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Rockets Galore

Creaks and groans to a predictable conclusion
Based on one of the stories by the famous Compton Mackenzie, this is a feeble film about the residents of a small island in the Hebredies and their attempts to prevent the RAF building a rocket base on their island.

I fell asleep (which is unusual).

The main benefit it that it is in colour. Enjoy the scenery and ignore the plot.

Wheel of Fate

Short and dramatic story of conflicting brothers
Wheel of Fate is a different to the majority of films make the Rank during this period. It comes from a different studio. It comes across as a shorter, more direct film with less stage-setting and plot development and a focus on getting the story across.

The story is about two very different brothers, who run a small garage, owned by their eccentric and bed ridden father. They fall into conflict over a nightclub singer.

The film is a bit like reading a short story - expect it to happen quickly.

Quest for Love

A romantic seventies sci-fi classic
There is a man out there with dangerous sideburns, who can also travel across to a parallel universe. Sounds unlikely?

Quest for Love isn't such a bad movie, in the sense it could be far worse. It's the story of a physicist who develops the technology to travel to a parallel universe where the same characters exist, but they have different lives. He turns out to be a brilliant novelist but a right swine to Ottile, his wife.

The story is OK. But the clothes, cars and interior decor is great. And check out Heathrow airport in the mid 1970's. It looks empty.

Once a Jolly Swagman

Not many swagmen to be seen
Dirk Bogarde appears in this film as a young, working class lad who achieves fame and fortune (and a nasty little moustache) as a speedway bike rider during the 1940's. Of course, his career is interrupted by the war.

It is a little laboured at times, but you have to admire the cameramen who created the footage of the races with such limited technology.

I spent a lot of the film trying to work out where the swagman theme was supposed to come from - aside from using Waltzing Matilda as the theme. Later on I realised his faithful wife Pat, and her brother, were supposed to be Australian. The brother later retired to Australia to go 'sheep farming'.


Account Rendered

Workable and enjoyable
This strangely short murder-mystery is a good reminder of why the English film industry was so strong during this period.

The cast of relative unknowns (with the exception of a young Honor Blackman) deliver a tight story in a precise way. The sub texts of the story are not laboured, creating an involving story.

It's worth the time.


Avoid at all costs
This abomination, which was written by John Cleese and friends, represents the very low point of English film making. Leaving aside the excesses of the 1970's, this is a racist, sexist, and very unfunny movie with so little plot it is amazing.

Re-arrange your sock drawer instead. The time would be better spent.

The Young Lovers

Low key and unconvincing love story
This is one of the many films that have a promising synopsis and fail to really engage.

It's the story of two young lovers who meet at the ballet in London. One works in the code room at the US Embassy, the other the daughter of the Soviet ambassador. They decide that love transcends politics and run away together. They have an unconvincing escape across the channel during a violent storm and are last seen sailing away together (to where no-one is sure).

All the potential for drama and conflict between the two bitter enemies is lost and the actors themselves seem unconvinced.

Forbidden Cargo

Want glamour and travel? Join HM customs...
This movie is kind of fun. If you imagined that working from Customs was boring and uninteresting, this will change your mind. Kenyon the Customs inspector travels to the South of France, consorts with beautiful women, stays in luxury motels, and generally lives a very high life.

It's not a bad story about a brother and sister drug smuggling ring that is busted open my modest men from Customs in tweed jackets and narrow ties.

Madness of the Heart

An awful contrived story
No one is pretending that a movie made in 1949 will be the latest. However this feeble story about a woman who goes temporarily blind, and who is trying to be killed off by her evil in-laws, stretched credibility to the very end. Students of French movie accents may find it interesting, as will those studying the geography of the French coast, and airport terminal design in the 1950's.

Operation Amsterdam

Well made wartime action story
Operation Amsterdam is a pleasant surprise. It has both a strong story and some unusual cinematic touches to keep the viewer interested.

The story of the British secret service agents who are sent to Amsterdam to recover industrial diamonds before the German invasion is a familiar one, and their eventual safe escape is predictable enough.

What interested me was the atmosphere of fear and bleakness that the producers manage to convey. The empty streets, in bright sunlight; the columns of fleeing people; the confusion of not knowing who are enemies or friends, makes for a better than average effects.

Added to this a score made only with drums, and some very abrupt editing that is almost painful to watch, makes this a worthwhile watch.


If you are interested in dustbin men...
This movie would be of great interest to historians and sociologists looking for a insight into Dublin in the 1950's, particularly the garbage collection business.

For the rest of us, it's a creaking story about a Dublin dustbin man who is blessed with a magnetic attraction for women and great hurling skills (the sport that is, not the bins).

There is probably something more interesting on....

Millions Like Us

War propaganda movie for Beethoven fans
The basis of this film may be spine stiffening patriotism, but don't write it off on that basis alone.

The theme is about the sacrifices made by the English during WWII, and the impact of the war on their lives. So many people ended up having their lives changes in ways that they didn't like, but the demand was to carry on. The story follows one family, and particularly the eldest daughter, who leaves home to work in a regional factory, meets and marries a young pilot.

Sounds trite? The film has a surprising balance of drama and war-time humour, and will be enjoyed by Beethoven fans. He should get a credit.

The Net

A fun mystery with supersonic action
The Net is a fun mystery story, surrounding the battle amongst a group of scientists for control of M7, a supersonic plane which aims to help man into space.

As the battle for control of the project rages, the film creates some love interest, as Phyllis Calvert struggles to maintain her loyalty to her obsessed scientist husband.

But the highlight of this film must be the special effects and sound of the supersonic aircraft. They look a bit lame now, but in the 1950's this would have been one of the ultimate hi-tech films.

A Town Like Alice

A strong story makes for a good film
A Town Like Alice is now an old film. However it has a certain directness and freshness which makes it quite watchable.

A Town like Alice is the story of an English nurse, who is trapped in Malaya with a group of Englihs women during the Japanese invasion. As the group can't be categorised by the Japanese army into a useful pigeonhole, they are forced to walk from city to city looking for a place to be prisoners-of-war.

The story is a strong one and the movie doesn't let the book down. Shot in excellent locations in Malaysia, the only problems are fitting the breadth of the story into a limited time.

Suspended Alibi

An acceptable murder mystery
Suspended Alibi is a quite acceptable murder mystery. The story is of a newspaper editor whose attempts to prove an alibi for a murder are made more difficult by his infidelity. His situation is further complicated when his mistress is also murdered. After being convicted, he is saved by some unlikely evidence, in the form of a propelling pencil. The film is better than average because of some of its more creative film techniques (fast fades and close ups), and by the fact that the mystery is solved, but there is no final resolution.

High Fidelity

Mildly obsessive about music? Find out what happens..
If you are male and have ever developed an irrational liking for one band or musician, and you have chased down all the albums and got immersed in the trivia, this movie shows what happens if you let it get away!

Really, the film is about the complexity of relationships and the realisation that your partner will never be perfect - understanding and compromise are needed on both sides. See the film and understand. It's a perfect antidote to overblown Hollywood romances.

Dive Bomber

Well shot propaganda for the US Navy
A nicely crafted piece on propaganda for the US Navy, this film is a rather thin story of the heroics of the US Navy pilots and their doctors. Errol Flynn is suitably clean shaven and determined, but also unbearably smug. The film has a very annoying sub plot about one of his assistants and his wife, which is intended to be a break from all the seriousness but merely annoys. All the female characters are window dressing only. Great aerial photography.

Brief Encounter

A simple film with complex emotions
Brief Encounter is probably one of the finest romances made by the English film industry. The story line is simple, of a married woman who meets a stranger and falls in love, belies the complexity of the emotions involved. It ends poignantly, as both parties realise that their feelings have been overshadowed by the social impossibility of their situation.

The film is particularly good at reflecting the post-war austerity and morality of England. It may change your view of railway stations forever.

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