By GRACE CONWAY BANG ! YOU'RE DEAD! Gaumont : Certificate A Director : Lance Comfort p-OR once the child actors don't steal the picture.
Jack Warner, who plays the adult lead has nothing to fear from competition either of. nine-year-old Anthony Richmond or the older Scan Barrett, who has been directed with nothing like the cunning that made those two Scots boys in "The Kidnappers" such a cinematic sensation.
Perhaps that accounts for the lack of excitement in what should have been a very exciting picture. The basic idea, that children and firearms don't mix, is good. The setting is an untidy dump left over from the war -a collection of Nissen huts which, with all the discarded paraphernalia, has been taken over by squatters.
The men work on the adjoining forest land. The children seem to run wild. There is no hint of a school.
The younger boy finds a discarded
revolver. He is obsessed with firearm's. He likes to point them at people and say -Bang! You're Dead!" He does this with his new find and the man he points it at drops dead.
Suspicion falls on one of the forest workers (Michael Ivl edwin) and things look very black for him until the dead man's missing watch is found in the child's hideout.
Altogether a rather depressing picture of a certain aspect of rural England—an England left untidy by the aftermath of war, where the children (although we arc only concerned with two of them) are left to their own devices and seem to be heirs only to lethal weapons and lethal American songs.
These songs we hear through the film played on a gramophone which the older boy has found on one of the dumps and which he totes through the woods all day and every day.
While pace and impetus are lacking, the setting in which the little drama is unfolded is sharply etched, Not easy to forget is the drab interior of the tin hut, the general air of dilapidation.
In fact, I can see this getting a warm welcome on the other side of the Iron Curtain as an example of life in a capitalist country.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS Gaumont: Certificate A Director: Guy Hamilton
T. B. PRIESTLEY shakes an J admonitory finger at hypocrisy, self-bluff and social injustice in what is practically a morality play—now photographed with such efficiency that its lack of cinema quality may be forgiven. There is also the Priestley obsession with "timespace." The Inspector is, in a way, an emanation.
It is faecinating to watch the disintegration of the personal facades of each of the five characters under the probing of the Inspector.
A celebration dinner has ended in the home of prosperous Arthur Birling (Arthur Young). His daughter (Eileen Moore) has just become engaged to Gerald Croft, heir to a barony. Into the warm air of wealth and complacency cornea a chill draught. A police inspector (Alistair Sim) is announced. He has come to ask which of the company know anything about a young girl who has just died of poison in the local hospital. One by one each is compelled by the Inspector to disclose his or her implication in the girl's misfortune and death.
But this is no conventional morality tale. Venal human nature is not transformed by humiliation and Priestley has no easy solution to offer. Just as at least some of the characters are becoming s el f righteous and unctuous again, he lets us see that their ordeal is only just beginning.
Alistair Sim looms gauntly at each culprit in turn, forcing out their confessions. His toughest proposition is the mother, whom Olga Lindo portrays as a well-fed, well-upholstered, Edwardian horror.
Jane Wenham is the wistful victim —big eyed and a bit negative. Bryan Forbes as the son takes his slender chance to show us he can put over a bit of comedy. Brian Worth as the heir to the barony more than suggests the makings of a future Michael Wilding.
JUBILEE TRAIL Dominion: Certificate A Director: Joseph Inman Kane
ASPRAWLING, brassy and rather shapeless Western which, we are told, has been based on a best-seller.
Vera Ralston as a tough gal is somewhat overpowering. Joan Leslie, with her shy-violet personality, has obviously been chosen as a foil. I wept to see our dear old Pat O'Brien having to play the part of a most unpleasantly drunken doctor. He deserves better than that.