Showing posts from September 2, 2012

Review: Vigil in the Night

Dedicated nurse Carole Lombard takes the blame for careless sister Anne Shirley’s fatal stuff-up, gets fired, but then ends up at a bigger but poorly equipped hospital where she meets handsome surgeon Brian Aherne, who wants funds for a plague ward. Ethel Griffies plays the rather stern but fair matron. Hammer legend Peter Cushing plays a hopeless ne’er-do-well. Julien Mitchell plays a sleazy benefactor, with Doris Lloyd his pathetic wife.
1940 George Stevens (“Gunga Din”, “Shane”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”) flick in the nurse/missionary drama subgenre proved that Lombard could be more than just a funny gal. It’s a shame then, that she would die just two years later, tragically in a plane crash. She’s really good here, as is Griffies as a tough old matron. Look out for an early role for Cushing, quite a different part as a sad sack ne’er-do-well.
Solid stuff all round, though Shirley’s character comes across as borderline intellectually disabled at times. The screenplay is by Fred Gui…

Review: The Wilby Conspiracy

Sidney Poitier is a black South African activist freed from a decade in jail by his white lawyer Prunella Gee, only to get into strife by brawling with some racist police officers, whilst in the company of Gee’s British lover, played by Michael Caine. For some reason, racist copper Nicol Williamson lets them escape, but nonetheless follows their trail for reasons only gradually revealed. The two initially can’t stand one another, with Caine not wanting to get involved at all, but in order to survive, they will need to work together. Saeed Jaffrey plays an Indian-born dentist friend of Poitier’s, whose bewitching assistant is played by Persis Khambatta. Rutger Hauer turns up as Gee’s selfish, estranged pilot husband, whilst Helmut Dantine (the film’s producer) appears early as a prosecutor.

1975 Ralph Nelson (“Lilies of the Field”, “Charly”, “Embryo”) film is an odd but surprisingly enjoyable mixture of racial/political drama, buddy movie, diamond heist movie, and chase flick, and bols…

Review: The Night Porter

Set in post-WW2 Vienna, Dirk Bogarde plays the fastidious night porter at a hotel and a former SS officer. He occasionally meets with other former officers (Gabriele Ferzetti among them) to talk about issues of guilt in quasi-psychoanalysis sessions, and hunt down any possible Holocaust survivors as the date of an upcoming trial for Bogarde draws closer. Bogarde just wants to be left alone to do his quaint little job and live a modest life, trying his best to forget about his horrid past (of which he appears to be extremely tormented by, if not quite ashamed of). Complications arise when he locks eyes with a bewitching new resident, Charlotte Rampling, who just so happens to be the young concentration camp Bogarde used to abuse during the war. However, when Rampling quickly dismisses her musician husband to reconnect with Bogarde in a kinky S&M relationship, it becomes clear that...well, things aren’t as clear as one first thought. Meanwhile, Bogarde’s cronies soon find out about …