Escort for Hire (1960)

UK / 64 minutes / color / Danziger, MGM Dir: Godfrey Grayson Pr: Edward J. Danziger, Harry Lee Danziger Scr: Mark Grantham Cine: Jimmy Wilson Cast: June Thorburn, Pete Murray, Noel Trevarthen, Jan Holden, Peter Butterworth, Guy Middleton, Mary Laura Wood, Patricia Plunkett, Derek Blomfield, Jill Melford, Totti Truman Taylor, Catherine Ellison, Bruce Beeby, C. Denier Warren, Viola Keats.

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An unusual UK B-feature made by the Danzigers, whose imprimatur had roughly the same guarantee of quality as those of firms like Monogram and PRC in the US. What’s unusual about it is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The cartoonish opening credits and the soundtrack suggest it’s going to be some mildly naughty comedy, and that’s what it reads like for the first twenty minutes or so—a sex comedy without the sex, so to speak—but thereafter it rather abruptly becomes darker, albeit no more plausible. It’s held together by good performances from Thorburn, Trevarthen, Blomfield and Butterworth—not to mention a startlingly powerful cameo from Plunkett, making the best of a workaday screenplay—while Continue reading

Two Wives at One Wedding (1961)

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No, it’s not an Ealing comedy as the title might suggest. Instead it’s a Brian Clemens thriller, with many of his usual quirks.
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UK / 64 minutes / bw / Danziger, Paramount Dir: Montgomery Tully Pr: Edward J. Danziger, Harry Lee Danziger Scr: Brian Clemens, Eldon Howard Cine: Bert Mason Cast: Gordon Jackson, Christina Gregg, Lisa Daniely, André Maranne, Humphrey Lestocq, Viola Keats, Douglas Ives, John Serret, Annette Carell, Steve Plytas, Gertan Klauber, Michael Anthony, Julian Sherrier, Andre Charisse.

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Rising physician Tom Murray (Jackson) is celebrating his marriage to Christine “Chris” Ervine (Gregg) when an unexpected guest arrives at the reception: Annette Montand (Daniely), whom Tom knew during his time as an ambulance driver in Normandy during the war. Once they’re alone she drops her bombshell: Tom married her in France and, even though the event is lost to the weeks of amnesia he suffered after being shot up in August 1944 by the Gestapo, she has a marriage certificate and other evidence to prove it:

Annette: “It was not a gay ceremony. Continue reading

Pointing Finger, The (1933)

UK / 67  minutes / bw / Real Art, Ambassador Dir & Scr: George Pearson Pr: Julius Hagen Story: The Pointing Finger (1907) by “Rita” Cine: Ernest Palmer Cast: John Stuart, A. Bromley Davenport, Leslie Perrins, Michael Hogan, D.J. Williams, Clare Greet, Henrietta Watson, Viola Keats.

At the time of the Reformation, Henry VIII took the estate of Edensore away from the Church, giving it to one of his supporters, who became the first Earl of Edensore. The abbot, murdered in his own church, died with a curse on his lips:

Seventh eighth and one before
Curst be the race of Edensore
After that and nevermore
Curst be the race of Edensore

—a rhyme that may not match the best of Tennyson but has at least the right cursely verisimilitude in being cryptic to the point of meaninglessness. Arthur, the elderly Earl of Edensore (Davenport), explains all this to his son and heir, Ronnie, Lord Rollestone (Stuart), on the eve of the latter’s departure to Africa for a big-game-hunting expedition. The Earl adds that the prophecy is generally taken to mean that the eighth Earl—in other words, Ronnie when he inherits—is going to have a tough time of it. Hanging over them in the hall is a portrait of the abbot, pointing an accusatory finger . . .

The abbot accuses . . .

Ronnie is engaged to his cousin, Lady Mary Stuart (Keats), daughter of the old Earl’s sister Lady Anne Stuart (Watson), although the two young people have a Continue reading