life he broke the mold to write some historical detections, but the odd one out during his earlier career was his sixth novel, Death in Captivity (1952; vt The Danger Within), in which he drew upon his own experiences as a prisoner of war in Italy to set a mystery in a POW camp.

The movie adaptation, co-written by Bryan Forbes—best-known as director of such classic movies as site favorite Whistle Down the Wind (1961)[*]—chooses to focus on 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