. . . . . . . . Dinosaur Films - February 2017
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Missing Films. . New Profile . . Main Feature . . Famous 5 . . Brief Reviews . . Bray Studios Review . . Merton Park . . New Elstree . . Southall Studios site
A MAN'S AFFAIR
(1949 directed by Jay Lewis, 3*)
In a funfair, we start with location scenes introducing two holidaying girls Sheila and Phil who pal up with two local lads, Ted and Jim, "a good sort" who works down the Kentish mines.
The four meet again at the Olympia Ballroom where the lads' adopted sister Rosie (Joan Dowling) naughtily also sneaks in and gets involved with Leonard the local spiv.
A touch of romance twixt Sheila (Diana Decker) and Jim nearly comes to an end, when Jim scraps with Leonard, who splashes into the Ramsgate sea

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Bray Studios

Reviews of films made at these studios.

CIRCUS OF FEAR
(1966, directed by John Moxey, Bray Studios, 3*)

An ingenious robbery from a van on Tower Bridge, "who is the boss?"
Answer: "noone knows."
It takes a while for us to realise why the action has switched to Ballerino's Circus in the off season, for it transpires the stolen loot has been hidden here. There are too many stock characters in stock situations like the eternal triangle, the escaped lion, but more absorbing is the masked lion tamer (Christopher Lee).
Inspector Elliott (an ageing Leo Genn) exudes a quiet authority in the mayhem, one of the thieves is killed, as well as a potential informer, before Lee finally reveals his face, "how long can this go on?" he asks, adding, "it's a comedy."
However I found it too long and not too funny. Arson flushes out the cash, then Elliott stages a circus act to draw the boss, who's another potential tragic clown, "this time there's no way out"

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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.
The director was Gerald Landau. Producer: Frank Wells. Screenplay: Michael Barnes.

Episode 4 On the Track of The Treasure
Crumbs! Luke has walked away with the box containing the treasure map! Lucky a copy has been made of that map.
"It's my island," insists George to her father, though perhaps she doesn't quite understand his financial difficulties. He's only too willing to sell it to the Baddies, but when it comes to hurriedly signing the bill of sale, luckily his pen doesn't work, and he is persuaded to read over the contract first, and sign tomorrow.
But there's no time to lose to dig up those buried ingots. The children grab rope and spades which Uncle Quentin promptly trips up over. Then they dash, grabbing Timmy en route, to Kirrin Island. Perhaps they are in too much of a rush because the copy of the map gets blown into the sea, but good old Timmy rescues it.
On the island at last. The steps leading down to the dungeon where lies the treasure, in located. "Nothing here!"
Again it is Timmy who helps, by finding the well marked on the map, and fifteen yards away should be the dungeon. The distance is paced out and digging recommences. Ann and Dick prepare some grub and as they settle down to enjoy it, Ann sits on a large metal ring.
Is this the way to the buried treasure?"

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Reviews of a few British comedy films

ONE WILD OAT (1950 directed by Charles Saunders, Riverside Studios, 5*)- Robertson Hare is in his element as 'Big Toe,' neurotic father with a nineteen year old Cherrie. "The seamy side of life" might she be seeing with her boyfriend, son of black marketeer Gilbey (Stanley Holloway). Gilbey has one black sheep in Gloria, while Big Toe surprises us all with revelations of Audrey and an illegitimate child, "how is it going to end?" Well, now he has lost his fire, none too well, and the film falls flat until Audrey, in the shape of Irene Handl, lights it and the men's indiscretions, treated in the most lighthearted way, come back to haunt them

LAXDALE HALL (1952, directed by John Eldridge, Southall Studios, 5*)- this starts beautifully but doesn't know how to see it through. Bowler hatted MP Pettigrew is appointed to investigate an extraordinary outbreak of "anarchy" in Laxdale, near Skye. The five motorists there, led by The General (Ronald Squire at his most charming) are refusing to pay their road taxes since their road is in such a poor state of repair. The pompous Samuel Pettigrew (Raymond Huntley) takes the mistaken approach of promising to rehouse everyone in a fantastic New Town, and "leave the sinking ship." His suggestion is not well received. Kynaston Reeves as the cleric preaching on the plumb line in Amos chapter seven is fearsome, though over the top in his production of Macbeth. The film offers a lot of nice character studies but which could have been developed much more

IN THE DOGHOUSE (1961, directed by Darcy Conyers, Pinewood Studios, 5*)- the lively rock song at the start doesn't prepare you for a gentle comedy with touching moments about the life and mishaps of James Fox-Upton, vet (Leslie Phillips). The usual roster of character actors includes Colin Gordon as Jimmy's long suffering professor, and the underused Hattie Jacques as the lady from the RSPCA, not forgetting Rose, the monkey. Esma Cannon gives a touching cameo with her dying dog, though more obtrusive is the outlanding modernistic vet (James Booth). There's plenty to like including the lion which causes havoc at the Unusual Pets' Show, though the finale chasing after horse meat dealers is less convincing

THE BIG JOB (1965, directed by Gerald Thomas, Pinewood Studios, 5*)- Patrick Allen narrates the opening which introduces The Great Brain (Sid James), whose gang rob a bank, just about, and stash the proceeds in a hollow tree trunk before being arrested. After their release fifteen years later, the world has changed, and they find the tree is in the heart of a New Town, in fact in a walled garden, which is in the grounds of the police station. Some Carry On regulars, Joan Sims and Jim Dale, make the best they can of the situation, and tv stalwarts Dick Emery and Lance Percival chip in, with forced marriages, and less probably harpoons and tunnels. But their best efforts to retrieve the loot are frustratingly incompetent and doomed to failure

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New Profile:

John Eldridge (1917-1960)

After attending Haileybury School, John joined Herbert Wilcox as an assistant director in 1936.
Three years later he joined with Martin Curtis in forming an independent company. One of their films which he produced was SOS in 1940.
When the war ended he joined Greenpark Productions, in 1949 directing the highly acclaimed documentary Three Dawns to Sydney.
In 1950 he moved on to his most fruitful period, when he became part of Ealing Studios. He collaborated on the 1951 screenplay of Pool of London, the following year directing his first feature Brandy for the Parson. Later BAFTA nominated him for his contribution to the screenplays of Decision Against Time in 1957, and The Smallest Show in Earth in 1958

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MISSING BRITISH FEATURE FILMS

Hot Ice
This 1952 film was screened in the ITV regions during 1959.
ATV London, as can be seen, premiered it on May 23rd in their series
Great Movies Of Our Time.
Though surely an accolade too far, yet what became of this film after doing the rounds of the regional stations? Or did it ever get shown in the ITV regions, since many had not yet opened up?

The film was made by Charles Reynolds Productions, with Kenneth Hume writing and directing.

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THE MAIN FEATURE:

THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE
(1953 directed by William Keighley 3*)

By toss o' coin, Jamie (Errol Flynn) is off to fight in Bonnie Prince Charlie's uprising, while his brother Henry fights for the English. Here are all the old corny cliches you expect from an Errol Flynn movie, all the romantic gestures, even if not quite so wildly passionate as the great man looks a bit past it. Undoubtedly the best part of the film is the beautiful Scottish technicolour scenery, though unfortunately the lighting for the studio shots outdoors is so obviously not matching. Even more annoying or entertaining, depending on your viewpoint, is the intermittent American drone of the narrator (Robert Beatty?)
Col Francis (Roger Livesey) is an occasional bright spot, a fortuitous ally for Jamie, now on the run from the English conquerors. Livesey's Irish accent varies seemingly in response to urgings from his director, begad. At times he's nearly Long John Silver, that's what this film nearly transforms into, after starting like a sure fire repeat of Robin Hood. A fugitive, it's off to the High Seas for more Flynn high jinks. Inevitably he joins a pirate ship, quite the most opulent pirate you're ever likely to meet.
One typical scene is when the pirates go ashore, and Jamie is kissed by all and sundry admiring women, including "the most beautiful shark in the Caribbean." She helps our heroes nick the jewels of the richest pirate ever, Mendoza- Patrick McGoohan would have done this villain to perfection. Of course, as these are bad pirates of the old school, treachery is next on the menu, Jamie is betrayed, but exhibits all the old Flynn guts in a spectacular swordfight.
Rich beyond imaginings, Jamie returns to his homestead to claim his inheritance. But Henry is the laird, and Jamie thinks it was he who betrayed him to the English. His return coincides with ceebrations for Henry's wedding to the very plain Alison, Jamie's beloved. "You said you'd wait," Jamie complains to her.
Jamie denounces "the blackguard," who has taken his birthright, "you're going to die." That means another punchup. But the English are on hand, and Jamie is put under lock and key. Jamie and Francis face hanging at dawn tomorrow.
If the characters had offered more depth, you might be concerned for their fate. But like the romance, they are too monochrome, and the lavish colour and lavish production values cannot provide enough compensation

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