Archive A


The Abominable Snowman (1957)

An expedition goes in search of the elusive Yeti, but it doesn't want to be bothered.

Hammer had a huge hit with their versions of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass TV series, but couldn't replicate the same success with his play The Creature.

Script adapt.: (o.a.) Nigel Kneale

Director: Val Guest

Players: Peter Cushing, Forrest Tucker, Maureen Connell, Richard Wattis, Robert Brown, Michael Brill, Wolfe Morris, Arnold Marle, Anthony Chinn

Above Us the Waves (1955)

John Mills and a job-lot of stiff-upper-lipped character actors in a midget submarine blowing up German shipping. Well made but just another British war film.

Script adapt.: Robin Estridge. (o.a. C.E.T. Warren, John Benson)

Director: Ralph Thomas

Players: Donald Sinden, John Gregson, James Robertson Justice, Michael Medwin, James Kenney, Lee Patterson, William Russell, Harry Towb, Anthony Newley, Cyril Chamberlain, William Franklyn

Adam and Evelyne (1949)

Jean Simmons is the orphan who believes Stewart Granger is her dad. A dubious basis for a romantic comedy but the stars pull it off.

Script: Noel Langley, Lesley Storm, George Barraud, Nicholas Phipps

Director: Harold French

Players: Helen Cherry, Joan Swinstead, Edwin Styles, Raymond Young, Beatrice Varley, Wilfrid Hyde White, Peter Reynolds, Irene Handl, Fred Johnson, Geoffrey Denton, John Forrest, Sally Newson, Jimmy Holland, Keith Falkner, Lionel Grose, Anthony Eustrel, Francis de Wolff, Brenda Hogan, Dora Bryan, Betty Blackler, Joy Harrington, Mona Washbourne, Dino Galvani, Patrick Barr, Johnnie Schofield, Edie Martin

The Admirable Crichton (1957)

When an Edwardian family are shipwrecked on a desert island, only practical butler Kenneth More can keep them from starvation.

Lovely version of the J.M. Barrie play.

Script adapt.: Vernon Harris. (o.a. J.M. Barrie)

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Players: Cecil Parker, Sally Ann Howes, Diane Cilento, Martita Hunt, Jack Watling, Peter Graves, Miles Malleson, Eddie Byrne, Gerald Harper, Mercy Haystead, Miranda Connell, Toke Townley, Joan Young, Beth Rogan, Peter Welsh, Ronald Curran, Brenda Hogan, John le Mesurier

The Adventurers (1950)

Jack Hawkins and Dennis Price are part of the group in search of hidden diamonds in a post-Boer War South Africa. But greed and mistrust destroy them. 

This desperately wants to be The Treasure of the Sierra Madre but it doesn't even come close. The extensive location footage might as well have been shot in a Home Counties quarry and Siobhan McKenna is totally wasted as the woman torn between two of the group.

Script: Robert Westerby

Director: David Macdonald

Players: Peter Hammond, Gregoire Aslan, Siobhan McKenna, Bernard Lee, Ronald Adam, Charles Paton, Martin Boddey, Philip Ray, Walter Horsbrugh, Cyril Chamberlain

The Adventures of Jane (1949)

An artist's model is set up to be the innocent dupe of jewel smugglers.

Norman Pett's comic strip Jane ran in the Daily Mirror from 1932 to 1959. It featured the mishaps of a beautiful young lady whose scrapes and adventures frequently resulted in her ending up in her underwear. The strip was at the height of its popularity during the war years and the rumour spread that Jane would finally lose all her once the war was over. On VE Day, Pett obliged. His model for Jane, Christabel Leighton-Porter, became a celebrity and did nicely out of personal appearances. She also appeared as Jane in this film.

To call the plot simple-minded would be a complement. Jane, a model who makes personal appearances at theatres throughout the country, is given a bracelet by an admirer. Another admirer takes her out boating, but an accident means they have to be rescued by a cross channel ferry. This is a complicated ruse to replace the fake gems on her bracelet with real gems and evade customs. She is then kidnapped, but manages to tie a note to her pet dog's collar and send him off for help. The gang are rounded up and Jane is reunited with her sweetheart.

Of course, audiences of the day weren't attracted to the film for its plot but for the sight of Miss Leighton-Porter in her underwear and she doesn't disappoint. Whether changing in her dressing room or getting out of a train, somehow she ends up showing off her figure - and a very nice one it is too. Her acting is as basic as the plot and she lacks the spark to make much of her lines, but her authenticity makes up for it. She really does look like the drawings come to life.

The other actors hardly rise to the occasion. Peter Butterworth as a drunk makes an impression but the others sink without trace. As a film, The Adventures of Jane isn't up to much, but as a slice of nostalgia it has a certain awful charm.    

Script: Edward G Whiting, Alfred Goulding

Director: Edward G Whiting, Alfred Goulding

Players: Michael Hogarth, Ian Colin, Stanelli, Wally Patch, Sebastian Cabot, Sonya O'Shea, Sidney Benson, Charles Irwin, George Crawford, Joan Grindley

The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955)

Rousing version of the Scott novel, with slightly-too-old Robert Taylor surrounded by the cream of British actors to create one of the best swashbuckling films.

Script adapt.: Robert Ardrey, George Froeschel. (o.a. Sir Walter Scott)

Director: Richard Thorpe

Players: Kay Kendall, Robert Morley, Alec Clunes, Ernest Thesiger, Duncan Lamont, George Cole, Marius Goring, Laya Raki, Wilfrid Hyde White, Eric Pohlmann, Michael Goodliffe, Harcourt Williams, Nicholas Hannen, John Carson, Moultrie Kelsall, Frank Tickle, Bill Shine, Arthur Howard

The African Queen (1951)

Classic romantic adventure with Humphrey Bogart as the drunken skipper of a rotting river boat and Katherine Hepburn as the missionary spinster determined to destroy a German gunboat.

Poster for The African Queen

Script adapt.: John Huston, James Agee. (o.a. C.S. Forrester)

Director: John Huston

Players: Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Peter Swanswick, Richard Marner, Gerald Onn

Against the Wind (1948)

A bunch of spies are parachuted into war-time Belgium in order to rescue a colleague. But one of them is a traitor. It's got a solid script by T.E.B. Clarke and a great cast which includes Simone Signoret, Jack Warner and Gordon Jackson but director Charles Crichton doesn't pull off a classic.

Script: T.E.B. Clarke, Michael Pertwee, P. Vincent Carroll

Director: Charles Crichton

Players: Robert Beatty, Paul Dupuis, Gisele Preville, John Slater, Peter Illing, James Robertson Justice, Andre Morell, Olaf Olsen

Alf's Button Afloat (1938)

Six brothers are accidentally enlisted in the Marines. The discovery of part of Aladdin's Lamp, complete with genie, looks like their route out; but the genie causes more trouble than they can handle.

The Crazy Gang meet Alastair Sim: how can it possibly fail! Add in Britain's top comedy writers and director and you have a little piece of heaven for comedy film fans.

Still from Alf's Button Afloat

Script adapt.: Marriott Edgar, Val Guest. (o.a. W. A. Darlington)

Director: Marcel Varnel

Players: The Crazy Gang (Nervo and Knox, Flanagan and Allen, Naughton and Gold), Glennis Lorimer, Wally Patch, Peter Gawthorne, James Carney, Agnes Laughlin, Bruce Winston, Wilson Coleman, J.H. Roberts, B. John Slater

Alibi (1931)

Austin Trevor is Hercule Poirot investigating The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Interesting for Christie fans, but the novel's great coup can't be reproduced on screen.

Script adapt.: H. Fowler Mead. (o.a. Agatha Christie)

Director: Leslie Hiscott

Players: Elizabeth Allan, Franklin Dyall, J.H. Roberts, John Deverell, Mary Jerrold, Ronald Ward, Mercia Swinburne, Harvey Braban, Clare Greet, Diana Beaumont, Earle Gray

Alive and Kicking (1958)

On the run from an old folks home, Sybil Thorndike, Kathleen Harrison and Estelle Winwood take over some cottages from an absentee landlord (Stanley Holloway) on a remote Irish island. A tad Oirish but fun. Richard Harris' first film role.

Script adapt.: Denis Cannan (o.a. William Dinner, William Morum)

Director: Cyril Frankel

Players: Marjorie Rhodes, Joyce Carey

All for Mary (1955)

Jill Day has the title role and Nigel Patrick and David Tomlinson are her suitors in this minor comedy, notable only for Kathleen Harrison's presence in front of the camera and director Wendy Toye's behind it.

Script adapt.: Paul Soskin, Peter Blackmore, Alan Melville. (o.a. Harold Brock, Kay Bannerman)

Director: Wendy Toye

Players: Leo McKern, Joan Young, Lionel Jeffries, David Hurst, Nicholas Phipps, Paul Hardtmuth, Fabia Drake, Tommy Farr, Shirley Ann Field

An Alligator named Daisy (1955)

Donald Sinden has to look after an alligator and girlfriend Diana Dors isn't happy about it. Okay musical comedy.

Script adapt.: Jack Davies. (o.a. Charles Terrot)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Players: James Robertson Justice, Margaret Rutherford, Stanley Holloway, Roland Culver, Jean Carson, Stephen Boyd, Avice Landone, Richard Wattis, Henry Kendall, Michael Shepley, Charles Victor, Ernest Thesiger, Wilfrid Lawson, George Moon, Jimmy Edwards, Gilbert Harding, Frankie Howerd, Martin Miller, Colin Freer, Bill Shine, Harry Green, Maurice Kaufman, George Woodbridge, Patrick Cargill, Ronnie Stevens, Don Cameron, Arnold Bell, Charles Carson, Myrette Morven, Joan Young, John Vere

Angels One Five (1952)

John Gregson is the enthusiastic volunteer reserve pilot waiting for his big break but coming up against Jack Hawkins' more careful approach to regulations. It was a popular WWII film in its day but looks nothing special now.

Still from Angels One Five

Script: Derek Twist

Director: George More O'Farrell

Players: Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray, Veronica Hurst, Cyril Raymond, Andrew Osborn, Harold Goodwin, Geoffrey Keen, Harry Locke, Vida Hope, Amy Veness, Russell Hunter, Sam Kydd, Peter Jones, Marianne Stone, Harry Fowler, Victor Maddern

Animal Farm (1954)

Halas and Batchelor do Orwell with Maurice Denham supplying all the voices. If they'd hoped to rival Disney then they should have chosen a cheerier subject - even with a softened ending it's still a bit grim for kiddies. It's also aged worse than Disney; although as time goes by, and it looks more and more of a period piece, that's becoming an advantage.

Script adapt.: John Halas, Joy Batchelor, Lothar Wolff, Borden Mace, Philip Stapp. (o.a. George Orwell)

Directors: John Halas, Joy Batchelor

Anna Karenina (1948)

Vivien Leigh gets the title role and never looked lovelier. Ralph Richardson gives a great performance as the dull husband. Shame Kieron Moore is a lump as Vronsky, the man for whom Anna sacrifices everything. Shame too that director Julien Duvivier is unable to handle high emotion. Still, it's watchable and has the best production design money can buy.

Script adapt.: Julien Duvivier, Jean Anouilh, Guy Morgan. (o.a. Leo Tolstoy)

Director: Julien Duvivier

Players: Sally Ann Howes, Niall MacGinnis, Martita Hunt, Marie Lohr, Michael Gough, Heather Thatcher, John Longden, Michael Medwin

Another Shore (1948)

In Dublin a skiver dreams of a life on a South Sea island. His plan to get there involves standing on a busy street corner in the hope of rescuing a millionaire in the event of an accident.

Ealing Studios ran for over twenty five years and its major contribution to cinema is the Ealing Comedy. However, the films that are included in the Ealing Comedy category only represent a small proportion of the studio's comedy output and only cover a period of less than ten years. Another Shore's release falls in this period, but is still one of the films that get excluded from the category. Why is this? Maybe because it declares itself to be a tragi-comedy. Maybe because it's set in Ireland. Most likely because it's not very funny.

The lead is taken by Canadian Robert Beatty. He makes a fair stab at an Irish-ish accent, but he's still miscast. He would go on to have a decent career as two-fisted second leads in 50s B movies but the part of a fey dreamer is really beyond him.

Moira Lister plays the woman who disrupts his plan. She's beautiful, rich and unpredictable. Basically she's an early version of a character which is now known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Lister does her best but she's hampered by a script that gives her little to work on and a collection of some of the most hideous outfits ever inflicted on a star.

Stanley Holloway pops up as the millionaire who's clearly going to be at the heart of the film's resolution. He keeps things chirpy, though his character's an alcoholic which the script can't make funny enough to overcome the distasteful idea. He's joined by a collection of character actors to up the film's quota of Oirish whimsy. Though these sort of characters seem compulsory in any film set in Ireland, this lot aren't too annoying and provide a welcome relief from the plot.

The film's chief interest these days is the location shooting which gives us a rare glimpse of 40s Dublin. It's not notably less drab than Austerity Britain, but at least there's no rationing in evidence so there's plenty of food and booze.

Another Shore is not without its charms, but they are too few to make watching it a rewarding experience. And that's why it's not an Ealing Comedy.

Script adapt.: Walter Meade. (o.a. Kenneth Reddin)

Director: Charles Crichton

Players: Michael Medwin, Maureen Delany, Fred O'Donovan, Sheila Manahan, Desmond Keane, Dermot Kelly, Michael Golden, W.A. Kelley, Wilfrid Brambell, Irene Worth, Bill Shine, Edie Martin, Michael Dolon, Michael O'Mahoney, Madame Kirkwood Hackett