FEATURE FILMS made at
New Elstree Studios

About The Danzigers
A list of Danziger/ New Elstree films
To my review of Danziger The Untold Story (2011)

Production Manager Brian Taylor
Geoffrey Helman's Description of New Elstree Studios
Saber of London memories by Robert Arden
Click where highlighted for
my reviews of surviving films:
4* Star of my Night~
3* Devil Girl from Mars~
2* Satellite in the Sky
3* The Depraved
1* Alias John Preston
3* The Hostage #
4* Son of a Stranger
5* The Betrayal
4* Three Sundays to Live
4* The Great Van Robbery
5* A Woman of Mystery
5* Three Crooked Men
7* Innocent Meeting
5* Man Accused
4* Web of Suspicion
7* High Jump
2* Compelled
6* Night Train For Inverness
5* An Honourable Murder
3* The Tell-Tale Heart
4* Return of a Stranger
6* Sentenced for Life
6* So Evil So Young
6* Feet of Clay
4* Highway to Battle
7* The Silent Invasion
3* Striptease Murder
5* Escort for Hire
2* Two Wives at One Wedding
4* Fate Takes a Hand
4* What Every Woman Wants
5* The Pursuers #
2* Three Spare Wives #
5* The Lamp in Assassin Mews #
3* She Always gets their Man #
4* Gang War #
3* The Durant Affair #
1* The Battleaxe #
Notes- All these films were produced by the Danziger Brothers except where marked #. * My star rating ranges from 1* very poor, to 7* good
Films marked ~ were produced by The Danzigers prior to their purchase of New Elstree.
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Danziger- The Untold Elstree Story
was released on dvd in 2011, and it's a story which we must be grateful to Derek Pykett for telling, for he has energetically tracked down a number of personnel to rack their memories about a minor but fascinating part of Britain's tv and cinema scene from fifty years back. The result is one I'm sure the Danzigers themselves would have approved, for this is no critical appraisal of their output, but a reflection of the fun, as Francis Matthews affectionately describes it, of the atmosphere inside the studios.
Of course Brian Clemens has to feature, as The Danzigers' first main scriptwriter and he forthrightly admits that they produced "potboilers." Production manager Brian Taylor is maybe too laid back about his time there, it would have been good to get a few more facts from him, but assistant director Geoffrey Helman remembered more, but their brief seems to have been to tell as many amusing tales as they could rather than contribute any serious evaluation of their work. Other actors include Geoffrey Bayldon, who has one good story at the end, Ian Gregory, who comes over very charmingly, and Trader Faulkner, the only one to undertake any analysis. Brian Cobby is entertaining and Sheila Whittingham has a nice account of how she met Harry Danziger. But presumably because they either couldn't or wouldn't, it's a pity that others who went to New Elstree weren't able to contribute, like Honor Blackman, Michael Caine or Leslie Phillips.
But there is a good balance of reminiscence, sometimes well illustrated by a still or clip, more short clips to prove the point being made would have been beneficial. At the half way point, rare silent footage of the studios, shot by Francis Matthews, makes a welcome change of pace and is worthy of close study, before this, the groundbreaking The Nudist Story is reviewed. However after this, a disproportionate amount of attention, a quarter of the whole, is given to the Richard the Lionheart tv series. This section becomes too rambling, with memories of interesting but not key Danziger actors like Francis de Wolff and Nigel Green, but no mention, for example, of some bigger names who graced the studios. Presumably this focus on the Danzigers' final tv series was partly because personnel remembered this series best, or was it, as Pykett says, because it was the Danzigers' most successful series? If it was, why did the studios close immediately afterwards? The reason is not given, but surely their most successful series was the Mark Saber/ Saber of London saga which ran to 156 episodes, four times more than that of the Lionheart! But this series is dismissed with two slightly distasteful jokes about the star Donald Gray. Even worse, there is no mention at all of their best series, though that's only my opinion, The Cheaters. The claustrophobic film The Tell Tale Heart is covered, but without mentioning it was the only Danziger feature to receive any sort of award.
However, that said, there are very few factual errors. Devil Girl
s from Mars is a slight slip, while stating that the 30 minute tv films could be cut to 28 minutes was slightly out, as tv films lasted 25 or 26 minutes. I would also query whether as many as 140 feature films were made at the studios, I'd like all the titles please. At almost two hours ("everything's too long now" admits Clemens), the whole could have been improved by judicious editing, never had The Danzigers themselves lasted that long on screen! But that is being pernickety and this is not a documentary that aims to do much more than reflect the happy times spent by a happy family group, presided over by the two brothers, taskmasters, yes, but loyal to their employees, and producing a remarkable if sadly forgotten underrated slice of celluloid history, yes it was a story worth telling.
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STAR OF MY NIGHT (1954, Hammersmith Studios, directed by Paul Dickson)

The first film that the Danziger brothers produced in Britain before they had purchased New Elstree. The start is completely untypical of anything else the Danzigers did here, a long ballet dance by the "charming" Iris, whose attractions have long worn off before this five minute sequence is completed.
Better things follow however. The story is about sculptor Michael (Griffith Jones) and his best friend Carl (Harold Lang), who is smitten with Iris. She however feels she's too young for marriage, with her career in front of her. She finds Michael "terribly conceited," but this is due to his wariness of women, especially Eve (Kathleen Byron) with whom he once had had an affair. Now musical comedy actress Eve is engaged to wealthy patron of the arts Arnold (Hugh Williams).
To please Carl, Michael chaperones Iris, whilst Carl is out of town. We all know what's going to happen. "Will you pose for me?" is Michael's chat-up line. I think he really means 'pose' too, but anyway Iris refuses. But his persistence pays off and a week or so later he has his model.
"Michael's taking up too much of your time," notes the returning Carl to Iris. The two men face up to each other and Michael is knocked to the ground. That seems to awake Michael to the truth that he's in love, and he kisses Iris.
But all this, er, posing, brings on dizzy spells in Michael- "just a twinge darling." As he struggles to finish his heartfelt sculpture of her dancing, that blow he'd received in the fight indicates he's developed "a traumatic cyst." An operation is needed urgently to ensure he doesn't lose his sight. But Michael has an inner drive to complete his masterpiece, and feverishly races to complete it. No time for the operation.
Now his sight is fading. He pretends to be kissing Eve so that Iris believes he no longer loves her. All in the best tradition of melodrama. She walks away to bury her feelings in her career.
With his best work magnificently finished, Michael is now blind. Iris learns the truth and of course we end with a nicely sentimental, very sentimental reunion.
Hugh Williams provides his usual reliable support and Griffith Jones is always watchable. It's only a pity Pauline Olsen as the ballerina takes a long while to get the hang of acting on film.
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DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS (1954)

Billed as Britain's first sci-fi film.
With the opening music identical to that later used in the Saber of London tv series, I was half expecting Donald Gray to pronounce "I'm Mark Saber and this is London."
It's a meteor, according to the wireless, that's landed in the county of Inverness- but it's not, 'tis a girl from Mars!
The action is set in a lonely Scottish pub where inevitably we can find John Laurie, here playing the landlord. Doris (Adrienne Corri) is thrilled and surprised when Robert her boy friend (Peter Reynolds), who has broken out of prison, comes to her. She hides him in the pub.
Guests there include actress Ellen (Hazel Court), as well as a professor (Joseph Tomelty) and a reporter (Hugh McDermott) who are investigating "the wee bit o' metal in the sky." The prof declares himself "baffled" over the giant catherine wheel-like object. Out steps a dark figure, statuesque. Those who get in her way she simply shoots with her ray gun. "I'm from Mars," Nyah declares to the prof. "That's preposterous!"
She adds that she has come for "new blood", that is men! Apparently they are short of males on her planet. With an "invisible wall" around her and her flying saucer, she's impervious even to gunshots. "What does one do about something one can't even see?" With her very ungainly robot, a kind of overgrown Flowerpot Man, she's all powerful.
First to be booked for the trip to Mars is Tommy, the landlord's nephew. "That poor lad's in that devil's hands." How to rescue Tommy? Our gallant reporter offers himself in exchange. Accepted.
The usual solution in such films is Destruction and that's what our earthlings discuss. But the attempt fails leaving them all under sentence of Death.
Spurred on by their imminent demise, Doris and Robert fall in love, as do the actress and the reporter. Robert though has fallen under Nyah's spell: "we are all the slaves of a great and powerful civilisation," and is taken away in the saucer with her. Fortunately Nyah appears to forget the bit about destroying all those left behind and they stare into space as the craft explodes.

Some of the dialogue is rather on the wooden level, but if you like this sort of fantasy, the kindest comment might be that Patricia Laffan makes a really camp alien
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SATELLITE IN THE SKY (1955)

Cinemascope, Eastmancolor and Stereophonic Sound! Can this be the Danzigers? With a critical verdict of "tacky," suffice it to say that soon after this they decided to concentrate on B features. Subplots with Larry (a slightly portly Jimmy Hanley) and another with Jimmy (a young Bryan Forbes) slow down this unusually lengthy film even further.
It's all about the first flight out of the pull of earth's gravity.
"What will man have gained?" asks a philosophical reporter Kim (Lois Maxwell). This referring to the plot, not the film.
After half an hour big name star Donald Wolfit finally appears. Had he been given a morning off?! He plays a war officer and informs the pilot (Kieron Moore) that the flight will have a powerful tritonium bomb on board. Off flies the Stardust, a fairly ordinary looking aircraft (well this was 1955) with one stowaway, in the shape of Kim, though hardly in the style of the Dr Zachary Smith-to-be of 'Lost in Space'. In fact it's Donald Wolfit who seems to gradually take on the Zachary role model!
Unfortunately the bomb, instead of zooming off into the beyond, annoyingly clings to the satellite and there's a bit of a flap trying to prevent it from exploding either in space or plummeting back to earth. There, the experts decide there's no hope, though a futile rescue mission sets off, in the shape of a new top secret craft, American of course. There are some corny conversations as we wait for the Big Bang on the lines of "If things had turned out differently...." Then at almost the twelfth hour the proto Zachary Smith becomes peculiarly unselfish and manages to unsuperglue the offending bomb.

Yes, stick to the B stuff, Brothers. I found the most enjoyable way of passing the time was in spotting some uncredited actors, who later became "regulars" at New Elstree Studios. This practice became a hallmark of Danziger productions. I believe I found Tony Quinn as Barman Jack, Trevor Reid and Arnold Bell with microphones, Graham Stark as a photographer and Bill Nagy as a newspaperman. Maybe you can unearth a few more?

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ALIAS JOHN PRESTON (1955)
An uneven study of a schizophrenic written by Paul Tabori and directed by David MacDonald.

The characters are: Bob (Peter Grant), local amateur golf champion, who loves Sally (Betta St John), who however wants to play the field.
Her dad Dick Sandford (John Longden), a banker, is an old friend of Bob's dad, a newspaper editor called Joe (Bill Fraser).

They all live in the quiet town of Deanbridge. Into this mix comes John Preston (Christopher Lee) who buys up an ailing business and soon is a thriving businessman. He also makes eyes at Sally, much to Bob's consternation. "There's something strange about him," objects Bob, in a vain attempt to dissuade her from becoming engaged to John. Bob even tries to enforce his view on John by pulling a gun on him. But Bob can't pull the trigger.
Dr Walton (Alexander Knox).is the newly appointed psychiatrist at the local hospital. One of his first patients is Bob- "can hate be an illness?" he asks the good doctor.
John, apparently quite normal up till now, also consults Dr Walton- "I'm having very bad dreams lately." He has dreamt he is black marketeer David Garrity and at his future house, he is blackmailed by Sylvia his ex-girl friend (Sandra Dorne). He kills her, but is seen by a man claiming to be her husband (Pat Holt with a thick French accent). Together the two bury her.
The wedding is now close. Dr Walton is so worried about his patient who has now descended to drink, that he queries with Sally "are you quite sure, Sally?"
John has another dream- "have you ever thought of postponing your marriage?" urges Dr Walton. In the next dream, the doc has even entered it. John wants to run away. Then another nightmare - in this dream he's fighting to the death with Sylvia's husband.
"You'll never dream again," reassures Dr Walton as the men in white coats take John away.
Asks Sally, "I don't understand. Why?" Hear hear.

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THREE CROOKED MEN (1957)

"It'll be like opening a tin can," declares boss (Eric Pohlmann), as the crooks drive past a familiar bank seen in several Danziger productions. He's already cased the joint: "with my eyes closed, I could tell you where every nail is." To avoid their security system, the plan is to break in through next door, Westcot's Stores, an old-fashioned shop owned by Don, an ex-boxer (Gordon Jackson) and his wife (Sarah Lawson). Don's got a chip on his shoulder since losing a limb in a road accident.
The three crooks walk into the store after it's closed. But it's not empty as they think.
Prinn (Warren Mitchell) works at the bank, and is due in court tomorrow, facing the serious charge of nicking a fountain pen. "You did what?" Don asks him in shock surprise. Prinn knows he'll lose his job over this. "Just because of a fountain pen?" asks the incredulous Don. They get drunk which is why Don is in his shop later than usual. "Just do as you're told," he's ordered as the crooks begin chiselling through into the bank safe. After a lot of sweat they get their nasty hands on the loot just as Don wriggles free, shouting for help. The pathetic Prinn is pacing dejectedly outside the bank and hears the cry, and so has to be transported away with Don and the three crooks.
The action now slows. Next day the papers are full of the story of the daring bank raid. The police appear to be pinning it on Don and Prinn, to the amusement of the crooks. They dump the two innocents in the bushes. They find civilisation again at Joe's Cafe. The police swoop. The inspector "goes for the facts" and finds it hard to believe the pair's tale and any existence of "three wise crooks."
To prove their innocence they trace the crooks themselves via a photo left behind in the shop. 56 Harcourt Place is where Lola Brent lives- they watch the house and are finally rewarded with a sight of the crooks. Their innocence is proved at last and all ends happily. Even for Prinn who obtains a new job- where? at Wescot's!

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THREE SUNDAYS TO LIVE (1957)
Ernest Morris directs this routine Brian Clemens thriller about a man sentenced to death: the law requires that after sentence has been passed, 3 Sundays must elapse before the execution.

Bandleader Frank Martin (Kieron Moore) is found by the dead body of a nightclub owner. Late at night, he had been showing ex-singer Ruth Chapman (Sandra Dorne) into the manager's office, when they saw him being shot. Then Frank had been bashed on the head and she's disappeared. There he stands, gun in his hand... Inspector Morgan (John Stone) tells Frank "all the cards are stacked against you," as he arrests him.
Girl friend Judy Allen (Jane Griffiths) stands by Frank and even breaks into the Flamingo club searching for clues.
Top lawyer Howard Davitt (Basil Dignam) defends Martin, but he turns out to be a bit of a dud.
Result- Guilty. No appeal is granted and later even a reprieve is refused. It's getting bleak for Frank with only three days to live.
Next day he feigns illness and jumps into a delivery van, switching to a waiting car, driven by Judy. She hides him in an uncle's empty house. From there they drive to London to find Louie, an old buddy of Frank's who might know how to trace this missing witness Ruth. Louie points them in the direction of 'Fix It' George Davis. He shoves them off to Charlie Winters on dockside. Some rough stuff persuades Charlie to spit out what he knows- Ruth has been hidden at 85 Victoria Row. "How did you find me?" Ruth asks! No sooner found, than she's shot dead.
Lawyer Davitt now proves some worth when he's called to 85. His unorthodox plan is to pretend it's Judy who's in a coma as "the shots were intended for somebody else," he announces to the press. This yields the desired result as the killer is lured back to see if he really hadn't silenced Ruth. A fight on the rooftops ends happily with a kiss.

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Son of a Stranger
(1957, directed by Ernie Morris)-

James Kenney was typecast playing young tearaways, and this film is a typical example. His part of Tom Adams evokes some sympathy, but in the end he is shown up to be a callous villain, with a soft centre.
Tom's mother is ill, and her dying wish is to see her son, who is behind bars. This could be the chance for him to break free, but his girl Joaney (Ann Stephens) quietly persuades him not to be so silly. Indeed Tom seems more interested in seeing her than his mum, whom he blames for his bad start in life. She never married, and she, even now, will not reveal who his father is.
Back in jail. At last- the day of his release, and he bids farell to his cell mate Lenny (Victor Maddern). This first half of the film is all dialogue, a lot of it irrelevant to the unravelling of the plot, but you feel sure that Tom's bad start in life is due to his home circumstances when you see the shabby home to which he returns.
The story picks up as he looks over his mother's effects, hoping to find a clue as to his father. But has Joaney hidden something?
A letter through the post is his breakthrough. It contains a fiver, nothing else. The postmark Trevasco is at least a clue. Tom is sure it must point to his dad being wealthy and he dreams of his rich inheritance. Off west he goes in search of his father, after spending the £5 rather recklessly, and to Joaney's dismay, with his old pals at Barney's Club. That's the last we see of her, as Tom now goes off the rails.
On the way to Trevasco, he stops at a large house to ask for a drink. An old lady, alone here, is scared by Tom's threatening manner. She's scared to death in fact, since Tom, rather unexpectedly, strangles her. Then he helps himself to a wad of cash and runs for it.
At the Swan Inn, he inquires of the landlord about any likely rich locals. Noone is known, but try Dr Delaney.
Armed with a bottle of Scotch, Tom goes to the doctor (Basil Dignam) to inquire about his wealthy, as he believes, father. The doctor listens politely. But hearing Tom's tale, he now looks worried. After a lot of talking, out comes the truth: "I was looking for some resemblance." Here is Tom's father, not wealthy, "I must be a disappointment." Tom's illusions have evaporated. But the doctor had once been rich, he had squandered it away. It's a fine parallel, will Tom see himself in his dad?
Tom tells his father his problem- he's now a murderer. The news breaks dad. His solution is to get out his rifle. He shoots himself. It looks as though Tom is to be arrested for his killing, though it's very unclear what the message is from this film, which nearly has some good moments.

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INNOCENT MEETING
Sean Lynch is not convincing as the lead, but otherwise this flashback tale is well scripted with a few interesting insights if cliched into a working class lad falling for a posh girl.

A thief breaks into a shop to steal cash. He is interrupted by the owner, who is shot, and the lad runs off. Police give chase, across a bridge over the underground, past a bomb site, to refuge in a large house in Hammersmith. He is cornered in his upstairs room, but his gun is a deterrent, and during the standoff, he recalls how he got into this mess.
He is John Brent, who had been placed on probation. His officer, Andrew Gartside, finds him unco-operative, though he is more friendly with a girl he meets in a record shop, who is being mocked by other young customers because she is purchasing a Tchaikovsky record, such music is used at times during this film. "No beat to it," observes John, but Connie convinces him otherwise. In her sports car, she takes him home, they even have a butler.
She takes him to a Tchaikovsky concert, and after three months he is introduced to her dad, who is surprisingly understanding, even offering John a job as a designer in his textile company.
All goes well, success, marriage on the cards, though his old friends threaten to be his undoing. Then dad finds his wallet containing £50 is missing. Dad learns of his past and though John denies stealing, he is sacked.
But Connie stands by him, and they plan to elope and get married in Scotland. However that requires money, so John asks his probation officer for a loan. But he will not help especially as John is not entirely open with him. Quite how John has no cash, or why Connie cannot sell her flash car is not explained. Thus John has one option- his old mates. 'Uncle' loans him a gun with which to rob a shop in Bayswater. That's where we came in.
Gartside gets permission to try and end the stand-off but John shoots at him when he gets too close. Even tear gas fails to shift John, in a scene recalling a pre war gangster movie.
Connie shows up when her dad finds the unfortunate wallet was never stolen at all. She goes up to John, despite police orders, "it's too late," he cries to her. But she disagrees. In a twist on an old Bogie movie, the love of a good woman makes him give himself up. Dad apologises and Gartside offers his support, "we'll help him find his feet again"

imdb lists a lot of uncredited extras, however nearly all are found in the on screen credits, except for Robert Dorning as Turner of The Daily Clarion.
Cars: Connie's sports car is UXU603. Her dad's modest Vauxhall is 675LMY. Robert Dorning drives TNM286. One plain clothes policeman is seen in Morris RAA229. The familiar bevy of police cars include NLN820, 892FPC, 894FPC, and MGF287

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MAN ACCUSED (1959)
Almost a good film, the tale of Bob (Ronald Howard) aged 30, engaged to Kathy (Carol Marsh in her last starring role), aged 21.
On the night of their engagement party, an insurance investigator, Mr Curran, tells Kathy he knew Bob out in Brazil. Bob had been engaged to a girl who had committed suicide after their engagement was called off. Some valuable jewels had then gone missing. In Mexico an exactly similar situation had arisen. In fact if Kathy had watched The Vise 'Ring of Greed,' she would have known what was likely to happen next! As it is she refuses to believe Bob is only after her jewels, which her benevolent dad (Ian Fleming) is giving her. But she does at least consult Curran, who agrees to keep watch overnight on the safe with her inheritance in. Next morning there's Curran dead and the safe empty. No sign of Bob anywhere. The police finally track him down, and there in his car are the missing jewels. End of romance. End of story.
Then a shock - the police inspector (no surprise that it's Colin Tapley) announces the dead man is not an insurance man, but a jewel thief. Still believing in Bob, Kathy helps him escape jail to prove his innocence and expose the real crook.

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HIGH JUMP (1959, directed by Godfrey Grayson)
On the tightrope with no net. A slip, and Bill (Richard Wyler) is finished, his nerves shattered.
Now he is a tv repairman, and becomes infatuated with a widowed customer, Mrs Jackie Field (Lisa Daniely), who's "quite a looker." "I've been around... bummed around a bit," he tells her. Indeed this might have been the story of actor Richard Wyler's own life. On the strength of his performance here, he was offered the lead in the Danzigers' next tv series.
But Mrs Field, "what kind of woman is she?" asks Kitty, Bill's girl friend, suspicious that Mrs Fields' tv seems to be going wrong too often. She's a man grabber, that's the answer, for Bill becomes more and more obsessed with her. First it's a meal at Ye Old Gate House. Then, back at her luxurious house, she puts on a negligee and they kiss. Next night their destination is the Purple Shade Club, where Kitty finds him. The two women clash in frosty silence.
Another repair needed for her tv! Mrs Field encourages Bill to try to return to the trapeze. Money is needed for this. Jackie says her guardian, Mr Raymond Shaw, will help. When they meet, he shows Bill a twelve foot jump, at the top of a four storey building. The building, he explains, is one of the biggest jewellers in London.
Bill cottons on. "Crime isn't the answer," he shouts. But it has to be, as Bill gets into training.... Suspense builds as the big moment arrives. His fee of £10,000 is his incentive.
Some entertaining moments in the robbery, before Bill finally sees the light and ditches the seductive Mrs Fields, who's really Raymond's girl friend.
After an interview at Scotland Yard, "a good word" put in for Bill, we see Kitty waiting for him to emerge. Together they walk away arm in arm. Ah
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THE DEPRAVED (released 4th January 1958)
Directed by Paul Dickson

Returning to his Oxfordshire base, Cpt David Dillon (Robert Arden) is stranded and has to ask his way at the avant garde Croft House where Laura (Anne Heywood) lives with her drunken oaf of a husband, Tom. David becomes smitten with her and pays several return visits, that is when Tom isn't there. Laura admits she only married for the money and soon they're talking of an accident to Tom. "You've got yourself the wrong boy," decides David- and that's about as 'Depraved' as it gets. The title of this Brian Clemens tale is perhaps a little misleading!
Nevertheless David can't keep away for long- "you knew I'd come back." Their plan is soon put into action. At dead of night Dave stuns Tom and places him rather drunk in the driving seat of his car, which then plunges off the road into a pond.
It all goes very smoothly. Inspector O'Flynn (Denis Shaw complete with glasses) investigates the accident, or was it? An unexpected witness in the shape of a soldier who had gone awol, claims he saw another car near the scene. But this theme is discounted as the witness is so unreliable. Another motif appears only to disappear when it is suggested robbery was behind the accident. Indeed poor Inspector O'Flynn himself never reappears in the film after this....
Wartime buddy of Dave's, Roy, realises his friend has been having an affair with Laura. Old friendships are put aside when Dave has to slug him in order to get to Laura. She however has packed her cases and is about to leave the country with a certain Tonio, her chauffeur. Wild, Dave confronts her. In a tense moment she draws her gun, but she is not prepared to shoot him. She turns to leave, but he's not so sentimental and shoots her. Too late, Roy arrives.

Some minor errors in this film: the base is at 'Deningley' according to a road sign, but 'Deningly' on a list of addresses. Also David borrows Laura's Zephyr SXP840 and returns it next day as SLY662. However all is OK as by the time he reaches Croft House it's changed back to SXP!
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THE SILENT INVASION

During the war, a small French town is occupied. A Resistance group is set up and members draw lots as to who is to perpetrate the first act of sabotage. 17 year old Jean is one chosen. However it goes horribly wrong when he tries to assist a friend who has got injured- both are taken prisoner.
Erik von Strafen (Eric Flynn) is the not unfriendly Nazi officer, but as he can't get Jean to split on his friends, a brutal officer (Martin Benson at his ugliest) interrogates them. With no better success, they are sentenced to the firing squad unless the other cvulprits own up. The ringleader, bachelor Henri (Francis de Wolff) volunteers to do so, but is persuaded it will make no difference. Thus the firing squad does its evil work. The humanitarian Von Strafen is distressed.
To Marie, Jean's sister (Petra Davies), he is almost apologetic, he had to "obey orders." He even asks her to dine with him. Henri persuades her to accept, so she can learn Nazi secrets from him. Soon she is able to relay details of troop movements, and Resistance fighters hijack a convoy, the first of many such successful manoeuvres.
An important troop train is due on Tuesday, she learns. The plan is to shoot all the Nazis in the town dead then blow the train up. Easy. I found Brian Clemens script asks us to swallow too much, but he draws an interesting parallel between the two lovers, for that is what Marie and Erik have become. She lures him away to an assignation by a lake, so he is not shot dead in the operation. She does draw her gun to shoot him, but of course cannot do so. They kiss before he runs off.
At the end of the war, she returns to the lake. Will he come back for her?

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COMPELLED (1960)
Director- Ramsey Herrington (pseudonym for who?)

Engineer and ex-jail-bird Paul (Ronald Howard) is 'wanted' by Mr Fenton (John Gabriel) to come to a bookshop. Not for any cultural purposes, but because of its proximity to a jewellers. Paul's engineering skills are needed to tunnel through to the shop, and to a quarter of a million pounds. Since Paul's wife and his business associates don't know about his shady past, the reluctant Paul has no option but to help them.
Doing the digging is the dim Jug (Richard Shaw) who adds a touch of badly needed humour. Whilst Paul draws up detailed plans for the tunnel (I've never known crooks do this before), the "superior" boss Fenton cases the jewellers.
Numerous minor snags hit the criminals when they commence digging. Firstly Jug manages to puncture a gas main. This has to be hastily patched up. It proves to be pivotal in the final denouement of the plot.
Second, there's the inevitable roof fall.
Then for Paul, his wife's getting suspicious, hardly surprising as he's out every night. And Paul's day work's suffering too.
But the worst snag turns up in the shape of a Mr Grimes (Jack Melford) who demands to be "let in" on the scheme. Clearly, he's got to be disposed of!
This is a story that's been done many a time and better. Perhaps the best bit is what we see of Paul's relationship with his wife. He refuses to tell her anything which makes her leave home. But finally he determines to bare all to her. "The only way," is of course to go to the police, she advises. When Paul hears Grimes has been killed, he finally sees the light and whilst his wife phones the police, he rushes off to prevent the robbery.
Naturally he ends up a hero and it's left to the inspector (Colin Tapley, for once credited) to ensure the corny "everything is going to be all right."

Note 1- Uncredited cast include- John Serrett as a customer, and John Stuart (I think) as Miller, another customer.
Note 2- Music incorporates Tony Crombie's themes found in Man from Interpol.
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Web of Suspicion
(1959, directed by Max Varnel, 4*)

A sadly plodding story that has some fairly exciting chase sequences, but is always too meandering, skirting right round its subject.
Bradley Wells (Philip Friend) is the PE instructor at Claybrook Co-educational school. All the girls have a crush on him, and two make a bet with 16 year old Jessie that she can't get a date with him.
After she disappears in the woods, a countryside search reveals her body, discovered by her father and brother. They set out to get Wells, and in the school gym he is beaten up, before barely escaping with his life. Looking more and more bedraggled, he stumbles over rough ground before finding shelter in an isolated hut, only a blind man for company. The police are after him, and his next refuge is in the bedroom of the new art teacher Janet.
They speculate on who the killer could be. It must be one of their colleagues! Wells has several enemies on the staff.
Janet searches in the staff room for the vital evidence, but the real killer is with her. Wells prevents her murder, and the film concludes with a violent struggle in the gym

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NIGHT TRAIN FOR INVERNESS (1960)
Chiefly remembered today for the first film appearance of Dennis Waterman.
Scene 1 - Langford Children's Hospital. Waterman plays seven year old diabetic Ted who is going home. Ever reliable Colin Tapley plays Dr Jackson, who advises Ted's mum (Silvia Francis) about the insulin Ted will need. "As long as he gets his daily requirement of injections he'll be alright," he warns mum, "if Ted misses so much as one injection...." This prepares us nicely for what follows. The film highlights well the problems diabetes sufferers could face.
In his smart blazer and cap Ted arrives home, with a kiss from his selfish and over protective granny. His dad Roy (Norman Wooland) is out too, just out of prison. He is separated from Ann his wife, and granny does everything she can to ensure he keeps away from his family.
It's the end of the day at Hawtrey House Prep School. Those were the days when kids walked home, but today Dad's borrowed a car and picks Ted up in a suburban avenue. Swayed by the fact that granny won't find him, he jumps in.
Ann, his, mum is not unnaturally distraught when Ted fails to come home. One of Ted's pals saw him getting into a car, and the driver's description fits Roy. Inspector Kent (Valentine Dyall) is summoned. He finds a false trail Roy has left, suggesting Ireland is his destination. Dr Jackson is consulted and turns up at Colin Tapley's second home, Scotland Yard, to warn Kent that poor Ted will be in serious trouble unless he has some insulin soon.
Outside Euston Station, Ted passes the famous portico (now demolished) with his dad and dad's former flame Marion (Jane Hylton). It's Scotland they are actually bound for, on the Royal Highlander "the longest train journey without a change from London." In the restaurant car they have a delicious meal with two helpings of ice cream for Ted. The plot does rather collapse when one realises Ted hasn't brains enough to explain he is a diabetic. Yet the police aren't exactly speeding ahead with tracing him. Nor is the express. In fact it seems to be running in circles as it passes the same station twice!
By Crewe Ted is feeling sick. But good news - the police have found him! Arrests are made and the police escort them back to Euston. I couldn't see why a Midlands hospital wasn't able to accommodate the patient, unless of course beds were in short supply in those days too! But at last they reach Scotland Yard - it's the wrong man with the wrong lad! A nice touch. In another nice moment, a kindly doctor happens to travel in Ted's compartment. Ted is now thirsty and these are alarming symptoms, if not to the lay mind, to a trained eye. However our doc generously offers Ted some chocs. Finally at midnight Ted falls asleep. Of course it's actually a coma, though our doc, alighting at Carlisle, seems oblivious of it all.
Well, Dr Jackson said "a matter of hours." Thankfully he must have meant quite a lot of hours! At 5.15am the train stops at Perth and Marion is next to leave. She has realised that Roy has been using her, since the police were looking for a man and a boy, not a couple and a boy. There are some well enacted close ups as we wait, and wait for Marion to finally learn from the news that Ted needs help, and badly. She phones the Yard - he's on the 7.10 for Inverness, whatever that means. The next stop turns out to be Blair Atholl at 6.13. A doctor treats Ted on the train, waiting at the station, resulting no doubt in an announcement to passengers that this train is running late because of diabetes on the line.
Inspector Kent flies up north with mum, and even the faithful Dr Jackson. Roy and Ann patch things up, and Ted is better, and there are smiles all round.
Footnote- A letter to Picture Show (3rd Sept 60) claimed this film was "considerably better than the usual run of second features." Silvia Francis is singled out for her performance - she deserves a "bigger break."
Uncredited speaking roles: Child in next bed to Ted (John Moulder-Brown). His mother. Nurse in Dr Jackson's office. Newsvendor at station. Roy's landlady. Charlie the barman. Bond, the Control office operative (Brian Nissen). A policeman at this centre. Train guard. Doctor in Roy and Ted's compartment (Arnold Bell). Another assistant at the centre. Traveller mistaken for Roy (Jack Melford). Assistant behind the counter at Perth Station (Larry Noble). A Scottish police constable. A doctor at Blair Athol (Anton Rodgers). A nurse at the Scottish hospital. Roy drives Vauxhall UTM496

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TWO WIVES AT ONE WEDDING
The title might suggest this is a comedy, but it is more a drama with a flashback from the war and a bit of melodrama to conclude. Gordon Jackson stars and adds some integrity to the character who is faced with a bigamous relationship.

He is Dr Tom Murray who has just married the lovely Chris (the screen credits unaccountably call her Janet). These "two nice people"get a dreadful surprise when into the reception walks "a very old friend" Annette from France (Lisa Daniely). "I thought you were dead," says Tom, but though they had met during the war, he had gone down with amnesia and he knows nothing of her claim they they were ever married.
Tom confides in his best man Mark (Humphrey Lestocq) who persuades the guests to leave. Tom is left to try and recall the events during 1944 in a flashback. He had been captured by the Nazis, but escaped while being transported to a prison cmap. Wounded, he had been rescued by Father Laroche and nursed back to health, during which time Tom had met the attractive Annette. The day he'd been due to make his attempt to return to allied lines, the Nazis had rumbled him and after a shootout he had been injured by a grenade. When he came round, he was in the house of Paul Dassin, "the only survivor," he was informed. However Annette adds what Tom has apparently forgotten. She has his wedding ring and a marriage certificate, Father Laroche had performed the ceremony.
The story now becomes one of blackmail. She asks for £10,000, or she will sell her story to the papers. Tom turns detective to try and disprove her story. Father Laroche is no help, for he had been killed by the Gestapo. Paul, witness at the wedding is traced to Paris, though at present he is in London on business. He fills in the blank spots in the story, telling of the party they had before Tom returned home. Yes he remembers that wedding.
Tom believes he has no choice but to pay up. After a struggle he raises the cash and makes the French girl sign a form renouncing any claim on him. Only after this does Tom reflect. Father Laroche had been shot before the date of the alleged wedding.
Desperate, Tom dashes back to Paul to confront him and Annette together, just as they are celebrating their "pushover." Tom knocks the stuffing out of Paul who draws his gun and accidentally shoots Annette, wounding her. After a fight which leads to the top of the building, you can guess the traditional finish

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WHAT EVERY WOMAN WANTS
(1961, directed by Ernest Morris, 4*)
William Fox plays the famous marriage guidance counsellor Philip Goodwin. His son-in-law Tom (Dennis Lotis) is writing about his undoubted skills in articles for The Sunday Family.
However Philip's own marriage, if only he knew it, is in danger. His wife Jean (Hy Hazell) is bored, bored of her "perfect husband" because he is so predictable, for instance, at 5.58 each evening he'll be coming off the underground train (picture at Stanmore), and every Wednesday he brings her a box of chocs.
Now George Barker (Guy Middleton) is a confirmed bachelor, and Derek Chadwick, a reporter on the rival paper, The Universal Scandal, persuades George to chat up Jean to discredit Tom's story. Is she "faithful as a labrador?" Jean turns him down flat, but Philip's continued superiority and confidence in her makes her change her mind. The pair go out riding and newspaper photos hint at their possible affair.
However Philip is convinced it's "all perfectly innocent," which infuriates her even more. Tom also falls out with his wife Sue (Elizabeth Shepherd), and the two women dine and dance with George and Derek.
Time for "a counter attack" by the husbands, they go out on the town, so there's more scandal. Philip is persuaded to write about how he will woo his wife back, that annoys her so much she writes about know-it-all husbands. It snowballs.
Derek and George overplay their advances, Tom and Philip get drunk, a muddled story in The Scandal suggests Mrs Goodwin is pregnant and is going to divorce Philip. There's a showdown at a night club, a fight then smiles all round. A piece of froth, nicely executed by the cast, even if the script is the sort of thing anyone could write, hardly sparkling as it should be
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SO EVIL SO YOUNG (1961, directed by Godfrey Grayson, 6*)
One of only a handful of Danziger films to be made in colour.
Also 'different' is the start with two people robbing a safe, and they are girls, Lucy even says 'damn.' Well, she is caught, though her partner gets away with the jewels. Lucy confesses her partner was Ann Turner (Jill Ireland) and the two are sent to an open Borstal for three years. But Ann is innocent, Lucy has implicated her because she's jealous Ann has been dating Tom, a minor and rather unconvincing rock n roll singer (John Charlesworth).
Now the film becomes another of the prison genre, but quite appealing with the girls all in pink, and the rules, black and white are severly enforced. The matron in charge is a kind old soul, wise, but not aware, as yet, of the tyranny her frustrated warden Miss Smith exercises: no loafing here, she warns the new inmates.
Ann is friendless, at odds with the other rougher girls, though one, Mary offers an olive branch. Mary even says her prayers. But provoked by Lucy, Ann is soon in trouble, ending up in solitary. But nice matron offers Ann a job as her secretary, though this kindness earns the other girls' jealousy.
Tom has conferred with Ann's dad (John Longden) and together they are trying to get to the truth. A break comes when Tom meets Claire, sporting a mink stole.
There's a jolly party in the dorm after lights out, Enid Blyton mode, to celebrate Mary's forthcoming release. But it's back to Alcatraz-style when Smithy stops the racket and Mary, not quite Enid Blytonish, is sent to the glasshouse. Though the matron is for leniency, the damage is done, poor Mary commits suicide.
That means it must be time for the obligatory prison riot scene, masterminded by Lucy. Miss Smith is attacked in the dining hall as the girls go beserk, all very much in the mode of the 1930's gangster prison movies, though without machine guns. It's abruptly ended by matron's calm authority (Pat O'Brien please note). Ann hasn't taken part, though she is no supporter of the hard Miss Smith, and doesn't nark, which wins her peers' respect, though Miss Smith resolves to nobble Ann. Her chance comes. For Ann, as a reward for her silence, is given a tip off about Lucy's real partner in crime. Ann slips out that night (no guards on patrol here blazing guns to keep one in), but Lucy spots her leaving and squeals on her. Though the other girls despise her for that, the damage is done.
Ann passes the information on to Tom and then straightaway gives herself up. But inevitably even matron has to send her to solitary, where Smithy tries to duff her up. Matron catches her bullying and Smithy resigns.
Tom has gathered his proof and the police question Lucy and Claire. The pair fall out and they start scratching each other right in front of the bemused inspector (Colin Tapley of course).
Ann is freed, released into her father's arms, and Tom's. OK, this is run of the mill fare, but there's a sense of injustice for poor Ann, a sense of evil even if not full blown, and some fine accompanying music from Bill le Sage.
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. The Betrayal (1957, directed by Ernest Morris)
The first sequence is set in a POW camp. A breakout goes badly wrong when four escapees are shot, the fifth Mike McCall (Philip Friend) is blinded. But he hears the voice of the man who had given them away at Stalag 51.
After the war, Mike, having failed to find the traitor, builds a new life working for Reviere Perfumes. In London to promote a new campaign, his old war memories are reopened when he thinks he hears the traitor's voice at the House of Bartel. For a fleeting moment he's sure he heard the man again, as Bartel's guests were leaving a cocktail party. A model who works here, Janet (Diana Decker) helps Mike obtain a guest list, though we know now that the wanted man is Robert Bartel (Philip Saville) himself. This revelation perhaps detracts from the mystery that has been well built up thus far.
Bartel, realising he has been found out, opts for the straightforward murderous approach. As Janet calls on Mike for a romantic dinner, he is shot, but of course Bartel misses and escapes unseen. Mike is OK, if winded and a trifle puzzled. Their romance is infectious enough to brighten up the film, Philip Friend always suave, Diana Decker always attractive. "Nothing like being shot at to work up an appetite."
Now it's straightforward detection. Seven names are on the guest list, Fleming Dexter the first is no help. The tedious quest drags on unsuccessfully, until the last, Tony Adama, a second rate photographer, who unaccountably does Bartel's pictures. Just too late, Mike gets to Tony, in time to overhear Tony demanding £10,000 then a gunshot. In the worst tradition, Mike finds the corpse, picks up the murder weapon, and is under arrest. He shot Adams as he believed he was the Betrayer.
But Mike has worked out that it is Bartel who must be his man. He neatly eludes the police and with Janet's aid, after they've snatched a kiss, goes to confront Bartel. This second half of the film could have been more tightly edited to advantage, though this showdown builds up well culminating with the usual scene of sudden darkness, the criminal with a gun outsmarted by a blind man with keener senses. "I've been waiting for this for fourteen years"
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FEET OF CLAY (1960)

'The Angel of the Police Courts' is murdered. One of the crooks she'd befriended, Johnny, confesses. A new lawyer (Vincent Ball) is assigned to try and defend Johnny. Is he covering up for someone? At a hostel the woman ran for her sponsors, he questions two other girls that had been helped - including a shoplifter, Diana (Angela Douglas). The manageress of the hostel, Mrs Clark (Hilda Fenemore) appears to run the place as a front, and its occupants are scared of talking, especially of Clark's nasty helper Sanders (Robert Cawdron) who "doesn't need no excuses to beat you up, he looks for an opportunity." If Diana will talk, the racket can be exposed.

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THE TELL-TALE HEART (1960)
Although this was the only Danziger film to win critical acclaim, I can't rate it as their best effort. It compares pretty unfavourably with Hammer's attempts at the same genre.

There's a claustrophobic outdoor set, which creates a certain unreal atmosphere. But if the film is supposed to frighten you, you would have to be rather naive. In itself the introduction is rather fun - it invites the squeamish to avert their eyes when 'The Noise' starts, the sound of a beating heart. But it does debunk the whole film, which isn't perhaps a serious fault. The best I could say is that Laurence Payne certainly plays tortured soul Edgar with some authority.

We meet Edgar who lives alone in rooms opposite the lovely Miss Clare (Adrienne Corri). It's a chance for some voyeurism as he can see into her rooms through the windows, since she leaves the curtains conveniently undrawn. He asks his best friend Karl (Dermot Walsh) "how do you get to know a girl?" Yes, he is pretty green! Advice noted, he invites her to dinner. And again. She's introduced to Karl - "I like him very much," she admits to Edgar. But it's a bit more serious than that, even though poor Edgar can't see it. From his window, Edgar watches as she enjoys a night of passion with Karl. Mad with jealousy, Edgar's next meeting with Karl is their last. There's plenty of blood, and flashing lightning as the corpse is hidden - but where? Edgar now waits for Miss Clare to come back to him "soon she must come to me," he tells himself. Instead she seeks the advice of the police. Where has Karl gone?
It's 'The Noise'! Edgar hears a beating heart. It's in his lounge. It's where Karl's body lies, under the floorboards. But his heart is still throbbing! Edgar slices it out. Still beating, it's removed to beneath the earth. Peace!
It's 'That Noise' again! Karl has grown a new heart that's pulsating merrily away. The police enter with Miss Clare. Confession from Edgar - he just can't stop that infernal noise. That's nearly the end. I won't spoil it by revealing the final miserable twist.

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FATE TAKES A HAND
(1960, directed by Max Varnel, 4*)

A portmaneau story, five little tales in 70 minutes, of five recipients of wartime letters that the post office failed to deliver. A newspaper reporter Karon Green (Christina Gregg) senses a story or two, and with the aid of Inspector Tony Reeve (Ronald Howard) delivers the letters. Certainly there are five amazing results!
The first is the coupon for a magazine competition. Jimmy Briggs had posted it, and when he thought he'd won he told his boss (Willoughby Goddard) where to get off, before learning his entry had never been received. But it's an ill wind, though Jimmy was sacked, his boss apologised for his own petty behaviour and offered Jimmy a new job at double the pay. Jimmy had never looked back.
Jenny was blinded in the blitz. Major Robert Marsh, "the only man in my life," had written to her but his letter never reached her. They had met on wartime leave and fallen in love. She learned he had died in the war. Karon reads the letter to Jenny, though she seems to be making much of it up. But Jenny is consoled. Karon later reveals to Tony how matters really stood.
Rich Wheeler Collins (Basil Dignam) is being framed for divorce by his second wife Sandra. The letter to him is from the war office apologising for giving the wrong date of his first wife Mary's death. It means that he was never legally married to Sandra, he cheerfully informs her.
Forrest Maxwell MP's letter is a ransom note. His seven year old daughter Sally in return for £10,000. A demand from The Blitz Mob. Sally had been misisng for two days, but there was never a suggestion of kidnap. She cannot be interviewed as she's in a state of shock. Tony and Karon talk to Bulldog Stevens inside Wormword Scrubbs. He reluctantly admits his part in the crime when he'd found Sally by chance after a bombing raid. His friends had sent the ransom note, but he was against the idea and had returned Sally to outside her home. Sally's memory returns when she sees Bulldog again.
Boxer Ronnie Dale (Peter Butterworth) is now down on his luck. His friend tells Tony and Karon how he'd been forced to fix a fight. Though he had his opponent on the ropes, he had to obey orders. But apparently orders weren't orders, since his manager double crossed him in a betting scam. Ronnie had found himself on a manslaughter charge. The letter is from his apologetic manager giving Ronnie a much needed cash windfall.
Five good little stories with twists to each. Well written, but I felt maybe one less and a little more time on each would have been better

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THE HOSTAGE
(1956, directed by Harold Huth at New Elstree Studios)

In the South American republic of Santanio, "things are hotting up," when political assassin Vorgler is sentenced to death.
Rosa (Mary Parker), the president's "bachelor girl" is living in London, studying at the Royal Academy of Music. Sympathisers with Vorgler's cause abduct her, demanding Vorgler's release before Rosa can be freed.
An American, Bill Trailer (Ron Randell), by devious means, also becomes involved when the dark Dr Main (John Bailey) kidnaps him. Complains Trailer in a classic summarising line, "frame me with the police, bop me on the head and steal my pants." Trailer is apparently snatched to persuade "humdinger" Rosa to persuade her dad to change his political mind. But she steadfastly refuses to cooperate.
This is a predictable story as the two prisoners get quite pally whilst dad faces his moral dilemma. One of the best/worst lines is when Bill Trailer tells Rosa admiringly, "your father must be quite a guy to have a daughter like you."
The death warrant is signed, so Rosa must die too. Yet the rebels betray some contrition for their forthcoming murderous actions. The exciting climax, trapped in the building that the rebels have set fire to, bears little relation to the plot. Naturally Bill Trailer frees himself and gets out, just, but Rosa by now is being smuggled improbably into the Santanian embassy. In time, the police swoop to round the baddies up.
This is an unusual full length feature produced by Douglas Fairbanks Jr at the recently opened New Elstree Studios. An 80 minute story that would have been better suited to a half hour tv film slot.

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Return of a Stranger
(1961, directed by Max Varnel, 4*)
Meet a happy domestic couple, John (John Ireland) and his wife Pam (Susan Stephen), with their little boy Tommy in this Brian Clemens script.
Into this cosy scene, steps a man, watching her home while John has caught the train from Elstree to his work, where he is up for promotion. When the man bumps into her in a supermarket, she phones John up, interrupting an important business conference. He is glad that he rushed home when she reveals dark secrets about her past life in an orphanage. When she was 14 a helper there named Homer Trent "took a fancy to her." In a flashback we briefly glimpse that favourite Danziger theme, a gaggle of pretty girls. Pam explains matron had caught him in her room and he had been sent to jail. Though John informs Inspector Whittaker, there is little police can do. More serious trouble ensues when Tommy fails to show up at his school. John has once again to drop vital work to dash home. However it was a hoax. "I'll kill him," rashly threatens John.
John's stock has fallen at work, and he is passed over in favour of his friend Bob.
A wreath is delivered to Pam's home, "a terrible mistake," apologises the undertaker. After a contrasting scene, Pam telling Tommy a goodnight story, we see Trent in John's workplace. The lift fails, falling ten floors. But it is Bob who is killed. Whittaker investigates, even though the crime can't be on his patch, since the office is a train's journey away from John's home. John is not really suspected, but he knows the accident was intended for him.
That night, the couple wait for Trent to come to their house, but en route the tension has dissipated with the overlong build up. Later no doubt, Clemens would have scripted it so Pam was all alone, though Trent does catch her in the kitchen making coffee. Scream! He has a knife. In the bedroom, Tommy demands he leave his mummy alone. Tommy is holding a gun. A happy ending is manufactured of course, probably

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Escort for Hire
(Made in colour, 1960, directed by Godfrey Grayson, 5*)
Two new recruits enlist at Miss Kennedy's escort agency, Steve and Buzz- "we get paid to take dames out!" Impeccable manners are required for this job, the etiquette is they are not lovers, this is all very light hearted and innocent.
Pete Murray as Buzz with his American accent gets the laughs, on his first assignment with the over eager Nadia (Jill Melford). Miss Elizabeth Quinn (Jan Holden) is Steve's regular assignment, she has an ulterior motive, and soon she is kissing him, though Miss Kennedy (June Thorburn) has also become 'Terry.'
Something of a surprise when this mild tale turns into murder when Elizabeth is strangled. Steve is the main suspect, Inspector Bruce (Peter Butterworth) revives the comedy in his quest for Steve who has gone awol. With the help of his friends, Steve's only hope is to find the real killer.
Who had given Miss Quinn all her money? Though the police are after him, Steve manages to get into Elizabeth's flat and searches it thoroughly. The porter had heard her arguing that evening with someone about Steve, evidently she didn't like duping him. He stumbles on a penguin, a souvenir of the Penguin Club, inscribed on the bottom is the name Eldon. She is actually a girl who worked here along with Elizabeth. Club owner is Arthur (Guy Middleton) to whom Steve and Miss Quinn had always gone on their dates.
Steve finds Eldon in a dinghy room, the worse for drink. It's a sad though too obvious a scene as she supplies Steve with the name of Elizabeth's admirer. Armed with this information, Steve confronts the murderer

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THE GREAT VAN ROBBERY (directed by Ernest Morris, 1957)
Denis Shaw unusually plays the inspector investigating a robbery from a quite small van. The money has been laundered out to South America, and our hero, Inspector Caesar Smith goes all the way there to question the unfortunate gentleman (Peter Elliott) who had attempted to bank the stolen cash.
Needless to say, he is innocent and the trail is traced back, first to Rome, then Paris and finally Britain, as Smith uncovers the villains. However he is hampered by the fact that he believes that the exporter repsonsible (Philip Saville) is honest, and this nearly gets him bumped off. Finally there's a shootout in a warehouse as the boss attempts to flee the country with his ill gotten gains.

Note: possibly the producers were already considering the theme as a possible for a tv series. Eventually they made Man from Interpol with Inspector Anthony Smith in place of Caesar Smith, though his boss at Interpol, Superintendent Mercer, is the same name in this film as the tv series.

Cars seen in this film include Danziger standbys, police cars 892FPC and NLM620, while Inspector Smith's own car is another regular, TNM286. In one scene, Smith leaves the Yard in this car only to reach his home in an identical model but numberplate 675LMY. Another police car used is WEV745, while the crook's Zephyr is UCR96.

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STRIPTEASE MURDER (directed by Ernest Morris, 1960)
The Flamingo Club is where the action is at, scantily clad dancers, today's main attraction is Diana, frenetic dancing to rock music. The end of the act is just what the censor allowed. Diana's husband Bert Black (John Hewer) watches on admiringly. He's the second rate comic turn at the club.
In the audience is Carlos Branco (Kenneth J Warren) who sees big times ahead for Diana, if she plays her cards etc etc. Yet she is too wise for all that, she knows he makes his money the wrong way, from dope actually, and besides she doesn't like his current "lump of brainless fat," Angelin.
Another ex-lump, Rita (Ann Lynn), has been blackmailing Branco, so it's time for her to be bumped off. Branco arranges for a crazed boffin Perkel to dispose of her with his ingenious transistor device. Peter Elliott's part of Perkel is perhaps the brightest spot in this story... he plays his role without overacting, yet conveys well the role of the singleminded inventor.
Diana starts dancing at the club. Sudden collapse. Heart failure. But eagle eyed Bert has spotted her mike had been tampered with. Scotland Yard Inspector Forbes (Trevor Reid), however, is sceptical and refuses to consider it a case of murder.
So Bert is on his own. he chats up Angelin, now Branco's ex-lump also. He learns that Rita had argued violently with Angelin the night Diana died, and that Diana had taken Rita's turn. Without yet knowing all the facts, Bert rightly senses what had happened. But as he's getting too near the truth he's beaten up.
Stagehand Lou fills in a missing link- a tradesman, small, thin, had called at the club that fateful day. Furthermore, he might well have been a guest at the club that night. Bert gets a break when he spots Perkel with Branco. Branco is naturally angry that the wrong girl had been killed. "Cheap tramp" Rita is now also increasing her demands on Branco, she wants to muscle in on his dope racket. Her partner Rocco, a waiter at the club, shoots Branco.
Bert plans a dance routine which he hopes might entrap Rita. He persuades Perkel to demonstrate his skill once again at the club, and forces Rita into taking part also. He straps a mike to her hand.
The act begins. In the audience is Prof Perkel, as well as Inspector Forbes. Terrified she will be electrocuted also, Rita confesses, and Forbes steps in to make his arrests.
Bert is pleased to have proved Diana had been murdered, but it is no happy man who makes his lonely walk away from the Flamingo

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SENTENCED FOR LIFE (1959, directed by Max Varnel, 6*)
The old theme of a man wrongly convicted gets a sympathetic treatment, mainly thanks to Francis Matthews as Jim, son of the wronged man.
During the war, in 1943, John Richards is found guilty of treason and given life imprisonment.
Fifteen years on, his son has now grown up, and is training to be a solicitor. He has never visited his dad, but his mother's pleas make him go to the Scrubs. He's always thought his dad guilty, but when he hears the other side of the story, he's not so sure. John's ex-business partner Ralph Thompson was the likely traitor.
Find the proof, his mother urges, that is her dying request. Jim decides the best way might be to get to know Thompson's daughter Sue, and in a restaurant he introduces himself as Jim Randall.
After several lunchtime meetings, she invites him home. Conversation with Ralph is steered to the subject of miscarriages of justice, an uncomfortable scene- for Thompson. Another time they discuss the Richards' case, and Thompson gives his version of events. It seems plausible.
Jim 'borrows' keys from Sue to her father's office and, rifling through a filing cabinet, learns something, before he is interrupted and has to run off.
Ralph's brother Edward recognises who Jim really is, I can't believe it, says Sue. There's a tense scene as she calls off their engagement. Jim admits all, but he loves her. Rather conveniently, Edward has set some heavies on to Jim, she witnesses it, and that decides her. Together they confront her father. He's been shielding his no-good brother. Then they drive to Richards' old secretary Betty (Nyree Dawn Porter), who had disappeared. Edward is her husband. He turns up, callously saying he ought to have silenced her earlier. Edward's gun goes off and Ralph is dead.
Thus John Richards is exonerated, and as he leaves prison, gets a nice kiss from Sue
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THE PURSUERS (1961)
Production Supervisor Brian Taylor related how a good deal of time was spent researching this story, which deals with the sensitive issue of concentration camps and Nazi war criminals.
In the final analysis, the film is essentially a long chase, quite exciting at times, with only a few brief moments reflecting on the war atrocities. The Producers were Philip Elton and Ralph Goddard.

Karl Borgmann, ex Auschwitz commandant, is possibly the last war criminal still living. As he has now become a British citizen, there's only one way to obtain justice, and a Jew, David (Francis Matthews) is given that task. Firstly, he is to ascertain that the man now calling himself Luther is actually Borgmann. It's pretty clear that this equation is correct, as Luther starts panicking when he realises he's been rumbled. His apartment has been broken into and a swastika daubed on his mirror. Who can help Borgmann?
1. The police (Reginald Marsh) don't provide any comfort.
2. His network of ex-Nazis are no use either. "United we fall, divided we have a chance," he's told.
3. An old friend, a legendary German film director, a "giant in the pre-War cinema," turns Borgmann down as well.
4. His last hope is a restaurateur, and he only offers Karl Borgmann a meal.
So he withdraws his savings and prepares for a "business trip" to Bermuda but David has been following, and has defaced his passport. So no exit via normal channels. At the Flamingo Club a young girl Jenny agrees to help by hiding him in her flat. Ironically she proves to be a Jew. Her parents had been killed at Auschwitz. She narrates her awful tale. He tells her a few porkies.
David has followed Jenny to 32 Stanton Apartments. He enters to bump off Karl, but he's already fled. When Jenny returns David explains who Borgmann really is. She yields and together they hunt the Nazi down to Carnaby's Warehouse. Jenny's greedy brother was to provide Borgmann with a fake passport, but for reasons that aren't clear, he turns exceedingly nasty (with George Murcell as his henchman, that's an understatement!) and they save David his onerous task, or as David concludes: "my job has been done for me."

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AN HONOURABLE MURDER (1960, directed by Geoffrey Grayson, 5*)
An interesting script from Brian Clemens that shows promise of his later inventiveness, this drama is based on Julius Caesar, the Shakespeare version, here updated to the twentieth century. I won't say Clemens improves the story, but he does eliminate the boring speeches and provides fine character studies, a modern version of The Power Game.
Julian Caesar (John Longden) is the chairman not of Rome but of Empire Petroleum and is planning a merger with the powerful Pompey Shipping Line. But Cassius (Douglas Wilmer) thinks it's an ego trip for Caesar who wants Absolute Power. Privately, Cassius tries to persuade the rest of the board to get rid of Caesar, that is by voting him off the board at the meeting called to approve the merger.
Most of the board members agree, albeit reluctantly, but a harder nut to crack is Mark Anthony (Philip Saville), Caesar's right hand man. It's agreed that he should be conveniently called away on the day of the meeting, which falls on March 15th. But Mrs Claudia Caesar has a premonition something nasty will happen, and though her husband scoffs, she's right!
There is one other person to win over, Brutus Smith, who had once saved his boss' life, a close personal friend. Cassius puts the proposition to Brutus who has to yield when he sees his first loyalty is to the company, but he does so with no great enthusiasm. It's even harder for he's dining with his friend on the eve of the meeting, and Julian Caesar offers the toast, To Brutus, the Best Friend Man Ever Had.
The big meeting. Caesar's secretary Paula (Lisa Daniely) gets wind of the coup, and phones Mark Anthony who is on his way to sort out a spurious industrial dispute. But she has no time to warn her boss before the meeting commences. Cassius proposes his motion that Caesar should stand down. The vote must be unanimous and after dramatic pauses, it is, to Caesar's great dismay. "And you, Brutus," is his immortal parting line, borrowed, I believe, from Shakespeare. Soon after, Caesar is found slumped over his desk. Mark has returned too late, and after compassionating Claudia, swears revenge.
Shareholders are pacified at a tense meeting by Brutus, who repeats his assertion that the company had to come first. But Mark Anthony stirs it up with an updated version of his famous speech. Brutus broke Caesar's heart. Cassius has miscalculated as the shareholders now have a controlling interest in the company and they vote in their own chairman.
The final scenes depict the consequences of that vote. In a few months the board have been sacked, and Brutus' conscience has suffered. He has this last one deed that a man's gotta do, no sorry, that's a different genre.
Footnote: Continuity- Claudia asks police to trace Mark Anthony, saying he's driving UTM 495, a Vauxhall seen in many Danziger productions. However when they catch up with Mark, he's driving something much more posh and appropriate, registration SGY 716

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THREE SPARE WIVES
A 1961 comedy made with a lot of Danziger personnel, including Eldon Howard (screenplay), Brian Taylor (Assoc Producer) and Ernest Morris (Director).
George Pittock (Robin Hunter pictured) has inherited £25,000 from his Uncle Ben who lived in the Middle East country of Eshram. Also included are his "household effects" i.e. his three wives, Fatima, Blini and O'Hara. Annoying friend Rupert (John Hewer) helps George break the news to his "Number One Wife" Susan (Susan Stephen). She isn't amused and threatens to go off to mother's!
Things only get worse when the papers run the story of the 'Harem Comes to Wimbledon.'
Solicitor Probyn is not terribly helpful- "legally it can't exist."
Perhaps Hamilton Beckwythe of the Foreign Office can provide some "drastic action"?
Or how about Fazim Bey (Ferdy Mayne enjoyably overacting) from the Eshram legation?
One solution from Rupert is the George Pittock Marriage Bureau. But by now the plot has become far too disjointed. George's problems are nearly solved but not quite....
Not a lost masterpiece, but mildly entertaining.
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The Lamp in Assassin Mews
(1962, directed by Godfrey Grayson, 5*)

The script takes a minor swipe at modernisation: Mornley's go ahead Chairman of the Council Jack Norton (Francis Matthews) is converting the borough into what someone describes as "a suburban honky tonk," with lots of modern housing, removing the old landmarks etc. Though actually he is moving in to Assassin Mews, the only untouched area!
In opposition is teacher Miss Mary Clarke (Lisa Daniely) and she finds two allies in relics from the past Victoria (Amy Dalby) and her brother Albert (Ian Fleming) who also live in the Mews. Outside their home is the only surviving gas lamp, and Jack is soon proposing that be taken down.
There's a darker side to the comedy, for V&A have a pathological hate of salesmen (!) and have eliminated three already. They attempt to bump off Norton, who has, incognito and cunningly, wheedled his way into Miss Clarke's affections.
A housewarming present of a cake, poisoned, fails to bump Jack Norton off, and a bomb under his car is equally unsuccessful. Actually, Jack's conscience is wavering over the lamp but after a flaming row with Mary, he proposes at the council meeting that the lamp be removed. There has to be a vote, and in an overdrawn out finish, the campaign to preserve the lamp is bolstered by V&A giving Jack a glass of rhubarb wine, doctored naturally.
Mary intervenes in time to save Jack and the lamp

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THE DURANT AFFAIR (1962)
The date- August 10th 1961. A dying lady (Katharine Page, not credited) leaves half a million. She has no family, but on her deathbed she tells Roland Farley, her solicitor, that she did have a child out of wedlock. That girl is Miss Mary Grant (Jane Griffiths), but can she prove who she is? She never knew her mother, Ethel Sinclair Durant, only her beloved father the late Dr Grant who seems to have adopted her at an early age.
A brilliant lawyer, Julian Armour (Conrad Phillips) is recommended to her by the solicitor Roly, but appears rather brusque to her, as he knows plenty of dirt might well be thrown up on her revered dad.
The major part of the film is the trial itself, presided by the judge (Richard Caldicot). Mary's lawyer introduces the evidence about Mary's birth. A manservant of the Durant household (Tony Quinn) is able to substantiate the fact that his mistress had had a child, but he can claim nothing more concrete than that, cross questioning by Sir Patrick against the plaintiff proves just that.
During a lunchbreak, Julian is approached by Mario Costello (Francis de Wolff) who says he has vital evidence. An adjournment is granted to check out the story, though Julian still has time to wine and dine Mary.
Day Two in court. Costello states Ethel had been employed at his nightclub 33 years ago. She had confided in him that the father of her child was a medical student. Years later when they had met again, she had given the father's name, James Grant.
Sir Patrick challenges this witness in a long tedious exchange. One thing is painfully clear, he is not reliable. By the lunch break, I would say the film badly needs rescuing, and Mary was following me and retreating into her shell. There's another adjournment, as Julian takes the court to a sanatorium to hear the testimony of the ailing Dr Arthur Rawlings. As a young doctor in Manchester in 1928 he had met James Grant at a wild party with Ethel. He was "a weak, irresponsible man." That tips Mary over the edge, she cannot believe he is talking of her late father. Then the witness collapses and dies. What had he not yet revealed?
To find out, Julian bribes an official in order to examine Rawlings' effects. There's the vital clue, an address in Kent. Elisabeth Wellings is urgently transported to the courtroom.
In her wheelchair, she testifies that Rawlings had written to her about an abandoned baby, his, the letter evidence that Mary was Grant's real daughter. All rather improbable, and one only wonders why all this couldn't have been discovered two days earlier before the trial commenced. Except it would have made the film rather brief. Why Wellings had failed to come forward earlier is another mystery. Oh well, never mind, it all ends happily with a kiss

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A WOMAN OF MYSTERY
(1957, directed by Ernest Morris, New Elstree Studios, 5*)

The script by Brian Clemens is very typical of him in the 50s, crime investigator moves from character to character, gradually revealing the guilty party. It is slightly enlivened by the pairing of husband and wife team of Dermot Walsh as Ray Savage and Hazel Court as Joy, who work for Fact Magazine. But the script gives them little opportunity to spark together. The narrative owes everything to American detective films, I liked the way Dermot Walsh introduces himself to camera, then provides the narration, perhaps overdone.
Hat check girl at the Flamingo Club, Jane Hale had gassed herself, and Ray is asked to work up an article on the background to her sad demise. Disinterested, Ray talks to Sgt Miller who points him to Jane's boyfriend Thomas Winter. Then the manager at the club says she was "jumpy." Her landlady can't add to the picture, but Ray finds a chic hat in Jane's room, out of place to be sure, marked Andre.
Next stop is Southampton (oddly a London bus can be seen outside the station here), the manager of Friston Hotel says Jane had left when someone tried to murder her. She worked at the Toledo Club. A friend who worked here Ruby (Jennifer Jayne) is sure she was running away from someone.
Ray goes to Weybridge where Jane's mother lives in a sanatorium, but how could Jane have paid her expensive bills? Then to Rexworth where Joy has traced the milliner Andre (Ferdy Mayne). He doesn't know Jane, but says he sold the hat to a Charles Lloyd. Suspicious, Ray follows him to an escort bureau. He must be getting close because he's beaten up and his head pushed into a gas oven.
Luckily Joy finds him in time, barely breathing. The bureau, run by Lloyd, had employed Jane, who had stumbled on the truth about Rexworth shipping magnate Edgar Drew, leader of a counterfeiting gang. A shootout and one last twist, "what a story!"

Uncredited speaking extras: 1 The messenger boy in Ray's office. 2 Man in Harvey the boss' office (John Martin). 3 Sgt Miller. 4 Charlie desk clerk at the Firston Hotel. 5 Toledo floor show girl. 6 Matthews the sanatorium supervisor- a nurse calls him doctor though Ray addresses him as Mr! 7 Mrs Hale Jane's mother (Katharine Page?). 8 A nurse at the sanatorium. 9 Miss Martin assistant at Andre's. 10 The thug in Ray's flat. 11 and 12 His fellow crooks, one named Johnson in the final punch up. Also appearing briefly: Michael Caine.
Ray drives TUL 101. The crooks have a van SGL258. Lloyd drives NJJ905

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Gang War
(1962, directed by Frank Marshall, New Elstree, 4*). Producer: Brian Langslow (possibly a pseudonym for Brian Taylor).

Any connection with 1930's gangster films is intentional but non existent. This is an interesting attempt to make a British 'rackets' film and in its naively cheap way it's better than the likes of No Orchids For Miss Blandish. Bill le Sage's music gives the drama a touch of class it perhaps doesn't deserve.

It starts with the vicious shooting in a lonely spot, of cafe owner Grimes. The two killers, Johnny and Chuck, report back to their boss 'Doc' Tobin (John Gabriel) who runs a seedy club.
The papers label it as 'The fruit machine murder,' for there are two gangs running an extortion racket on these machines: in North London Jim Alexis (David Davies), and his rival Tony Danton, south of the Thames.
Tobin has brought hoodlum Al Hodges over from The States to help him muscle in on the profits, and indeed to smash the two gangs for his own benefit. To get Jim and Tony to slug it out, they hatch their scheme.
Jim's brother Paul (Colin Tapley) has been trying to get Jim to go straight, but he is picked up by crooks posing as police, taken to a lonely place and shot at close range. The clever part of their plan is the nobbling of Ford of the Yard, who works in the ballistics section. He is blackmailed into stealing a bullet from the Grimes murder file, and substituting it with the bullet in Paul's corpse. The police draw the obvious conclusion. So does Jim and the "first class rumble" planned by Doc and Al starts. Jim shoots Johnny and Chuck in revenge, knowing they killed Grimes and believing they also killed his brother. Danton's response is a grenade thrown into Jim's office.
Sergeant Bob Craig has an inkling of what might be going on, and questions Maria, Paul's daughter. He finishes with the offer of a dance date! Then he goes to Jim, accusing him of killing Paul. That "sermon" gives Jim food for thought, though what it does is achieve a reconciliation between the two gangmen. Jim and Tony talk. Danton insists he did not kill Paul, and they finally work out that Ford must have fiddled the evidence. A frightened Ford admits his duplicity before he is shot by Jim.
Meanwhile Craig has also got to the truth, but gets to Ford too late. Ford is able to utter the usual dying tip before expiring. Police race to Doc's club, but Jim and Tony have already got there, and there are two more dead scum, Doc and Al. Then the two bosses fall out, Danton shoots Jim then grabs Maria as a hostage. As police arrive, Jim with his dying breath shoots Tony before collapsing himself

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SHE ALWAYS GETS THEIR MAN
Made in 1962, billed as an "Ingram Production", the personnel are mainly Danziger regulars: Associate Producer is Brian Taylor, Script by Mark Grantham and the director is Godfrey Grayson. Music is by a rather unrecognisable Bill le Sage.

RJ Conley is a confirmed bachelor engineer with his own business to run. He runs it rather badly. To his secretary, Betty (Ann Sears), who's in love with him of course, he confesses he's "getting on." He's shy with women and asks her to help him. She advises him to relax more- with her she means of course.
Sally (Sally Smith) is 18 and a sweet innocent country girl, up from Devon to London. Her cousin Betty is requested to "protect" her. Certainly Sally seems to bring out the "protective instinct" in an awful lot of men, mostly the boyfriends of the girls at the Kensington Residential Club where Betty lives. Conley is not immune to "the innocent child" either: "isn't she sweet?"
So Betty tells Sally "I wish you wouldn't flirt with him so much," whilst to her boss she encourages him to "let out the tiger in you... roar a little." But Bob Conley asks not Betty, but Sally out to dinner- "it must be costing you a fortune."
The girls at the club plan how to "get rid of her," or rather how to find the millionaire Sally dreams of, to divert her attention away from their boyfriends. As noone knows a real millionaire, Betty hires an unemployed actor Jonathan Waling, who turns into wealthy industrialist Sir Basil Claybourne, " a decrepit old playboy." Expenses paid by the girls, he escorts Sally to lavish meals- "it takes money to be a millionaire!"
To revive his ailing business, Conley is seeking a business partner. Sir Basil "is just the man who could help" Sally confides to Conley. Betty is worried with very good reason over Sir Basil's unique approach to management. "We'll build an empire," he promises.
By a stroke of luck the 100,000 shares he invests in Siamese Drainpipes get the firm in the pink- "we're coining money!"
Betty realises she has to come clean. The real Sir Basil appears, to Sally's delight, as he asks her out. To Betty's delight also, as Bob Conley kisses her.

As Conley, Terence Alexander is in his element, being bowled over by the young girl from the country. Avril Elgar has a nice cameo as Betty's dowdy friend, whilst William Fox takes on the part of the actor-turned-millionaire with authority. His agent, Michael Balfour, also has a strong little supporting role.
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Highway to Battle (1960, directed by Ernest Morris, 4*)
The opening shot uses the same bank exterior as in Man from Interpol- Challoner's Bank. But this is no bank raid, a news vendor sets the date as just prior to World War Two.
Then we move to Croydon Airport, where German diplomat Kurt Brauwitz decides not to take the Berlin flight. That brings two Gestapo officers (Ferdy Mayne and Peter Reynolds) to Britain. They go to the embassy, run by Hans Constantin (Gerard Heinz) who has private reservations about the Fuhrer. However his daughter Gerda (Dawn Beret) despises British attitudes, utterly unforgiveable of course, though her stepmother Hilda is older and shrewder.
Constantin is blamed for not keeping closer tabs on Brauwitz, and is ordered to find him. Constantin rightly guess Brauwitz has sought shelter with Dick Ransome, a journalist (Vincent Ball). Will Dick help him get away to America? Dick wants to publish Kurt's story to tell the world the truth about Hitler's regime, though Brauwitz won't help, insisting he does not want to be a traitor. All in all this is an unusual film from the Danzigers, exploring motivation. It doesn't really grip however.
By a typical shabby Nazi trick, to quote a Captain Mainwaring, Hans lures Kurt away from Dick's flat, and is brought back to the embassy for Gestapo interrogation. This produces no results, so Constantin is ordered to open Kurt up. Poor Hans knows that it will seal his own downfall, and he wrestles with his patriotism, his family responsibilities and his future, "there is no hope." Well, thanks to some self sacrifice, there is hope for someone. At least the cavalry, in the shape of Dick break into the sacrosanct embassy for a rescue of sorts.

Notes: a surviving print used for dvd release has no titles. Someone has added these recently, crediting Bill le Sage with the music, although it sounds like Edwin Astley to me. Also there is an uncredited Colin Tapley in one scene as Matthews, Dick's editor, and he is wearing the most laughable black wig ever

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THE BATTLEAXE
The producer was John Ingram. Godfrey Grayson directed. Script: M M McCormack (Mark Grantham)

Heiress Audrey Page (Jill Ireland) is just a little overprotected by her suffocating mother (Joan Haythorne). So much so that Tony Evers (Francis Matthews) has been forbidden seeing her. Frustrated, he sues her for breach of promise.
So in court Tony relates the story of the romance. His version is that it started when he had encountered the formidable Mrs Agnes Page arguing with a French taxi driver. Another brush on the flight to London, and again at a posh Mayfair hotel. Here "the old nuisance" is creating another fuss. Tony somehow finds opportunity to fall in love with Mrs Page's daughter and in his flat they kiss. He proposes, she accepts. Despite mother's opposition, the engagement is announced.
The defence counsel's questioning centres on Tony's dubious past reputation, his debts, and his motives for wanting to marry Audrey.
Charles 'Chet,' is Tony's oldest friend, but though he supports Tony's version of events, his doubtful prison record is against him.
Next in the box is Audrey who explains why she had refused to marry Tony. She tells of Marie, whom she found in Tony's flat, and others. Old flames, he claimed. She had been enthusiastic about helping Tony expand his locksmith's business, but her mother had hired a private investigator who suggested Tony is nothing but a fortune hunter.
Mrs Page as a witness is more than a little belligerent, soon crossing with the judge (Richard Calidcott). True, Tony had called her an old battleaxe. She is asked to define that word. A grasping, interfering busybody, she pronounces.
Ernest Gavell is the private investigator who had discovered Tony owes about £2,000 and that he had been unfaithful to Audrey. He had observed Tony's flat and seen him dancing with a pretty girl, while another girl was in his bathroom.
Tony is recalled to justify his firm's honest ambitions and to provide an explanation of the two women. It was all to do with a commercial for his business that he was filming. Well, that's his story.
Making a comedy, which I think this is supposed to be, set in a courtroom, seems to me to be a difficult task to start with, and this script fails to raise anything more than a slight occasional smile. The cast rightly try to play it as straight as they can, clearly seeing little to laugh at themselves. The premise of the battleaxe was promising, and could have provided the core to a lively comedy, instead, if you care to sit through the film to the end, you will probably be pleased to find that you guessed the ending correctly. Yes they all live happily ever after, except of course for Mrs Agnes Page.
"Why have we wasted the court's time?" protests his lordship. He could have been echoing my own thoughts entirely
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There were at least 55 UK feature films produced by Edward and Harry Lee Danziger. There were others that were made using the studio's personnel, but were not produced by the brothers, who sold their interest in the business in late 1961. Prior to coming to the UK, the Danziger brothers also produced four films in America- Jigsaw (1949), So Young, So Bad (1950), St. Benny the Dip (1951), Babes in Bagdad (1952).
Here is a list of their features:
1954: Devil Girl From Mars, Star of My Night
1955: Alias John Preston
1956: Satellite in the Sky
1957: Three Crooked Men, The Betrayal, The Depraved, Operation Murder, Son of a Stranger, Three Sundays to Live
1958: High Jump, Innocent Meeting, Links of Justice, Moment of Indiscretion, No Safety Ahead, On the Run, A Woman of Mystery, The Great Van Robbery
1959: The Child and the Killer, Innocent Meeting, Crash Drive, Date at Midnight, Man Accused, Top Floor Girl, Web of Suspicion, Woman Possessed, Date at Midnight, Woman's Temptation,
1960: Compelled, Escort for Hire, Feet of Clay, Highway to Battle, An Honourable Murder, Identity Unknown, Night Train for Inverness, Operation Stogie, Sentenced for Life, The Spider's Web, A Taste of Money, The Tell-Tale Heart, Transatlantic, Two Wives at One Wedding
1961: The Gentle Terror, Strip Tease Murder, The Nudist Story, The Court Martial of Major Keller, Fate Takes a Hand, Middle Course, Part-Time Wife, Return of a Stranger, So Evil So Young, Tarnished Heroes, The Spanish Sword.

Films produced at New Elstree with studio personnel, but not actually produced by the Danzigers
1961: Three Spare Wives, The Pursuers
1962: The Durant Affair, Design for Loving, Gang War, She Always Gets Their Man, The Silent Invasion, What Every Woman Wants, The Lamp in Assassin Mews, and The Battleaxe- the working name for this final film made at New Elstree, was Breach of Promise (Production No 537)

OTHER PRODUCTIONS WERE MADE AT NEW ELSTREE by independent producers, including the feature film The Hostage (1956), Enemy from Space (aka Quatermass II, 1957), The Accursed (The Traitor) EJ Fancey Production (1957), and Count 5 and Die (1957).
TV SERIES. As well as
Danzigers' own productions, some episodes of Sailor of Fortune were filmed at New Elstree, and two episodes of the US Wire Service were also made here. It is stated that some episodes of the 1955 Aggie were also made at New Elstree, but the few episodes of this series I have seen cannot as yet confirm this.
TWO MYSTERIES:
Stage and TV Weekly 28 Jan 1960 p 13 mentions: YOUNG SINNERS (technicolor, “just finished”- probably this is So Evil So Young). Also, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE – a comedy. This could be an alternative title for a film listed above, or maybe it was only a projected movie.
There was also Fun at the Movies, dated 1956, but this was possibly a compilation, with clips linked by a Michael Bentine.

Several features of compilations of the tv series Calling Scotland Yard, and The Vise were made for cinema release. The films were: 1954: Gilbert Harding Speaking of Murder, A Tale of Three Women. 1955: Three Cornered Fate, Triple Blackmail, The Yellow Robe
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Memories of New Elstree by BRIAN TAYLOR,
the Danzigers' right hand man in the latter years of production, has written an account of this chapter of his career in his book "Grandfathers Tales." It's well worth a read!

He told me that Ralph Rodgers, the librarian at New Elstree, "kept tabs on" Danziger material for many years. He also added details of how Bravo obtained their prints of Man from Interpol which they showed in the early nineties. The producer in question reckoned he had produced them (though he hadn't) and "had cut off all the British credits from the prints and then placed his company into bankruptcy, after he had taken the cash, to avoid any litigation from the Danzigers."

In a very helpful letter in January 2005, Brian Taylor confirmed some initial planning was done for a tv series 'The World is My Beat' but the project was aborted as there was "no sponsor prepared to back." He also confirms Daniel Massey had been approached about 'Ali Baba,' though "nothing apart from very preliminary discussions took place." He also explains why the series never got off the ground:
Associated Rediffusion "had expressed interest and wanted the Danzigers to go ahead." However "although 39 half hour scripts had been prepared, A-R had a flop with a one night music spectacular called 'The Tales of Ali Baba.'" This was a live musical show in June 1960 in black and white. "The critics were only lukewarm and Rediffusion got cold feet about going ahead with a film series, also scheduled to be in black and white.
The Danzigers tried to rescue it by pre-selling the series in America and making it in colour, but even there in 1961, colour TV was in its infancy and noone was prepared to risk such an expensive experiment."

On a happier note, Brian adds: "I spoke to Harry Danziger only a couple of weeks ago. He now lives in Palm Springs and has reached the grand old age of 92, and can carry on a lively conversation."
Thank you Brian for your helpful comments. Since writing this, Harry Lee died in April 2005.

Note- In The Veteran No.78 (Autumn 1996) Brian wrote about the sale of all the studio effects, which occurred in Spring 1964.
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GEOFFREY HELMAN worked as assistant director on later Danziger films from 1960.
Thank you to him for writing this fascinating insight into the studios for this site.

About the New Elstree Studios-
It was an excellent purpose built block of four sound stages, each with well designed and fitted make-up/ hairdressing rooms, plus actors' dressing rooms and crowd artist dressing rooms. I think the architect was Eric Blakemore.
Across the site was an admin block housing the Production Manager (John Draper), an executive (Brian Taylor) and the Studio Manager (Steve Fallon), plus secretaries. Within the main stages block there was also an accounts department, alongside a full time Casting Director's office (Barry Gray).
Another purpose built block housed a good sized canteen adjacent to a well equipped Camera Department and a Sound Department. On the upper floor were several well equipped cutting rooms with a preview theatre for rushes, as well as an Art Department headed by Peter Mullins.
Within the main studio building were Props, Carpentry, Paint, Drapes and Rigger shops with a sizeable car park close by. A back-lot existed where exterior sets were built and these were revamped from medieval England to China, Berlin etc! The only department housed in a temporary block of timber was Wardrobe; Yvonne Blake was the chief, subsequently she went on to win an Oscar for her costumes in Nicholas and Alexandra.

On Production-
Shooting operated efficiently on a schedule of two and a half days for one Tv episode, and maybe a couple of weeks for a feature film. However very occasionally, if we were behind schedule, the front office would issue an instruction to the director to rip out a page or two from the script! There were also directives from Edward and Harry Danziger. One was that photography was not to be low key as the US networks would not buy anything that looked 'arty.' Another was Never Wear Bow Ties on screen, as US audiences would assume the characters were 'goddam faggots.' Locations were set up from time to time on a two or three day basis with a casual daily crew, sometimes with a young novice director like Michael Winner.

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