20 July 2014 | robert-temple-1
The best of the four Paul Temple films
This is the third, and the best, of the four Paul Temple films made between 1946 and 1952. They were: SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE, aka THE GREEN FINGER (1946, see my review), starring Anthony Hulme as Temple; CALLING PAUL TEMPLE (1948, see my review), starring John Bentley as Temple as did the next two; this film; and PAUL TEMPLE RETURNS, aka BOMBAY WATERFRONT (its American title) (1952, see my review). In this and the next film, 'Steve' Temple, Paul's wife, is played by Dinah Sheridan, though in the final film she was replaced by Patricia Dainton. The initial film was directed by John Argyle, and the three others were all directed by Maclean Rogers. All are based upon the detective character created by Francis Durbridge, and this film is based upon Durbridge's radio serial 'News of Paul Temple'. All of the films are definitely 'B' pictures without any pretensions. This one is far more interesting than the others and has a more elaborate and interesting story. There is a sinister international criminal organisation known as 'Z' which is headed by an unknown man called 'Z' which steals high technology secrets, particularly those relating to defence, and sells them to the highest bidder. They are ruthless and kill anyone who gets in their way. Temple has to find out who they are and stop them, and at the same time save the life of a kidnapped professor who is nearly finished designing his 'biggest thing since radar during the War'. It is a secret formula for controlling atomic weaponry. There is a race against time and various people get killed along the way. Most of the action and filming take place in the New Forest, which, as everyone knows, has not been 'new' for centuries. There are some interesting shots at Northolt Airfield, which is still used by the military and the Prime Minister but was then an ordinary civilian London airport, prior to the existence of Heathrow and Gatwick. One curious aspect of the film is that whenever someone gets stabbed to death or blown up, Temple and the police inspector merely rush off to deal with the next emergency, and make no apparent effort to secure the scene of the crime, deal with the corpse, collect evidence, or even call the police. I suppose the producer did not wish the film to exceed its 76 minutes and hence its limited budget. Oh well, that's the movies, especially the 'B' movies. But this is a very good way to pass a rainy afternoon, or at least that part of it before teatime. I recommend heavier fare after being fortified by a good cuppa, dontchathink?