THE NEW FILMS BY GRACE CONWAY
THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS Certificate U : Carlton Director : Ronald Neame.
ONCE upon a time the idea of using a dead body carrying papers that would mislead the enemy would have been regarded as macabre and ghoulish. But nowadays, when a noble priest bequeaths his eyes to help save the sight of a child and when all types of folk bequeath their bodies to hospitals for research, it doesn't seem so shocking.
What is a bit disconcert ing here is the contacting of nursing homes and hospitals for lists of dying men — prospective corpses — who will fill the bill. Anyway, it shook me.
It was the Hon. Ewen Montagu,
C.B.E., Q.C. Commander Montagu as he was in 1943 — who conceived the plan to have a corpse washed up on the Spanish shore bearing a batch of faked papers suggesting that the Allied invasion, which the Germans knew was imminent, was to be made through Greece and not Sicily. The film is founded on the commander's book, in which he gives a factual account of the whole operation and its result.
Clifton Webb was brought over from Hollywood to play the part of Commander Montagu and he gives one of his well-poised, wellcontrolled interpretations. Our own Robert Flemyng is his " aide " and I must say it is interesting to see these two big names of the entertainment world giving not an inch to the other in acting honours.
As the action proceeds we meet the British War Cabinet, Sir Bernard Spilsbury, an Irish agent working for Germany (an incisive portrait this by Stephen Boyd), our old friend Cyril Cusack as a link in the shape of an Irish taxi driver, and a huge network of characters who are concerned one way or another in the grim drama as it goes forward.
Superbly acted, brilliantly directed, its action taut and tailored, " The Man Who Never Was " is yet another example of British
film making at its hest.
Oh, and I nearly forgot the two ladies who get their names in the credits. American Gloria Grahame exploiting her own peculiar brand of attractive sulkiness, and sweet, forthright Josephine Griffin, as the sort of girl who made coffee, braved the bombs, knew all the secrets of British Intelligence — and never told a soul.
THE LIGHT ACROSS THE STREET Certificate X : Cameo Poly Director : Georges Lacombe.
ONCE again we have Raymond Pellegrin as the tormented, frustrated man who sees his wife in name only (Brigitte Bardot) being wooed and won by the handsome man in the garage opposite. And once again the full force of French film acting and directorial genius are concentrated on their pet subject of tangled personal relationships.
M. Pellegrin plays the part of a lorry driver who is so seriously injured in an accident that he is forbidden any kind of normal life. But his physical courage, which made him risk his life in order to save others, is not matched by his moral endurance — and the end is tragedy.
Director : John Brehm. CHRISTOPHER BEAN Director : Lewis Allen.
WERE is a new departure from 1 I the old double full-length feature programme which you will be experiencing in your cinemas soon.
Both these films are re-makes of famous old ones abridged to last 40 minutes and originally shown on American TV. 20th Century-Fox aim to run them in the same programmes with their big CinemaScope features, and it will be interesting to see how the public like them. For my part, I am all in favour of the second and often indifferent film being cut out and these " digests " taking their place.
More successful of the two is "Christopher Bean", with Thelma Ritter playing the part of the servant girl who befriended the famous painter and lived to see his posthumous fame. Laura, I feel, lacked the allure and atmosphere of the original : remember Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb in the leads?
COME NEXT SPRING Certificate U : On Release Director : R.G. Springsteen.
Apleasant, unambitious but appealing picture of life down on the farm in Arkansas, in which Steve Cochran appears as an errant husband who gives up drink and tries to win back the love of his wife (Ann Sheridan) and to get to know his two children again. A neat bit of drama