The Phantom Light (1935)

  |  Mystery, Thriller

The Phantom Light (1935) Poster

A lighthouse keeper has been murdered in mysterious circumstances and, during the ensuing investigation a Phantom Light keeps appearing at the scene of his death.


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3 January 2005 | Spondonman
| Fondly familiar family fare
In '30's British films I've always liked the mix of pithy Music Hall humour, mild ghostliness, a frisson of sex, and manly London chaps saving the day, all displayed perfectly in the Phantom Light. Director Michael Powell's best stuff was yet to come of course, but this can be seen as him still learning his craft practising with more inconsequential trifles.

Gordon Harker here shines with some cracking comedy lines handed to him, as the new lighthouse-keeper at a rather ... insular Welsh coastal village, apparently 200 years behind the times with Wrecking ships on the rocks still big business. Ian Hunter is the manly Londoner with all the brains ... er, I think this was his last British film until after the War ended. He was the best King Richard Hollywood ever had! Until the last reel Binnie Hale has no brains but admirably compensates with long legs. Herbert Lomas perfects the character he particularly re-used later in Ask a Policeman and The Ghost Train - he was even back in Powell & Pressburger's I Know Where I'm Going! But the film that borrowed the most from this was Arthur Askey's Back Room Boy from '42, it even looked the same inside the lighthouse!

A pleasant 75 minutes spent in the company of familiar faces and story.

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