18 August 2011 | robert-temple-1
The fourth and last Paul Temple feature film
This film, released in America as BOMBAY WATERFRONT, is the last of the four feature films made between 1946 and 1952 which were based upon the stories of Frances Durbridge and featured her character, the detective Paul Temple. Anthony Hulme played Temple in the first film (SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE, 1946, see my review) and John Bentley played the character in the succeeding three films, including this one. Temple's wife 'Steve' was played in succession by Joy Shelton, Dinah Sheridan (twice), and Patricia Dainton here. The third film in the series, PAUL TEMPLE'S TRIUMPH (1950) is unavailable, having never been released on video or DVD. The other three are readily available on DVD in digitally remastered form. CALLING PAUL TEMPLE (1948, see my review) is a rather limp and unsatisfactory film. This one is much better. The atmosphere is mysterious and effective, despite the low budget. John Bentley is an engaging, if somewhat lightweight, hero. One of the finest performances in the film is by the seventy-something Peter Gawthorne, as Sir Graham Forbes, the head of Scotland Yard. The young Robert Urquhart, later a fine actor, is strangely ineffectual here. Christopher Lee, who had already appeared in many films, does well as usual. This story is based on Durbridge's radio serial PAUL TEMPLE INTERVENES, which was broadcast on the BBC in 1952. The story concerns a series of mysterious murders of people who appear to have no connection with one another. But eventually the common thread is discovered to be a secret papyrus recently excavated in Egypt by the character played by Lee, which contains the antidote for all narcotic drugs, and could destroy the world narcotics cartels if it became known. The unknown killer calls himself 'The Marquess', though the reason for the name is never given. There are many candidates for 'The Marquess', and it is made as difficult as possible for us to guess his or her identity. The film is very entertaining if you like this kind of thing. There are numerous interesting shots of the London streets as they were in 1952, particularly at night.