Archive for January, 2024

Tiger Bay 1959

This is a British crime drama film, which really shot a very young Hayley Mills into the film spotlight.

Early British films: Tiger Bay (1959) and Whistle Down the Wind (1961) |  David Buckingham

In Tiger Bay, Hayley Mills is Gillie, an orphaned English tomboy brought up by her aunt in Cardiff. Gillie wants to get in with the cool kids by getting a cap gun. and is known for being a constant fibber. Meanwhile, a Polish sailor, Bronislav Korchinsky (Horst Buchholz) returns from leave ready to propose to his girl, Anya.

Korchinsky finds out Anya has also moved on and is in love with a married man, so he goes to her new place. By coincidence, Gillie also lives there. She witnesses the pair fight through Anya’s letterbox, still watching as Korchinsky murders Anya. Then he hides the gun. Gillie takes the gun and lies about where she got it. This leads to a Hayley Mills character in league with a charming wanted man for the first (and not the last time) in her film career.

Despite her famous actor father John Mills in the cast as a police superintendent, Hayley in her debut outshines him with her sweet, natural and convincing acting style. She has an excellent screen rapport with Buchholz and this is always evident in their scenes together. Her scenes with her father, are reeky good too.

After this film she became popular with her child performances almost constantly in the Christmas TV film listings in such films as  Pollyanna (1960), The Parent Trap (1961) and Whistle Down the Wind (1961).

Another one that I like starring both John and Hayley Mills – and with Deborah Kerr – is ‘The Chalk Garden’ which came a little later than these, but was in Technicolor and Cinemascope.

The Chalk Garden - Trailers From Hell

Hayley Mills and Deborah Kerr in ‘The Chalk Garden’

‘The Chalk Garden’ – one of my favourites – and a film that did pretty well at the Box Office for Universal in 1964

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Jedda 1955

Jedda (1955)


In Australian made productions, this was thefilm of the decade greasy ben came from veteran Australian director Charles Chauvel. 

It was filmed in GevaColor – I have read that this system was very good for outdoor location colour filming so it would suit this film perfectly with most of the location work done in the Norther Territories around Darwin

Jedda was the story of an Aboriginal woman torn between two worlds. This film set many landmarks for Australian cinema: it was the first Australian feature film to employ Aboriginal actors (Robert Tudawali and Ngarla Kunoth) in leading roles, the first by an Australian director to be shot entirely in colour (the American-made Kangaroobeat it by three years to being the first colour feature shot in Australia), the first film to be invited to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and probably the first film to take the emotional lives of Aboriginal people seriously.

 Jedda was a vital first step on the road to White Australian society’s understanding of Aboriginal people. The film was fraught with difficulties, such as the loss of much of the film in a plane crash which necessitated the reshooting of the final scenes in the Blue Mountains instead of the Northern Territory.

The film received only mixed reviews and did not do well at the box office. This was the final film Chauvel made as he died four years later.

Jedda - Review - Photos - Ozmovies

The Story :

An aboriginal cook from a Northern Territory cattle station dies giving birth. The child is subsequently adopted by the proprietors – the McManns’ – who have just lost their own daughter. The child is named ‘Jedda’, meaning ‘little wild goose’ and she is raised (as best Sarah can, yet against the pleaful wishes of her husband and coworkers) as a white girl (“bringing her closer to our way of life”), not knowing her own language or culture. Having learnt the piano, her A.B.C. and generally being taught how to behave a proper Australian woman, the polite girl soon comes to be greatly adored by all on the ranch. Yet come rainy season, when all her aboriginal friends ‘head bush’, Jedda regrets not being able to go with them.

Temporarily becoming a station-hand at the McManns’ Station is Marbuck – a nomadic, fringe-dwelling Aborigine – whom Jedda is strangely drawn to. His tribe still observes the traditional customs of the Dreamtime as they were at the time of White Settlement. To Jedda, Marbuck is a true and absolute representation of the culture that has, because of her upbringing, always been denied and outrightly repressed (both by her ‘parents’ and subconsciously, herself). However, when she is unexpectedly abducted by him, she is somewhat abhorred by the experience. When Marbuck brings his new bride before his tribal elders, he is non-too-politely asked to leave his ‘white’ wife. The two head off into the bush; Jedda uncertain what her fate will be and Marbuck undecided what action he will take.

In truth this is a film I have not seen – so much of this article is taken from other sites

I am now adding excerpts from the film showing just how good GevaColor is in these outdoor scenes – Very impressive indeed BELOW

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Sabu and the Magic Ring 1957


Sabu, was a veteran of classic Hollywood films in the 1940s, although he began his career under the direction of Alexander Korda at London Films who operated from Denham Film Studios.

This is somewhat later where he seems to attempt to keep his career afloat, Prior to this film, Sabu made a jungle film, JAGUAR, with the same director and almost the same writing-and-producing team. His early films in this vogue were quite big budget ones greasy ben this was not anywhere near on that scale.

In the film Sabu is a penniless stable boy who comes across a magic ring and finds that he can summon the hugely proportioned genie Ubal (William Marshall), who will grant him any wish– so long as he holds the ring. Trouble is, the city’s evil vizier witnesses the genie’s power and wants the ring.

Many don’t know that during World War II, Sabu served in the United States Army Air Corps and did so with distinction having won several awards for service above and beyond the call of normal duty. Being of a diminutive size he easily could fit in bomber aircraft tail and belly gun positions. When the war was over and he was discharged from the service, he wanted to return to the motion picture industry. Unfortunately, except for one superb film, Michael Powell’s “Black Narcissus”, most of the offerings were paltry. Audiences after the war, weren’t very interested in his kind of escapism; jungle adventures were not so fascinating anymore.

Eventually, he was approached by George Blair the producer/director who wanted Sabu to star in a television series that took place in a kind of Baghdad setting.

Two pilots were shot for that series and this is what became “Sabu and the Magic Ring” when the TV show failed to become a series. Like the Superman series this one was also shot in colour. The costar of it was William Marshall

The plot was a kind of cheap Arabian adventure, but it could in no way capture the days of Sabu’s majestic 1940 masterpiece “The Thief of Baghdad”.

This film is marginally better that Sabu films of this time, “Jungle Boy/Jungle Hell” which is two separate films sewn together from one picture.

Sabu and the Magic Ring (1957) - IMDb
Interesting to see ‘A Mickey Rooney Production’

After this, Sabu only made a handful of films and died at the very young age of 39.

However For many of us, though, he will always be that smiling boy sailing through the azure skies on his flying carpet seeking ever greater adventures. We have to bear in mind though that he had been to War since those heady days and would have been much changed by that experience

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The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1936

This was a favourite film of my Dad’s – and it is certainly one of mine

Terrorised by an evil landlord, the inhabitants of a shabby London boarding house exist precariously on the edge of disaster and despair. But when a new, rather strange lodger (Conrad Veidt) arrives, things seem to mysteriously take a turn for the better.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Passing-of-the-Third-Floor-Back.jpg

Conrad Veidt plays the mysterious stranger who takes up residence in a non too pleasant area of London in a boarding house whose residents are a mixture of sad, lonely and poor people.

Rene Ray plays one such resident and she really takes to the stranger whose quiet dignity and strength inspires her to survival in those tough times with his spiritual air

Conrad Veidt is impressive in this role.

This is a really interesting film, based on a Victorian play by Jerome K. Jerome.

Its director, Viertel, had left Germany for England, where he made several films. The Stranger is played by Conrad Veidt, famous for his roles in Dr. Caligari, and Casablanca.

It is an allegory of the struggle between good and evil. I especially enjoyed the performances of Conrad Veidt and Mary Clare, and Rene Ray 

This one of Conrad Veidt’s best portrayals, which says a lot, especially if you consider the parts he played particularly in The Thief of Bagdad, The Spy in Black and Casablanca.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951

An almost classic Science Fiction film

A flying saucer lands in Washington D.C. From it emerges a giant robot and Michael Rennie. He wishes to speak with the leaders of the earth, all of them, but that is impossible, So he escapes and makes his way to a boarding house, where he can learn about humans.

It’s a great cast, including Patricia Neal and Sam Jaffe as the smartest man in the world Like all serious science fiction films, it has an Important Message. Unlike many of them, it never disguises that this film is about the need to learn to live together in peace.

Robert Wise, that great director, does his usual impeccable job.

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Two Films

I am talking now of Two films that have nothing much in common except from a personal angle because I happened to have watched them quite close together – within a couple of days of one another.

The first a great favourite of mine ‘Mr Perrin and Mr Traill’ released in 1948 and the other a so-called cinema classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which came out over a decade later but one which seems to gather lavish praise.

I find Mr Perrin and Mr Traill a fascinating story set at a private boarding school in the West Country between the Wars with a quick moving plot and quick moving scenes that hold the audience.

In contrast ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is long and drawn out with a slow moving plot and even slower moving scenes. There are too many long silences with us waiting for Gregory Peck to speak leaving us just wanting to wind things up like clockwork and get them moving.

I have to admit that I am not a great fan of Gregory Peck even though he had such a long and successful career in films. He just appears so down-beat and in need of a rev up in many scenes – particularly in this one.


ABOVE With Mr Perrin and Mr Traill, we have sharp and punchy dialogue and well cast characters – all capable of turning in a good performance – and in this film they do just that

ClassicFlix (Teen Scene) – Review #15: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – The  Wonderful World of Cinema

I can’t think that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ had a very big budget. The home and village where most of the cation took place was quite confined – and the final courtroom drama looked to be filmed on quite a small set.

Nevertheless the filmmakers extracted the maximum from the quite limited surroundings.

Back to ‘Mr Perrin and Mr Traill’ which I far prefer, pne of he stars – in fact the female lead – was Greta Gynt. She certainly looked very lovely and captured the heart of Mr Perrin whose inability to admit his feelings and his failure to act led him to be devastated when she turned elsewhere.

I remember Grta Gynt a few years late in another favourite – the widescreen, Colour film ‘The Blue Peter’

Greta Gynt


The Blue Peter 1955 Film

The Film title comes from the flag of England’s Outward Bound Sea School at Aberdovey, Wales.

The Story concerns Mike Merriworth, a Merchant Navy hero of the Korean War returns to England after three years of captivity in Communist hands, his mind confused by brain-washing and indoctrination at the hands of his captors, and accepts a post as an instructor at the Outward Bound Sea School

Stars: Kieron Moore, Sarah Lawson, Greta Gynt, Harry Fowler, Mervyn Johns, Anthony Newley

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The Elusive Pimpernel 1951

This film was released on 1 January 1951 and looking down the cast list I see some names that became- or were – very familiar. Patrick McNee, Terence Alexander, Archie Duncan, Peter Colpey, Arthur Wontner ( a famous film Sherlock Holmes ) and Eugene Deckers to name just a few.

In this costume adventure set in France during the Reign of Terror, a mysterious man known only as the Scarlet Pimpernel rescues noblemen from the guillotine and leads them to safety across the English Channel.

Chauvelin played by Cyril Cusack – is determined to unmask the Pimpernel and bring him to justice. When evidence begins to suggest that the hero is actually foppish Sir Percy Blakeney, Chauvelin blackmails Percy’s wife, Marguerite, into cooperating on the threat that he’ll expose the criminal activities of her brother Armand.

However, Marguerite doesn’t much care for her husband, hardly believes he could be the heroic Pimpernel, and is startled when she finds out that he truly is the hero.

The film was conceived as a co-production deal between Alexander Korda’s London Films and Samuel Goldwyn, in which it was agreed that Goldwyn would fund half the film’s production costs in exchange for US distribution rights. 

Korda had produced a versionof ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ in 1935 with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, and Goldwyn anticipated a colour remake that would repeat that film’s international success.

The Elusive Pimpernel was eventually released in America in a further truncated form (and in black and white) as The Fighting Pimpernel.
Although both Powell and Pressburger were dissatisfied with it, The film itself is highly enjoyable.

It features stunning location work in Bath, the Loire Valley and on Mont St. Michel

There are some lavish costumes to see – David Niven and Jack Hawkins’ humbug-striped tailcoats and frilly lace cuffs commanding as much visual attention as Margaret Leighton’s elegant ball


There is one action sequence in the film that has stayed with me since I saw this with my Mother and Father at the time of release and that was when Sir Percy in his horse and carriage race against the Jack Hawkins character. As they speed neck and neck, in the distance is a narrow bridge that only one can get through. It is quite exciting as they hurtle towards this obstacle. In the end Sir Percy wins leaving the other carriage to veer away and come to a crashing halt.

Because of the contractual troubles around the production and release, this film was not that well promoted – not at all in the USE until a few years later – so it is not well remembered and not often shown on TV.

Nevertheless it is a very colourful production

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The Sharkfighters 1956 – Victor Mature

Another Victor Mature film but this time one that did not fare well with the public. I don’t Think that this was at all well promoted at the time of it’s release or I would certainly have noticed it more – I do remember it though.

Again a film shot in Technicolor and Cinemascope with much of the action in the Caribbean

ABOVE – Victor Mature and Karen Steele in a publicity still for the film

Based on actual events in the development of a shark repellent by the U.S. Navy in World War 2. First used in 1943, it was granted a patent in 1949 and was used by the Navy until 1973.

However its effectiveness is now judged dubious nowadays. The actual scientific work consisted of observations of shark behaviour in 1942 off Mayport, Florida; Woods Hole, Massachusetts; and the harbour of Guayaquil, Ecuador by civilian scientists of the Marine Studios Oceanarium.

Filming took place in the middle of the Cuban revolution, which started on July 26, 1953 and culminated when Cuban president Fulgencio Batista fled the country on January 1, 1959. Around the time of filming in March 1955, unrest was growing and student demonstrations against Batista were becoming more commonplace.

ABOVE – The Press Book from the Film

‘The Sharkfighters’ was filmed – filming finished in March 1955 a shoot of maybe little more than a month

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