Archive Y

Yangtse Incident (1957)

True story of how HMS Amethyst escaped from the Chinese revolution in 1949. The story is fascinating but the film far too long.

Script adapt.: Eric Ambler. (o.a. Laurence Earl)

Director: Michael Anderson

Players: Richard Todd, William Hartnell, Akim Tamiroff, Donald Houston, Keye Luke, Sophie Stewart, Robert Urquhart, James Kenney, Richard Leech, Michael Brill, Barry Foster, Thomas Heathcote, Sam Kydd, Ewan Solon, Ian Bannen, Bernard Cribbins, Kenneth Cope, Kenneth Cope, Alfred Burke, Cyril Luckham

A Yank in Ermine (1955)

American Peter Thompson becomes an Earl. Poor fish-out-of-water comedy with only a few glimpses of the usual British stalwarts to lighten the gloom.

Script adapt.: (o.a.) John Paddy Carstairs

Director: John Paddy Carstairs

Players: Guy Middleton, Noelle Middleton, Diana Decker, Harold Lloyd Jr, Jon Pertwee, Edward Chapman, Richard Wattis, Reginald Beckwith, Jennifer Jayne, Sidney James, Harry Locke, George Woodbridge, John MacLaren

The Years Between (1946)

With her MP husband declared dead in the war, a woman rebuilds her life - even taking his seat in the House of Commons. Then he returns. 

Daphne du Maurier's play was a big hit in 1944, anticipating as it did the advent of peace and the difficulties that would arise with the return of soldiers to civilian life. The film was produced post-war so was able to more accurately depict the events around VE.

The Years Between is very much of the stiff-upper-lip school of drama. Although the issue of post-war adjustment would strike a chord with many a cinemagoer, the family depicted here are hardly typical. They have an estate, several servants, Flora Robson as a nanny, and are well-connected in politics. When thoughts turn to what Valerie Hobson is going to do now that she no longer has a husband to tend to, there's no thought given to putting her into a munitions factory or serving snook in a communal British Restaurant. She may be surprised by the suggestion she stands for her husband's old seat but, let's face it, she was never going to do much else.

Hobson dominates the film though, because she's unable to portray a slightly-downtrodden housewife at the start, her transformation into a political activist is unconvincing. Most of the heavy lifting here is done by the costume designer Dorothy Sinclair subtly sharpening up Hobson's image as her career progresses. Indeed Hobson's vast array of clothes was probably one of the chief pleasures for the film's target audience.

Michael Redgrave as the husband turns up properly around half way through the film. To be honest, he doesn't make much of an impact. He seems baffled and rather depressed, and is unable to express the coldness of his pre-war character. Clive Brook played the part on stage and he could do cold and distant standing on his head. Redgrave however has an innate gentleness that makes it difficult to believe he could be so thoughtless.

In the translation of the piece from stage to screen there was clearly a decision made to have a happy ending to reinforce the country's return to the status quo. So Hobson's stand-in love interest is played by James McKechnie who was clearly not going to be participating in the fade-out clinch with her. The other change is the larger emphasis on political movement. This partly aligns with the Box's political leanings and also with the audience's shift towards Labour's view on reconstruction.

Script adapt.: Muriel Box, Sydney Box. (o.a. Daphne du Maurier)

Director: Compton Bennett

Players: Valerie Hobson, Michael Redgrave, Flora Robson, Felix Aylmer, Dulcie Gray, Edward Rigby, James McKechnie, John Gilpin, Yvonne Owen, Wylie Watson, Esma Cannon, Muriel George, Ernest Butcher, Lyn Evans, Joss Ambler, Katie Johnson, Maxwell Reed, Michael Horden, Gwen Clark

The Yellow Balloon (1952)

Andrew Ray is the child blackmailed into helping a robber after a fight over the titular balloon ends in a friend's death. Kenneth More is the dad, taking another step closer to movie stardom. It's good, but soon fades from the memory.

Script: Anne Burnaby, J. Lee Thompson

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Players: Kathleen Ryan, William Sylvester, Bernard Lee, Hy Hazell, Veronica Hurst, Sandra Dorne, Campbell Singer, Sidney James, Marjorie Rhodes, Eliot Makeham, Peter Jones

The Yellow Canary (1943)

Under-rated spy story. Anna Neagle is the posh German-sympathiser forced to go to Canada for her own safety. Really she's working undercover to expose a plot to blow up Halifax harbour. Of course we knew it all along, but Miss Neagle does a grand job of half-convincing us that maybe she is a Nazi. In British films of the period it is usually the posh person who turns out to be the Quisling, but this is about the only film to examine the sympathy the upper-classes had for Hitler. It's also a cracking thriller and very atmospheric in its recreation of wartime conditions.

Still from The Yellow Canary 

Script: Miles Malleson, DeWitt Bodeen

Director: Herbert Wilcox

Players: Richard Greene, Lucie Mannheim, Albert Lieven, Nova Pilbeam, Margaret Rutherford, Cyril Fletcher, Marjorie Fielding, Aubrey Mallalieu, Eliot Makeham, Ian Fleming, Valentine Dyall, Leslie Dwyer

Yield to the Night (1956)

Diana Dors gives her best dramatic performance as the Ruth Ellis figure waiting to be hanged and recalling what lead her to kill.

Poster for Yield to the Night

Script adapt.: John Cresswell, (o.a.) Joan Henry

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Players: Michael Craig, Yvonne Mitchell, Geoffrey Keen, Olga Lindo, Michael Ripper, Marianne Stone, Dandy Nichols, Shirley Ann Field

You Can't Escape (1955)

When a man accidentally kills his old girlfriend, he enlists the helps of his new one to hide the body.

Dull thriller which struggles to decide whether we're more interested in his dilemma or hers and ends up not getting us interested in either. 

Script adapt.: Doreen Montgomery. (o.a. Alan Kennington)

Director: Wilfred Eades

Players: Robert Urquhart, Guy Rolfe, Noelle Middleton, Peter Reynolds, Martin Boddey, Elizabeth Kentish, Barbara Cavan, Thorley Walters, Jacqueline Mackenzie, Llewellyn Rees, Paddy Brannigan, Hal Osmond, Sam Kydd, Barbara Leake, Oliver Johnson, Wensley Pithey, Edward Forsyth, Alec Finter, Walter Horsburgh, Gerald Andseren

You Know What Sailors Are (1954)

Lieutenant Donald Sinden's drunken practical joke gets mistaken for a secret weapon. Totally daft Cold War comedy.

Script adapt.: Peter Rogers. (o.a. Edward Hyams)

Director: Ken Annakin

Players: Sarah Lawson, Akim Tamiroff, Naunton Wayne, Bill Kerr, Dora Bryan, Martin Miller, Michael Shepley, Ferdy Maine, Michael Horden, Peter Arne, Bryan Coleman, Peter Martyn, Shirley Lorrimer, Cyril Chamberlain, Marianne Stone, Shirley Eaton, Lisa Gastoni

You Made Me Love You (1933)

A songwriter finds his "muse" in a traffic jam and determines to marry her. Her family are more than happy to get her off their hands and conspire with him to con her into the marriage. But now he has to find a way woo her properly.

Basically a cuddly version of Taming of the Shrew with Thelma Todd giving it all she's got as the shrew.

Script: Frank Launder

Director: Monty Banks

Players: Stanley Lupino, Thelma Todd, John Loder, Gerald Rawlinson, James Carew, Charles Mortimer, Hugh E Wright, Charlotte Parry, Arthur Rigby Jr, Syd Crossley, Monty Banks

You Pay Your Money (1957)

Silly and cheap tale of smugglers. The contraband in question are rare books which makes a change from gems or drugs but doesn't exactly up the excitement quota.

Script adapt.: Maclean Rogers. (o.a. Michael Cronin)

Director: Maclean Rogers

Players: Honor Blackman, Hugh McDermott, Jane Hylton, Ivan Samson, Ferdy Mayne, Hugh Moxey, Shirley Dean, Gerard Heinz, Basil Dignam

Young and Innocent (1937)

Young man goes on the run after being unjustly accused of murder and is helped by a beautiful blond woman.

Charming performances from Nova Pilbeam and Derrick de Marney enhance one of Hitchcock's most endearing films. There are lots of typical Hitch sequences, but the most famous is the camera glide through a crowded dance hall to pick out the murderer's twitching eye.

Script adapt.: Charles Bennett, Alma Reville, Antony Armstrong, Edwin Greenwood, Gerald Savory. (o.a. Josephine Tey)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Players: Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby, George Curzon, Mary Clare, John Longden, Basil Longden, Basil Radford, George Merritt, J.H. Roberts, Jerry Verno, H.F. Maltby, Pamela Carme, Torin Thatcher, Frederick Piper

The Young Lovers (1954)

An American and an Eastern European meet in London and fall in love. But the forces of the Cold War try to drive them apart.

It's Romeo and Juliet with a 50s twist, and as such works very nicely.

Script: Robin Estridge, George Tabori

Director: Anthony Asquith

Players: David Knight, Odile Versois, David Kossoff, Joseph Tomelty, Paul Carpenter, Theodore Bikel, Jill Adams, John McClaren, Betty Marsden, Peter Illing, Peter Dyneley, Bernard Rebel

Young Man's Fancy (1939)

1870, and the marriage between a duke's son and the daughter of a wealthy brewer is about to be announced. Except nobody's remembered to inform the groom. When he's finally told, his only way out is to try to create a scandal by going to Paris with a pretty young music hall performer.  

Young Man's Fancy is a jolly little romantic comedy which didn't make a massive impact on release and has rather faded from popular memory since. Maybe that's because it doesn't feature the right stars, or maybe it's the setting that's the problem. With Europe on the brink of war, setting a fluffy comedy during the Siege of Paris might have been a mistake.  

Griffith Jones and Anna Lee do well as the young leads, but the real glory of Young Man's Fancy is the teaming of Seymour Hicks and Martita Hunt as Jones' parents. Hicks is a bumbling old duffer with a fondness for drink and the naughtier end of the music hall scene, while Hunt is his duchess: a woman who could give Queen Victoria lessons in how not to be amused.

Money was clearly spent on this production to give as much Hollywood gloss as possible. Lee and Jones never looked more lovely, and Lee's costumes are a wonder (take a bow Molly Nicholson). The sets are more Art Deco than Victoriana and there's certainly not the grubby, grimy view of the era that would become fashionable from Great Expectations onward. Glamour is all here.

The film's recent release on DVD gives us a chance to finally catch up with its charms. It's well worth doing.

Script: Roland Pertwee

Director: Robert Stevenson

Players: Billy Bennett, Edward Rigby, Francis L Sullivan, Meriel Forbes, Felix Aylmer, Aimos, Phyllis Monkman, Morton Selten, George Carney, Violet Vanbrugh, Athene Seyler, Irene Eisinger, Allan Aynesworth, Peter Bull, Aubrey Dexter, Harry Terry

The Young Mr Pitt (1941)

Robert Donat plays our youngest Prime Minister in this patriotic morale booster.

Script: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat, Viscount Castlerosse

Director: Carol Reed

Players: Phyllis Calvert, Robert Morley, Raymond Lovell, John Mills, Max Adrian, Felix Aylmer, Albert Lieven, Stephen Haggard, Geoffrey Atkins, Jean Cadell, Agnes Laughlin, Ian MacLean, A. Bromley Davenport, John Salew, Kathleen Byron, Frank Pettingell, Jack Watling, Ronald Shiner, John Slater, Leslie Dwyer, Frederick Leister, Esma Cannon, Merle Tottenham, Aubrey Mallalieu, Margaret Vyner, Austin Trevor, Leo Genn, James Harcourt, Muriel George, Kynaston Reeves, Alf Goddard, Frederick Valk, Esme Percy, 

Young Wives' Tale (1951)

Stage farce about two couples sharing a house. It doesn't have the precision of a theatre performance but it does have Joan Greenwood and Audrey Hepburn and that should be enough for anyone.

Script adapt.: Anne Burnaby. (o.a. Ronald Jeans)

Director: Henry Cass

Players: Helen Cherry, Nigel Patrick, Derek Farr, Guy Middleton, Athene Seyler, Fabia Drake, Irene Handl, Joan Sanderson

Young Woodley (1928)

A sensitive public schoolboy falls in love with his headmaster's wife.

The film was unreleased due to the upheaval of the coming of talkies and its controversial subject matter, but it now emerges as an engaging tale. The public school ethos now seems laughable even to those who went to one, but the quality of the performances and direction lift the film and it shows that Bentley was capable of more than just Dickens adaptations.

Script: Thomas Bentley. (o.a. John Van Druten)

Director: Thomas Bentley

Players: Robin Irvine, Marjorie Hume, Gerald Rawlinson, Sam Livesey, Tom Helmore, Dorothy Black

Your Money or Your Wife (1959)

Newlyweds discover a will makes them rich if they divorce.

Would-be farce that doesn't work on any level. A title in search of a script.

Script: Ronald Jeans

Director: Anthony Simmons

Players: Peggy Cummins, Donald Sinden, Richard Wattis, Peter Reynolds, Georgina Cookson, Barbara Steele, Gladys Boot, Betty Buskcomb, Olive Sloane, Ian Fleming, Candy Scott, Noel Trevarthen

Your Witness (1950)

An American lawyer comes to Britain to help a old comrade on trial for murder and find a witness who can prove his innocence.

Robert Montgomery's last film appearance (which he also directed) is pretty average when it comes to the whodunit element, but bags of fun when it comes to the depiction of a stuffy English courtroom.

Script: Hugo Butler, Ian Hunter, William Douglas Home

Director: Robert Montgomery

Players: Robert Montgomery, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer, Michael Ripper, Andrew Cruickshank, Patricia Wayne (Cutts), Harcourt Williams, Jenny Laird, Ann Stephens, Wylie Watson, Noel Howlett, James Hayter, Shelagh Fraser, Philip Dale, Hal Osmond, Lyonel Watts, Derrick Penley, Erik Chitty, Ruth Lee, Stanley Baker, Richard Wattis, John Sharp