. . . . . . . . Dinosaur Films - September 2017
Welcome to my monthly magazine on the byways of British cinema.
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Missing Films. . Profile . . My Favourite Films . . CFF Films . . Brief Reviews . . Bray Studios Review . . Merton Park . . New Elstree . . Southall Studios site
ROOM IN THE HOUSE
(1955, directed by Maurice Elvey, Nettlefold Studios, 5*)
Marjorie Rhodes gets a starring role as lonely Betsy, who leaves her happy home to stay with her rich son David. "From now on everything will be done for you." What with their adminstering her tonics 1, supper in bed, tucked in at 8.30, she determines to live instead with her son Jack. Here she is able to live a much more active existence 2, especially as Jack's wife Mary is a hypochondriac. But Betsy puts her foot in it, wisely advising her granddaughter Chris to go, horror of horrors, up North to join her sweetheart Brian. With parting words of wisdom, she departs for her son Hugh. He's a reverend 3, very busy, and about to go to America on a pulpit exchange. How can he tell her she cannot go? In a sad scene she finds out and returns to home and Mrs Potter (Edie Martin). "I've been a foolish old woman," she tells Benji (Leslie Dwyer) 4, but it's a happy return to her former house, "there's no place like home"

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Bray Studios

Reviews of films made at these studios.
ONE WAY OUT
(1955 Bray Studios, directed by Francis Searle, 4*)

In a boogie woogie joint, enter a shapely pair of legs: "I gotta see him," him being Jim Danvers "biggest fence since the war."
Investigating her 'suicide' is near retirement-age Superintendent John Harcourt (Eddie Byrne). On her body had been found stolen jewellery. This could be the evidence needed to get Danvers convicted at last. Danvers however arranges to frame Harcourt's daughter Shirley for a murderous garage robbery. John is left with no alternative but to drop his case against Danvers.
This improving story shows how the policeman's deception gets him in deeper and deeper. There's only one chance of redemption- bust Danvers.
"I'm going out for a few minutes," John tells his wife, in the manner of Oates leaving that Antarctic tent.
There's a final tense scene with an incredible 75 seconds without dialogue, as we await the inevitable. Sam Kydd has one of his uncredited parts as a getaway driver

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Each month- a review of a film from the Children's Film Foundation

Cup Tie Fever
(1965, directed by David Bracknell, CFF, 2*)
A young Susan George plays the obligatory girl in this northern footballing tale, but her accent is far too posh. Denis Gilmore is the main child star, playing Skipper, captain of Barton United.
Nasty Councillor Bates (David Lodge) closes down their bomb site of a practice ground, maybe for redevelopment, but perhaps also to help his son's rival team. His stooge is the local police constable (Bernard Cribbins). The lads can easily outwit him.
It's the semi-final, and the Salford boys play dirty and before the match chop all the studs off Barton's boots. Summary repairs ensure Barton scrape home with a 2-1 win. They're through to the final.
With no ground to practise on, they have to resort to using the streets, avoiding the short arm of the law. But our bobby really is quite friendly, for he is able to get them some help from the United team, The United, Manchester United that is! The team enjoy a day's training at Old Trafford, perhaps the most interesting part of the film: Matt Busby welcomes them and the team train with them on the pitch.
So to the big match. The girls sew the shirts, but more dirty work means the team all miss their lifts to the ground. Milk floats come to the rescue, and in the nick of time, the whole team assemble at Altrincham FC ground to play Tooley Green.
"The referee's bent!" rants Bates, in an easy Barton victory

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Reviews of a few B films

POLICE DOG (1955, directed by Derek Twist, National Studios, 4*)- two coppers on the beat chase a suspicious character. Ken is shot, his partner PC Frank Mason (Tim Turner) vows to catch the villain. As he has "a way with dogs," he helps train Rex before the dog joins him on patrol. First 'capture' is a courting couple, but more usefully at closing time, "I'll come quietly, take that dog away!" The one cloud on Mason's horizon is that his sweetheart Pat (Joan Rice) is jealous of Rex! Otherwise it's all nice and cosy, especially with the sympathetic police sergeant (Charles Victor in an ideal role). Rex comes into his own during a factory robbery. It is perpetrated by Ken's killer, "you've got it coming to you," cries Mason, very unPC

THE FLYING SCOT (1957, directed by Compton Bennett, Beaconsfield Studios, 3*)- On board the night London express are young newlyweds, but their luggage is unusual: tools to remove parts of their compartment. Target, the adjacent section which is full of bags of money. These are chucked overboard at a pre-arranged point- easy! It is twelve minutes before there is any dialogue, what we have seen is the plan for the job. Inevitably the real thing hits problems: the compartment is slightly different in construction, a drunk interrupts, not to mention the obnoxious boy, and the boss Phil's ulcer perforates. This is one of those films of frustration, just too protracted to enjoy

A WEEKEND WITH LULU (1961, directed by John Paddy Carstairs, Shepperton Studios, 4*)- Lulu is "a mobile love nest," ie an old caravan for Tom (Leslie Phillips) to borrow for use with Deirdre (Shirley Eaton). The caravan is "a bit intimate," ie cramped. The only snag is that her mother (Irene Handl) comes too for "quite an adventure." Stranded in France, the plot becomes a mildly enjoyable romp taking them slowly home, "who's that girl?" Pursued by rozzers, one haven is a chateau owned by an amorous count. Cash is raised by various dubious means, and spent as quickly, including a betting swindle on the Tour de France

GIRL IN THE HEADLINES (1963, directed by Michael Truman, Twickenham Studios, 7*)- Murder of Ursula, a fashion model. The story starts as Chief Inspector Birkett (Ian Hendry) begins his investigation. Ronald Fraser as his assistant provides a stronger than usual second lead. Suspects emerge, including David Dane a snooty tv personality, Hammond Barker and Jordan her boyfriend and his brother, plus the director of a swish club (Kieron Moore). An intriguing revelation of blackmail, drugs, abortion, though that might suggest this is a sleazy film, which it's not. Then a second murder and a chase along the Thames, followed by an arrest in a spooky graveyard before the killer is exposed. Homely touches with the policemen make for a well rounded thriller

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Profile :

Anne Gunning.
Her film appearances:
1949 The Spider and the Fly (not credited)
1949 The Astonished Heart
1950 Portrait of Clare, then after a break-
1959 Room at the Top (uncredited).

After the war this Irish born actress graduated from RADA and was one of many actresses groomed for potential stardom by the J Arthur Rank Organisation. She appeared in several films as an extra before obtaining her first small speaking part in The Astonished Heart, in which she played a maid called Helen. "I have to answer a telephone and take a message," is how she described her role. Such heavy stuff failed to get her noticed however and she failed to capitalise on her Rank contract.
However she did marry Anthony, the son and heir of Sir Harold Nutting.

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MISSING BRITISH FEATURE FILMS

Woman To Woman

This 1947 film was shown on British TV in 1958.
But where is it now?

It starred the forgotten Douglass Montgomery with Yvonne Arnaud.
Directed by old favourite Maclean Rogers, it was that old chesnut, the wartime romance.

The run time on Television Wales and West was 90 minutes, so it must have been cut, since some ads were included in this transmission time, though TWW tended not to have too many on Sunday afternoons

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My Favourite B Films:
A series on films I love.
No.6 Hell Drivers
(1957, directed by C Endfield, Pinewood Studios, 9*)
Out of prison, Joe, aka Tom (Stanley Baker), is lucky to obtain employment as a lorry driver, where the pay is good, the risks high. The host of unlikeable characters that are so appealing include:
Cartley (William Hartnell) as the manager, "specialising in hiring drifters... looking for a sucker."
The world weary driving instructor (Wilfrid Lawson) who watches Tom on a test run, "suppose we meet something?" "We're going dandy."
Then there's Red (Patrick McGoohan at his imperious best), holder of the no 1 plate, dominant, belligerent, utterly unpleasant and ruthless, he drinks while he drives, and smokes, drives like a maniac, everyone scared of him, "come back yellow belly."
A host of familiar faces add to the whole air of evil, Ma (Marjorie Rhodes) the only one who can tame even the roughest of roughs with her tongue. Sid James adds some jokes, "this place is a loonybin," Gordon Jackson is barely visible, Sean Connery ditto, Alfie Bass as Tinker ditto. Gino (Herbert Lom) I found a little too twee, in love with the flighty Lucy, not quite sympathetic enough, or perhaps too sympathetic.
Of course it is the stunt driving that really spices up the film, and even if the continuity is naff, and the film so obviously speeded up, you just have to love the overtaking on the narrowest roads, the appalling risk taking, and no policeman in view!
By the end the characters look bruised and battered with a final menace of evil from Red as he drives Tom off the road at top speed, this is murder...!
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