Archive D

Doctor at Large (1957)

Number three in the series finds Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) leaving St Swithins in a huff and trying his hand at being a country G.P. There's still life in the series but Bogarde looks like he'd rather be elsewhere.

Script adapt.: Nicholas Phipps, (o.a.) Richard Gordon

Director: Ralph Thomas

Players: Muriel Pavlow, Donald Sinden, James Robertson Justice, Derek Farr, Michael Medwin, Shirley Eaton, Edward Chapman, George Coulouris, Gladys Henson, Anne Heywood, Lionel Jeffries, Mervyn Johns, Geoffrey Keen, Dilys Laye, A.E. Matthews, Guy Middleton, Barbara Murrey, Nicholas Phipps, Frederick Piper, Athene Seyler, Ernest Thesiger, Cyril Chamberlain, John Chandos, Peggy Ann Clifford, Judith Furse, Harry Locke, Terence Longden, Donald Pickering

Doctor at Sea (1955)

Number 2 in the series and because Dirk Bogarde qualified at the end of the first one they have to find him a job. So he's a doctor on a cruise liner and since the real star of the series, James Robertson Justice, was still supposed to be teaching at St Swithins they make the ship's captain the brother of the original tyrant and let James Robertson Justice play him. Muriel Pavlow didn't get on board as the love interest for this outing but Brigitte Bardot did. Fair swap.

Script adapt.: Nicholas Phipps, Jack Davies, (o.a.) Richard Gordon

Director: Ralph Thomas

Players: Brenda de Banzie, Maurice Denham, Michael Medwin, Geoffrey Keen, Raymond Huntley, Joan Sims, George Coulouris, Joan Hickson

Doctor in the House (1954)

Medical students get involved in comic capers in one of Britain's all-time great box office hits. Packed with the cream of British comedy talent and largely a star vehicle for Dirk Bogarde, the film is stolen by the monstrous James Robertson Justice. Make sure you know what the bleeding time is! 

Script adapt.: Nicholas Phipps, (o.a.) Richard Gordon

Director: Ralph Thomas

Players: Kenneth More, Donald Sinden, Donald Houston, Muriel Pavlow, Kay Kendall, Suzanne Cloutier, Geoffrey Keen, George Coulouris, Jean Taylor-Smith, Harry Locke, Ann Gudrun, Joan Sims, Shirley Eaton, Nicholas Phipps, Amy Veness, Richard Wattis, Joan Hickson, Cyril Chamberlain, Ernest Clark, Eliot Makeham, Wyndham Goldie, Mona Washbourne

Dr Syn (1937)

The harmless old vicar of Dymchurch is really the leader of a gang of smugglers and the former pirate Captain Clegg. When the revenue men come looking for smugglers they bring with them a mute madman who can identify the Captain and who is out for revenge.

Russell Thorndyke's popular novel has been filmed twice since this version but neither was a patch on this jolly romp. It's now very faded around the edges but it still works well.

The star in the title role is George Arliss in his last film. His was a strange career. For a brief period in the early talkies he was considered to be the greatest cinema actor of his generation. He even got an Oscar in 1929 for portraying Disraeli. Now it's difficult to see why. To modern audiences he looks like a big ham, and by this stage in his career that opinion was beginning to hold sway. Still, he makes a fair stab at the role and is quite good at the sentimental old duffer business which was always his stock in trade. He's less credible as a swashbuckler, even a retired swashbuckler, but then he was pushing seventy at the time.

The pretty ingénue who turns out to be his daughter is Margaret Lockwood. She doesn't make much of an impact because she has little to do except look fetching (see photo). Her love scenes with John Loder never spark, but then no love scene with John Loder in it ever did spark. Despite the lack of impact, making this film was good for Lockwood since Gainsborough picked up her contract during the filming and her career was about to rocket.

The player who makes most of a mark is Graham Moffat, who is great fun as the lad whose ambition is to become a hangman. The other players are adequate without being memorable.

Though the film shows its age, it's still worth watching. With its tale of an old man's last hurrah, it's a fitting end to the career of George Arliss.

Photo of Margaret Lockwood in costume for Dr Syn Still from Dr Syn Still from Dr Syn

Script adapt.: Michael Hogan, Roger Burford. (o.a. Russell Thorndike)

Director: Roy William Neill

Players: Roy Emerton, Frederick Burtwell, George Merritt, Athole Stewart, Wally Patch, Meinhart Maur, Muriel George, Wilson Coleman

Don't Take It to Heart (1944)

A bomb uncovers some ancient records (and a ghost). Visiting lawyer Richard Greene falls for the local lord's daughter. One of those strange wartime films that gently mock the traditions we were supposed to be fighting for. It doesn't really come off as much more than a dry run for the Ealing comedies but the music (by Mischa Spoliansky) is interesting.

Script: Jeffrey Dell

Director: Jeffrey Dell

Players: Patricia Medina, Alfred Drayton, Richard Bird, Edward Rigby, Wylie Watson, Moore Marriott, Brefni O'Rorke, Joan Hickson, Ronald Squire, Ernest Thesiger, Esma Cannon, Harry Fowler, Edie Martin

Doss House (1933)

A policeman and a reporter go undercover for an night in a doss house.

John Baxter's second film was one of his biggest hits.

Script: Herbert Ayres

Director: John Baxter

Players: Arnold Bell, Herbert Franklyn, frank Cellier, Mark Daly, Edgar Driver, J. Hubert Leslie, Wilson Coleman, Robert MacLachlan

Down Among the Z Men (1952)

Grocer gets involved with secret agents.

The only feature length spin-off from the phenomenally successful radio show The Goons is a bit of a disappointment now. But this is largely due to its being made before the show had hit the peak of lunacy with which we are now familiar.

Script: Jimmy Grafton, Francis Charles

Director: Maclean Rogers

Players: Harry Secombe, Peter Sellars, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine, Carole Carr, Robert Cawdron, Graham Stark, Andrew Timothy, Elizabeth Kearns, Miriam Karlin, Eunice Gayson, Jane Morrison, The Television Toppers, Richard Turner, Judy Horton, Adrienne Scott

Downhill (1927)

Ivor Novello is the schoolboy (oh yeah!) who takes the rap for a friend's misdemeanours and starts on the road to ruin. There's a lot to be said in favour of this film (good performances, meticulous production design and a real flavour of how life was in the twenties) but the melodramatic story raises giggles in modern audiences.

Script adapt.: Eliot Stannard. (o.a. Ivor Novello, Constance Collier)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Players: Ben Webster, Robin Irvine, Sybil Rhoda, Lillian Braithwaite, Hannah Jones, Violet Fairbrother, Isabel Jeans, Norman McKinnel, Jerrold Robertshaw, Annette Benson, Ian Hunter, Barbara Gott, Alfred Goddard

Dracula (1958)

Instead of destroying the ancient curse, a vampire hunter unleashes it on his family and friends.

First-rate re-imagining of the tale with loads of blood and sex (well, as much as the 50s would allow).

Poster for Dracula

Script adapt.: Jimmy Sangster (o.a. Bram Stoker)

Director: Terence Fisher

Players: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Carol Marsh, Melissa Stribling, Michael Gough, John Van Eyssen, Olga Dickie, Valerie Gaunt, Geoffrey Bayldon, Paul Cole, Miles Malleson, Charles Lloyd Pack, Janina Faye, George Woodbridge, Barbara Archer, George Benson, Guy Miles, George Merritt, William Sherwood, James Mossman, Stedwell Fletcher, Judith Nelmes, Humphrey Kent, Dick Morgan

The Drum (1938)

Sabu gets star billing and the full Korda Technicolor treatment in this tale of an Indian Prince who learns to love the British Empire.

Poster of The Drum

Script adapt.: Arthur Wimperis, Patrick Kirwan, Hugh Grey, Lajos Biro. (o.a. A.E.W. Mason)

Director: Zoltan Korda

Players: Raymond Massey, Valerie Hobson, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester, Francis L. Sullivan, David Tree, Martin Walker, Roy Emerton, Alf Goddard, Ronald Adam, Leo Genn, Guy Rolfe

Dry Rot (1956)

Three bungling bookmakers try to fix a horse race.

This successful stage farce doesn't make the transfer to the screen well, but the cast work hard.

Script adapt.: (o.a.) John Chapman

Director: Maurice Elvey

Players: Ronald Shiner, Brian Rix, Sidney James, Peggy Mount, Heather Sears, lee Patterson, Joan Sims, Michael Shepley, Joan Haythorne, John Chapman, Joan Benham, Christian Duvaleix, Miles Malleson, Raymond Glendenning, Shirley Ann Field

The Duke Wore Jeans (1958)

Tommy Steele has a double role as a toff and his cockney doppelganger. The toff has been fixed up with princess June Laverick but is already married. Enter the cockney to aid in a little deception.

Script: Norman Hudis.

Director: Gerald Thomas

Players: Michael Medwin, Eric Pohlmann, Alan Wheatley, Mary Kerridge, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Clive Moreton, Noel Hood

Dunkirk (1958)

An all-star cast re-enact the great retreat. The reconstruction is careful, probably too careful to allow any real drama to get in.

Script adapt.: W.P. Lipscomb, David Divine. (o.a. from books by Ewan Butler and Selby Bradford, and Elleston Trevor)

Director: Leslie Norman

Players: John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Bernard Lee, Patricia Plunkett, Maxine Audley, Robert Urquhart, Ronald Hines, Sean Barrett, Roland Curran, Meredith Edwards, Eddie Byrne, Lionel Jeffries, Victor Maddern, Flanagan and Allen, Kenneth Cope, Frederick Piper 

Dusty Ermine (1936)

Forger tries to go straight is the basis of this thriller from director Bernard Vorhaus. Using his half-way decent budget, Vorhaus got in some Alpine location shooting so this looks better than many quota films. The action is fine, the drama less so. It stars Ronald Squire, Anthony Bushell and Jane Baxter but the real interest today lies in Margaret Rutherford's debut performance.

Script adapt.: L. duGarde Peach, Michael Hankinson, Arthur Macrae, Paul Harvey Fox. (o.a. Neil Grant)

Director: Bernard Vorhaus

Players: Athole Stewart, Austin Trevor, Arthur Macrae, Katie Johnson, Felix Aylmer, Hal Gordon, Davina Craig

D'Ye Ken John Peel (1934)

John Garrick has the title role as the Major who watches a cad get the girl he loves, but the film is firmly stolen by Stanley Holloway. He gets to do Sam, Pick Up Thy Musket  and other classic monologues in this musical drama set in 1815. Not a great film perhaps, but fascinating none the less.

Script: H. Fowler Mear

Director: Henry Edwards

Players: Winifred Shotter, John Stuart, Leslie Perrins, Mary Lawson, Morris Harvey, Charles Carson, Wilfred Caithness