. . . . . . . . Dinosaur Films - March 2017
Spring into my monthly magazine on British cinema.
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Missing Films. . New Profile . . Main Feature . . Famous 5 . . Brief Reviews . . Bray Studios Review . . Merton Park . . New Elstree . . Southall Studios site
Method and Madness
(1950 directed by Norman Hemsby, 4*)

Today is washing day and Mr Pastry tells his wife he can do it in no time, it only needs "organisation." So while she attends a gas showroom lecture on the latest products, the film juxtapposes Mr Pastry's primitive kitchen.
Step 1- light the fire. Coal from the cellar, to where his neighbour accidentally pushes him.
Step 2- Add water. The machine exudes steam in a novel way of heating the tub.
Step 3- Prepare the washing by rubbing soiled items.
4- Add the flakes for lather. Plenty of that- how about adding shampoo, and liver salts?!
5- Agitate. Lots of fun here.
6- Use the mangle. A clothes hangar is pulled through with the washing, neatly reversing the process reshapes the hangar.
7- Drying. A network of clothes lines comes crashing to the ground.
However "a happy ending" sees a new gas washer installed

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Bray Studios

Reviews of films made at these studios.

DICK TURPIN- HIGHWAYMAN
(1956, directed by David Paltenghi, Bray Studios, 5*)

This short with its jolly theme song has all the hallmarks of an early attempt by Hammer at a tv pilot.
Jonathan Redgrove (Allan Cuthbertson) is the sort of pompous toff who deserves to be taught a lesson. It's evident he's only marrying Gertrude for her dowry, so gallant Dick robs her, and at once the engagement is called off.
There's a nice twist to this old chesnut when Dick then obliges Redgrove to marry the girl who turns out to be rather rotund. Not a lot of dashing highway robbery here, but Philip Friend made the ideal hero.
Colour photography and Hammerscope too!
At the end, the barman calls out to Dick "come again sir," but he never did

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Each month- a review of one part of this Children's Film Foundation serial.

Five on a Treasure Island
was released by the Children's Film Foundation in 1957.
It was, of course, an adaptation of a popular Enid Blyton adventure with the Famous Five,
George (Rel Grainer), Julian (Richard Palmer), Ann (Gillian Harrison), and Dick (John Bailey), not forgetting their dog Timmy. John Charlesworth played their friend Jan, who looks after Timmy.
The director was Gerald Landau. Producer: Frank Wells. Screenplay: Michael Barnes.

Episode 5 Trapped in the Dungeon
Shift it. George pulls the ring, then Dick, even Julian can't get it to budge. Yet Anne can! She gets the rope and ties it to the ring and, to laughter, the trap door is opened. Down the steps to a maze of passages. There's a locked door! "I bet the treasure's inside." But it will need an axe to break the door down. It takes a while for the Five to find their way back and having got the axe, a rope is sensibly used to mark the trail. When that runs out, George marks the route with chalk.
As Julian wields the axe, Dick gets hit by a flying splinter and Anne has to take him back into the fresh air. At last Julian gets the door open and there lie a (very) little pile of ingots, "a fortune."
But Luke and Bill have got to the island and grab the gold, then Timmy, in order to force George to write a note to Dick and Anne to get them into the vault. Timmy carries the message, but as it's signed Georgina, Anne realises something is wrong. There's a chase round the castle when Jim and Luke find their ruse has failed.
Having eluded their pursuers, Anne and Dick dash down to their boat. How can they get away?

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My Reviews of a few British films
WHILE I LIVE (1947, directed by John Harlow, MGM Boreham Wood Studios, 5*)- "Your whole future depends on it," Olwen's that is and her need to complete her haunting musical composition. When she dies tragically young while sleepwalking, her sister Julia (Sonia Dresdel) keeps her memory alive, thereby smothering her cousin Peter and his fiancee Christine. Then a mysterious stranger appears, here is the reincarnattion of Olwen. In fact the girl has lost her memory and is Sally, a journalist writing Olwen's story. You can rely on faithful old fruity retainer old Nehemiah (Tom Walls) to sort her out. The film overplays the haunting tune, making the most of the heartstrings, though in a very sympathetic old fashioned way

MAN IN BLACK (1949 directed by Francis Searle, Bray Studios 4*) - Rich Henry Clavering (Sidney James) gives a yoga demonstration of catalepsy, but collapses and dies. Did his second wife, the "merciless" Bertha (Betty Ann Davies) bring about the sudden noise that brought on her husband's demise? Joan, Henry's sickly daughter by his first marriage will inherit the massive pile of Oakfield Towers when she comes of age, however Bertha gets it if Joan should happen to die. A perfect recipe for Joan to be driven out of her mind. Her only ally is faithful crusty old retainer Hodson. The plot is too obvious, for Joan is oblivious of the reasons for her going round the twist. Hodson's 'murder' brings on a nice turning of the tables, culminating in Bertha's fake seance which leads to a shock ending

PROFILE (1954, directed by Francis Searle, Shepperton Studios, 4*)- Margo (Kathleen Byron) is the younger wife of Aubrey, "a bit extravagant." He is starting a new magazine for men, Peter Armstrong (John Bentley) the editor. She makes up to Peter, trouble is she has a rival in Susan, her stepdaughter. Also her ex-husband Charlie is blackmailing her. When Aubrey sees her for what she really is, a heart attack finishes him off. Though the first magazine is a big success, Peter has to account for the company cheques he has drawn. He has been framed, and only Margo can prove his innocence- for a price. Marriage. So who kills her? Impressive final chase among the giant printing presses

ACCIDENT (1967, directed by Joseph Losey, Twickenham Studios, 2*)- If this starts like an old B movie with a car crash entirely off screen, it soon becomes what it is. A sleazy story about Professor Stephen's mid-life crisis, an obsession with a "princess" of a pupil. A rival prof Charley (Stanley Baker) is a rival for her body, a very immature academic to boot, an ideal tv personality in fact. Dirk Bogarde in the central role is as wooden as ever, unconconvincing, "you don't look a day older," he plods out at another bed partner Francesca. I did wonder how scriptwriter Harold Pinter ever made a name for himself, I suppose he was ahead of his time in honest study of the Swinging 60s. But I found no sympathy for any of his characters, "how pathetic, poor stupid old man" is a fine summary. The consummation of Steve's lust after the road crash with the dazed victim, sums it all up

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New Profile:

Albert Fennell (1920-1988)
Though he is now best known for his part as producer on some of the later Avengers TV series, moving on to The Professionals, Albert had a long background in films.

His career began in 1941 as assistant studio manager at Gainsborough at Islington, then moving over as studio manager at their Shepherd's Bush premises.
After the war he became production supervisor on such films as The Wicked Lady and Caravan. He joined Premier Films in 1948 as associated producer on Idol of Paris. The next year he was associate producer on The Cure for Love. In 1953 he wrote the screenplay and was co-producer of Park Plaza 605.
Films he produced included The March Hare (1956), Next to No Time (1957), The Horse's Mouth (1958), Tunes of Glory (1959), and Bitter Harvest (1963)

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MISSING BRITISH FEATURE FILMS
I think this 1948 film is around, but I haven't seen it:

UNEASY TERMS

I've always liked Peter Cheyney's convoluted plots, and his Slim Callaghan character was one of his best creations.
Michael Rennie in the title role however, I would be less positive about.
B movie favourites Sydney Tafler and Paul Carpenter also feature, while Barry Jones (oddly omitted from this cast list of a 1960 tv screening) plays the poor Inspector Gringall.

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THE MAIN FEATURE:
LAUGHTER IN PARADISE (1951 directed by Mario Zampi, AB Studios Elstree 8*)
Henry Augustus Russell has been a practical joker extraordinary. His will is his last act of japery. His four relatives find out why.
First there is his sister the dour Agnes (Fay Compton), who to receive her share of the fortune, must work as a maid for one month.
Then there is the "twerp" of a nephew Herbert (George Cole), a timid bank clerk, who is required to hold up his own bank.
Third is cousin Simon, a spendthrift and a rotter, who must marry the first eligible woman he talks to.
Finally cousin Deniston (Alastair Sim), a closet author of penny dreadfuls, engaged to Fluffy (Joyce Grenfell), who most find a way getting to prison for 28 days.
The supporting cast add to the pleasure of this blackish comedy: Ernest Thesiger as the solicitor, AE Matthews as daddy, also the judge sentencing Deniston, Leslie Dwyer as the policeman advising what crimes qualify for 28 days in prison, Ronald Adam as the dreaded Mr Wagstaff, bank manager, and John Laurie as the irascible man Agnes has to care for.
Though Zampi was Italian, he had a deep understanding of the English psyche, and this was only the first of his fine studies of eccentrics.
"It takes some people a long time to find out about themselves." Nearly all of them learn some home truths, and benefit

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