16 April 2014 | Theo Robertson
The Austere Bond
Based upon the long running Dick Barton series from radio DICK BARTON STRIKES BACK is not without interest if only to give a view of British immediate post war austerity and mentality . Britain was quite rightly proud of the fact that from the Summer of 1940 through to most of 1941 she stood alone against German Nazism and Italian fascism . Her reward for winning the war was losing the subsequent peace . It was also obvious in the aftermath of the war that the standard of living in Britain had actually fallen compared to the times when the U-Boats patrolled the Atlantic and the Luftwaffe had bombed British cities
This is reflected in DBSB right from the opening scene where Dick and Snowey go in to a nightclub and foreign cultural influences abound . Snowey can't get a pint of bitter and if that isn't bad enough the waiting staff who are all foreign are in league with another bunch of foreigners led by a villain with the name of Fouracada . You can't help noticing that these criminals aren't of traditional Anglo Saxon stock and while you can accuse the film of a xenophobic mindset this would merely reflect the average British experience of other cultures . Europeans would be fascists , Zionists would be terrorists , Arabs would be rabid nationalists with new found power via oil and even an erstwhile ally such as America would be a cynical fair weather friend . Perhaps most sadly of all the Soviet Union would be on a par with Hitler's Germany #
For a film that uses a radio series as its source this is a B movie that deserves some credit for trying to be cinematic in feel .What I did notice is that its outlandish plot featuring a death ray controlled by a bunch of nasty foreigners does have a lot in common in the James Bond franchise but their are important differences . There's no exotic locations and a climax set around Blackpool pleasure beach isn't something you'd get in a Fleming story . Don Stannard as Barton might be square jawed but he's not a dirty fighter and when he gets in to a punch up with one of the bad guys it's unexpected he doesn't throw him out of the lift door . I'm guessing in those days it was only Johnny Foreigner who would do something unsporting like that ?