SAPPHIRE Certificate A: Leicester Sq. Theatre Director: Basil Dearden LONDON race riots have obviously inspired the writer, Janet Green. who has used their background for a murder mystery in which black and white are involved.
The stabbed body of a girl—a music student—is found on Hampstead Heath. Detective-Superintendent Hazard (Nigel Patrick) takes charge and his investigations lead him (assisted by Michael Craig) into the home of the girl's boy friend David (Paul Massie),
Looks at the Films
his father (Bernard Miles), his sister (Yvonne Mitchell), and his mother (Olga Linda).
During the enquiries the girl's brother (Earl Cameron) arrives— and this is the iirst intimation that the girl is of mixed black and white parentage. The brother is all Negro—she was accepted as white.
The "whodunit" theme is kept simmering steadily throughout a film which is distinguished by the candid, truthful London backgrounds—with its sleazy, scabrous tenements where so many of the coloured folk find houseroom. A varied procession of dark, medium and near pale skins are paraded— from the University educated barrister and doctor types to the bonga-bonga in the "social" clubs.
In its effort to be fair to the minority in our midst, the film at times leans over backwards—but on the whole it is a pretty fair statement of things as they are, and both coloured and white actors acquit themselves with honour.
FOR THE FIRST TIME Certificate U : Empire Director : Rudy Mate
MARIO LANZA is a modern ' enigma. He ought to have made a career for himself in grand opera. At least, when he appears in tantalising snatches from works like Don Giovanni, Otello, Pagliacci, and Aida--as he does here in magnificently mounted scenes—he is very much the ienore robin-to in the great tradition.
Yet he has chosen to work in the cinema and be all things to all types of listener—singing anything and everything. Most of the films he plays in are built round him and the story is subject to him.
Here, as Tonio Costa, the famous Italian-American singer, he sings his way through the world's opera houses. being temperamental and (not without contemporary precedent) letting impresarios and audiences down by non-appearances a bit too often.
Then he meets a sweet, deaf girl (Johanna von Koszian) in the paganly beautiful island of Capri and is a reformed character. He now only sings so that he can find an ear specialist who can cure her. Really, that is all there is of a plot--and the appeal of the film depends on the personalities in the cast, the microphone amplified voice of Mr. Lanza, and some beguiling scenery—in Technicolor. Oh, and not forgetting Zsa Zsa Gabor who, for me, brightens any landscape— blithely reaching out for what she wants and practically always getting it.
SHAGGY DOG Certificate U : Studio One Director : Charles Barton
wALT DISNEY, who made
everyone weep with his Yeller Dog " now gives a dog story to end all such. It's really for children but dull would anyone be of soul who can't laugh — and believe like the children whose laughter rang out at the press show. (Yes, they got in somehow.) By some strange alchemy, worked on him by a ring that once belonged to the Borgias, Wilby Daniels (Tommy Kirk), a teenager. keeps turning off and on into a dog. What makes it worse, his father (Fred McMurray — whom we don't see enough of these days) is allergic to dogs and keeps chasing him with a gun. The only person who gets any kick out of it all is Wilby's young brother (Kevin Corcoran) and, when Wilhy overhears a plot to steal something from a rocket station, only little brother believes him.
A crazy affair from beginning to end—and it makes its mark because it is played dead straight by both the juvenile and adult casts.