Night Train to Munich (1940)

vt In Disguise; vt Night Train
UK / 95 minutes / bw / Twentieth Century, MGM Dir: Carol Reed Pr: Edward Black Scr: Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder Story: Gordon Wellesley Cine: Otto Kanturek Cast: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul von Hernried (i.e., Paul Henreid), Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, James Harcourt, Felix Aylmer, Wyndham Goldie, Roland Culver, Eliot Makeham, Raymond Huntley, Austin Trevor, Kenneth Kent, C.V. France, Fritz Valk, Morland Graham, Irene Handl.

Set in the days immediately leading up to the declaration of war between the UK and Germany, and made before the full horrors were known of what was going on under the Reich, this movie has an obvious propaganda agenda; yet it’s a fine thriller in its own right, leavened with some well judged humor. With a director like Carol Reed and stars like Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid and of course the Naunton Wayne/Basil Radford combo, one would hardly expect otherwise.

 

Margaret Lockwood and James Harcourt as Anna and Axel Bomasch.

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Hostile Witness (1968)

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Can a brilliant lawyer suppress his arrogance long enough to save his own skin?
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UK / 99 minutes / color / Caralan–Dador, UA Dir: Ray Milland Pr: David E. Rose Scr: Jack Roffey Story: Hostile Witness (1965 play) by Jack Roffey Cine: Gerald Gibbs Cast: Ray Milland, Sylvia Syms, Raymond Huntley, Felix Aylmer, Geoffrey Lumsden, Ewan Roberts, Julian Holloway, Norman Barrs, Richard Hurndall, Dulcie Bowman, Ballard Berkeley, Harold Berens, Percy Marmont, Edward Waddy, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Sandra Fehr.

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Devastated when his wife was killed during the Blitz, lawyer Simon Crawford (Milland) and his infant daughter Joanna were taken in by Justice Matthew Gregory (Marmont) and his wife Phyllis (Bowman). Years later, Crawford is a prominent QC and Joanna (Fehr) has grown up to become a lovely young woman.

One evening Crawford is visiting Lady Phyllis to toast her birthday when there’s a screech of brakes outside. Joanna has been knocked down by a hit-and-run driver, and will soon die in the hospital. As you’d expect, Crawford says in front of witnesses that he’ll kill the driver if ever he finds him.

hostile-witness-1-crawford-exchanges-banter-with-daughter-joanna

Crawford (Ray Milland) exchanges banter with daughter Joanna (Sandra Fehr).

hostile-witness-2-lady-gregory-looks-down-at-the-scene-of-the-accident

Lady Gregory (Dulcie Bowman) looks down at the scene of the accident.

Spool forward a few weeks. The police have got nowhere in finding the driver—all that the witnesses could report was that Continue reading

Suspect (1960)

vt The Risk
UK / 78 minutes / bw / Charter, British Lion Dir & Pr: Roy Boulting, John Boulting Scr: Nigel Balchin, Jeffrey Dell, Roy Boulting Story: A Sort of Traitors (1949) by Nigel Balchin Cine: Max Greene Cast: Tony Britton, Virginia Maskell, Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Raymond Huntley, Thorley Walters, Donald Pleasence, Spike Milligan, Kenneth Griffith, Robert Bruce, Anthony Booth, Basil Dignam, Brian Oulton, Sam Kydd, Bruce Wightman, Ian Wilson, Murray Melvin, Geoffrey Bayldon, Andre Charise.

Suspect 1960 - 1 Lucy defends Arthur from mischievous chimp Phillips

Scientist Lucy Byrne (Virginia Maskell) protects dimwitted janitor Arthur (Spike Milligan) from skittish chimp Phillips (Phillips).

At the Haughton Research Laboratory in London, a team of scientists under Professor Sewell (Cushing) is coming close to developing a strain of superbugs that could eliminate lethal diseases by preying upon the germs that cause them. Sewell is keen to publish the research, but he’s suddenly called to the office of the Minister of Defence, Sir George Gatting (finely portrayed by Huntley, who had a real genius for playing seedy characters hiding under a veneer of respectability), and told he must keep the work secret in the interests of national security: those bugs could be turned against the UK by a hostile power. Although he’s resentful and tries to make waves by, for example, writing to the President of the Royal Society, Sewell concurs. Gatting sets a special agent of the security services, Prince (Walters), to work with sidekick Slater (Kydd) on making sure the scientists do indeed keep their peace. Prince soon recruits Dr. Frederick Shole (Griffith, in fine fettle), Sewell’s right-hand man, to be his mole within the lab.

Suspect 1960 - 2 Sewell, Shole, Marriott being sciency

Professor Sewell (Peter Cushing), Frederick Shole (Kenneth Griffith) and Bob Marriott (Tony Britton): Ooo, aren’t we sciency?

A hothead junior member of Sewell’s team, Bob Marriott (Britton), has difficulty toeing the official line. Through his assistant Lucy Byrne (Maskell) he meets Continue reading

Teckman Mystery, The (1954)

UK / 88 minutes / bw / Corona, British Lion Dir: Wendy Toye Pr: Josef Somlo Scr: Francis Durbridge, James Matthews Story: Francis Durbridge Cine: Jack Hildyard Cast: Margaret Leighton, John Justin, Meier Tzelniker, Michael Medwin, Roland Culver, George Coulouris, Jane Wenham, Duncan Lamont, Raymond Huntley, Harry Locke, Frances Rowe.

Successful thriller writer Philip Chance (Justin) is called from the South of France by his publisher, Maurice Miller (Huntley), who wants him to write the biography of a young test pilot, Martin Teckman (Medwin), who died during the test flight of an experimental warplane, the Walters–Armitage F109. On the plane to London Philip discovers that the passenger next to him is the dead pilot’s sister Helen (Leighton), and there’s a spark between them.

Teckman Mystery - 1 a chance meeting on the plane

It’s every author’s dream: the stunningly attractive person seated next to you on the plane happens to be reading one of your books . . .

Philip arrives home to find his flat has been ransacked. Unusually, the break-in is investigated not by a couple of beat officers but by a full-blown Scotland Yard inspector, Hilton (Lamont).

Although not much interested in writing the biography, Philip agrees at least to Continue reading

Green Man, The (1956)

UK / 77 minutes / bw / Grenadier, British Lion Dir: Robert Day Pr & Scr: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat Story: Meet A Body (1954 play) by Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat Cine: Gerald Gibbs Cast: Alastair Sim, George Cole, Terry-Thomas, Jill Adams, Raymond Huntley, Colin Gordon, Avril Angers, John Chandos, Eileen Moore, Arthur Brough, Dora Bryan, Richard Wattis, Alexander Gauge, Cyril Chamberlain, Vivien Wood, Marie Burke, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Ripper, Doris Yorke, Terence Alexander.

By no stretch of the imagination is this a film noir; rather, it belongs to the same stream of UK crime comedies whose best-known representatives include Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The LADYKILLERS (1955) and School for Scoundrels (1960). It has, too, many of the characteristics of a Whitehall farce, with the same fine timing, mockery of pretensions, and expert manipulation of misunderstandings, especially of an amorous nature.

The glorious piano trio make amorous eyes at the gentlemanly knave Hawkins.

Outwardly respectable Hawkins (Sim)—although he uses other aliases—discovered the art of murder-by-bomb while he was still in preparatory school at Embrook House, whose loathed headmaster Continue reading