E 'ON W Al
The Airborne Gremlins Are Still At It
1-4 Lucrezia Borgia: I 'The Brute': Maria Schell: The Return minninnio of Anouk
THE NIGHT MY NUMBER CAME UP Certificate U: Leicester Square Theatre Director: Leslie Norman
T I'S one of the paradoxes of
contemporary life that modern science in all its imperial progress can't lay ghosts, fairies, luck (good and bad). dreams, omens, and what the stars foretell.
We all know the had little gremlins that used to take off with the boys of the R.A.F. in their streamlined fighters and bombers. Human nature is obstinate in refusing to be rationalistic about such things and Ealing, at the top of its form, has had the courage to make a film about it.
An apparently blase, monosyllabic, diffident naval cornmender (well. let's call him a typical British officer) has a dream about an air crash. So vivid is it that when his dream comes true he calls on the authorities at Hong Kong airport and indicates—ever so casually -the spot where they might send their search party.
Unfortunately. at a party the night before be has related his dream. amid the sceptical smiles and polite snorts of derision of some of the prospective passengers. The Air Marshal (played with a nice mixture of elegance and sociability tn Michael Redgrave) does his 'best to reassure everyone.
Next day. as one detail of the dream after another begins to materialise, the breeze is definitely up.
Even the young pilot, who is as fatalistic as any of his wartime predecessors, begins to think " this is it " es the plane is hit by electric
storms., loses its radio, ices up, tosses about blindly, shaves cliffs be a millimetre.
Oh. well. if tio've ever flown, you go through all the terror of the passengers who react each in his own way. I was terrified, and assure you that the Cinerama trip across and through the Rockies has nothing on this.
A perfect film of its kind. with smooth, effortless acting by the whole team, which includes Alexander Knox. Ralph Truman, Nigel Stock. Michael Hordern, Sheila Sim—with Bill Kerr and Alfie Bass to break for a brief comic interlude the grimness and tension of it all.
LUCREZIA BO RC IA Certificate A: London Pavilion, Director: Christian-Jaque
POOR little Lucrezia Borgia. Now we know all, Like a delinquent child who is sent to a psychiatrist to find out what it was in childhood that made him behave that way, she is now sent in flashback to explain to us —and her husband the Duke of Aragon —just what it was that turned her into such a naughty girl.
Of course, it was that wicked brother of hers. Cesare, who drove her at the end of a whip into one marriage of convenience after another so that she was forced to seek her fun where she could find it—in the court or the courtyard, she wasn't particular.
No. This is not another Hollywood stab at European history, although Hollywood may be detected in many a sequence, It comes from France and is dubbed in English. So we have Martine Carol (Lucrezia) saying to Aragon (Massimo Serato): " Forgive my sorry past." And the voice of the narrator booming: " And so the still water (of the Tiber) received another body in its cold embrace."
Martine Carol, as photographed in many Technicolor closeups, has a flawless beauty which. I am afraid. gets in the way of her acting.
After the camera man, the costume designer and Italy in all its indoor grandeur and outdoor loveliness. the film belongs to Pedro Armendariz, the Mexican actor who has been called in to play Cesare. Compared with him the other members of the cast are only shadows—always with the exception of the devastating dwarf played by Pieral. Paradoxically. he reduces most of the grown actors to pint-size EL BRUT()
Certificate X: La Continentale. Director: Luis Brunel.
A/fEXICO—and here is Pedro Armendariz again, this time in his own native setting in the title role. A real bit of blood and low life. with Mr. Armendariz ringing up his boss and saying: " The Brute speaking." I must say it sounded a hit odd,
Mexico generally does these " folk stories " very well, and for movement of crowds, sharp images and atmosphere this is no excep tion. But the story is a bit of
Mexican ham, with Katy Jurado (remember her in " High Noon "?) as a butcher's wife who drops appetising slivers of raw beef into the Brute's mouth prior to the great seduction scene,
Armendariz looks at times almost like a gorilla, showing us that he can run the gamut a lot longer way than from A to B.
CONTRABAND SPAIN Certificate U: London Pavilion. Director: Lawrence Huntington.
D° you remember a rather gawky angular French girl who stole all British hearts some years ago when she appeared in two or three of our films ? She is back in a thriller, playing opposite Richard Greene and Michael Denison, set for the most part in Barcelona, which proves in Eastmancolor to be entirely photogenic.
Anouk has lost her coltish charm and I'm not sure that she has been able to put much in its place, though she still has an interesting face.
The story is of a group of forgers and gold bandits who do some intensive smuggling between England and the Continent. I detect a faint echo of an Alec Guinness film, too, in which precious metal was made into cheap-looking ornaments and exported.
As run-of-the-mill thrillers go, this will get by.
THE LAST BRIDGE Certificate A: Cameo-Polytechnic.
Director: lielnittl Kautner ASTARIA SCHELL may be -.it ranked among the foremost actresses—and there aren't many-of the screen to-day. In this story of a German woman doctor who is captured by the Yugoslav partisans and remains to nurse their sick and wounded, she is almost unmercifully treated by the camera. She wears hardly any make-up, her hair is dank and unkempt, her clothes long and shapeless. So her appeal must be her 100 per cent. ability as an actress. And she has that ability.
A rugged story—practically documentary; even the plot is founded (Hi fact, except for the fact (as a pretty and beautifully groomed Miss Schell told me herself after the Press show) that the doctor was a man.
II was shot over the rough country which made conquest • by the Germans so difficult; the hazards and uncertainties of guerilla warfare arc made vivid and real.
Apart from Miss Schell's performance, this is largely a dratna of faces and types.