Out of the frying-pan . .
Certificate A: Leicester Square Theatre Director: Guy Green
WHEN an assorted company became airborne in a crazy seaplane held together with string. I thought: Here we go again—the mixture as before, And so it was; but after the usual houha on board --lights being fused, intercom broken down, a hurricane looming, fire and the first flashes of love between a prisoner (Eddie Constantine) and the stewardess (Pier Angeli) the plane comes down in the sea and the passengers and crew wade ashore.
This is very touch from the frying pan into something worse an island in the Pacific all geared for an H-bomb to drop on it any minute. This makes the pilot
Looks at the Films (John Gregson) more morose and grumpy than he has been so far-and good reason. He was on the plane that bombed Hiroshima and he is still haunted by what he saw.
One of the best performances is by the American actor who is permanently based on France—Eddie Constantine. He is the tough skipper of a boat which has been
getting the attention of the police because of smuggling. So far we have seen him in rather more flippant roles, but this gives him a lot more scope. Ile takes control of the crazy plane when the copilot is killed and the pilot knocked out.
Richard Attenborough, who here is rather like a youthful Charles Laughton, presents an intense hit mf beachcomhery-skullduggery in the part of a layabout of the docks who would sell his own grandmother for fourpence. The final duel is 'fought out between him and the skipper amid the intricate ironwork of the bomb's launching platform.
George Auric's orchestration is good but often intrusive. 1 think. it's time composers thought out some sort of effect music for the screen—on the lines of the "Song of the Machines".
THE NAVY LARK Certificate U: Carlton Director: Gordon Parry THE diminishing but always stalwart section of the British public who still listen to sound radio and who love the Archers and • Mrs. Dale also love "The
Navy Lark ". Now Herbert Wilcox has put the " lark " into one of his low-budget black-andwhite under-an-hour-and-a-half features with considerable success.
The scatty crew of H,M.S. Compton is based on a fictitious island off Portsmouth--a left-over from the war. They are to all intents and purposes—and for all the Admiralty know—engaged on clearing up the remnants of a minefield. The happy truth is that there is only one mine called " Bessie" which has long ago been dismantled but which is called into service whenever an inspection from the Admiralty is due.
No need to say anything more, except that everything out of the genial routine of life on the island is a challenge to the resourceful members of the outfit—and when all else fails a revolution is staged by the French " on the island who want " Home Rule ".
Ronald Shiner, Cecil Parker, Leslie Phillips—they are all there working as one man to keep their jobs safe from the quite unwarrantable interference from the chairborne nosey-parkers in London, W.I.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Director: Siri Trnka
(London Film Festival—National Film Theatre) LONDON is having a film festival
—at the National Theatre, sponsored by the British Film Institute. Czechoslovakia has sent this one — a fascinating affair played by puppets and made by the man who is famous for his puppet theatre in that country.
The commentary is freely adapted from the original—and a bit trite, as spoken in English— but these puppets do a wonderful job of continuity, from the fairies and the Duke to Bottom and company. And, of course, the night world of the forest is a gift to the director who has a grand time with dancing lights and will o' the wisps.
Not to be seen in the ordinary cinemas yet but scheduled for later booking.
FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT
MISS JOAN MORRIS, who has ' recently returned to this country after 12 years in the United State4, has brought with her several of her own films, and the first of these—" Fight for the Right "has been shown to St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance.
The " fight" of the title is that waged by Dr. Agnes McLaren, one of the first woman who was allowed to practise medicine in this country. She founded St. Catherine's Hospital in Rawalpindi—and it was this hospital which led to the foundation of the Medical Mission Sisters by the famous Mother Anna Dengel, M.D.
The film is the result of a good deal of research by Miss Morris, and has some beautifully coloured reproductions of old prints—pinpointing .the London of the early 19th century (Dr. McLaren was born in 1837) and the social occasions of the time--her work for women's suffrage and her conversion to the Catholic Church.
It is quite amazing that a large area of history Miss Morris's film covers as she traces the influences that came to bear on this remarkable woman.