Valerie Hobson

  • Michael Powell – Contraband (1940)

    Michael Powell1931-1940RomanceThrillerUnited Kingdom
    Contraband (1940)
    Contraband (1940)

    In his autobiography Michael Powell described Contraband as “all pure corn, but corn served up by professionals, and it worked” . This is perhaps how audiences have most often approached Contraband, as a slight piece of British World War II propaganda with entertaining asides of comedy and romance; charming and well-made but little more. Beyond this a rating as a minor imitation of Powell’s great rival Hitchcock might be bestowed, even if for little reason other than its concern with spies. But unlike Hitchcock, the cool observer, Powell was always a hot-headed rebel, and as such his views on war, whether between nations or the sexes, are more unconventional.Read More »

  • Michael Powell – The Spy in Black (1939)

    Michael Powell1931-1940DramaThrillerUnited Kingdom
    The Spy in Black (1939)
    The Spy in Black (1939)

    Synopsis:
    ‘When a German U-Boat captain is sent on a spying mission to the North of Scotland during World War One, he finds more than he bargained for in his contact, the local schoolmistress.’
    – Ian HarriesRead More »

  • David Lean – Great Expectations (1946)

    1941-1950ClassicsDavid LeanDramaUnited Kingdom

    Quote:
    Based on the book by Charles Dickens Great Expectations (1946) tells the story of a young boy by the name of Pip (Antony Wager/John Mills) who lives in the British countryside with Joe Gargery (Bernard Miles), a poor blacksmith, and his bossy wife Mrs. Joe Gargery (Freda Jackson). They reside in a rundown house not too far from the local cemetery.Read More »

  • James Whale – Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    1931-1940ClassicsHorrorJames WhaleUSA

    Dr. Frankenstein and his monster both turn out to be alive, not killed as previously believed. Dr. Frankenstein wants to get out of the evil experiment business, but when a mad scientist, Dr. Pretorius, kidnaps his wife, Dr. Frankenstein agrees to help him create a new creature, a woman, to be the companion of the monster.Read More »

  • Stuart Walker – Werewolf of London (1935)

    1931-1940ClassicsHorrorStuart WalkerUSA

    English Botanist Wilfred Glendon finds the rare flowering plant he seeks in Tibet, but not before he is bitten by a feral monster-man. Back at his greenhouse lab outside London, he wows his guests with exotic (and utterly fantastic) plant specimens, but is having trouble getting new blooms to form from his imported Tibetan buds, which legend has it only open under the rays of the full moon. Already neglected, his wife Lisa becomes further estranged when Wilfred acts oddly, even more reclusive than normal. A doctor Yogami has appeared to tell him that the flowers are the only antidote for ‘WereWolfry’, and that he’ll be ‘transvected’ every night of the full moon to seek a murder victim. When this turns out to be true, Wilfrid leaves home, and attempts to have himself confined in rented rooms and even a tower keep back at his wife’s country estate. But his efforts are to no avail: Neither locked doors nor barred windows can keep him from going on the prowl.Read More »

  • Stuart Walker – Werewolf of London (1935)

    1931-1940HorrorStuart WalkerUSA

    Story: Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is a wealthy and world-renowned English botanist who journeys to Tibet in 1935 in search of the elusive mariphasa plant. While there, he is attacked and bitten by a creature later revealed to be a werewolf, although he succeeds in acquiring a specimen of the mariphasa. Once back home in London he is approached by a fellow botanist, Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland), who claims to have met him in Tibet while also seeking the mariphasa. Yogami warns Glendon that the bite of a werewolf would cause him to become a werewolf as well, adding that the mariphasa is a temporary antidote for the disease.Read More »

  • Robert Hamer – Kind Hearts and Coronets [+commentary] (1949)

    1941-1950ComedyCrimeRobert HamerUnited Kingdom

    Quote:
    Film Forum writes:Poor relation Dennis Price, ninth in line to the Dukedom of Chalfont, coolly narrates from prison his ascent to the peerage via serial murder, bumping off one D’Ascoyne after another, from an arrogant playboy, to a bullet-headed general, to a stiff-upperlipped Admiral, to a dotty reverend, to a formidable dowager — all, plus three more, played by Alec Guinness.Read More »

  • Robert Hamer – Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

    1941-1950ComedyCrimeRobert HamerUnited Kingdom


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    Synopsis:
    Director Robert Hamer’s fiendishly funny Kind Hearts and Coronets stands as one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly black comedies ever made. Dennis Price is sublime as an embittered young commoner determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by ascending to her family’s dukedom. Unfortunately, eight relatives—all played by the incomparable Alec Guinness—must be eliminated before he can do so.Read More »

  • René Clément – Monsieur Ripois aka Knave of hearts (1954)

    1951-1960ComedyDramaFranceRené Clément

    29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

    The Italian neo-realist influence that is so evident in René Clément’s Oscar-winning 1949 film Au-delà des grilles is also felt in this quirky romantic comedy, through its use of real locations (mostly in the bustling centre of London) and fluid, documentary-style photography. Along with some of his contemporaries (notably Georges Franju and Jean-Pierre Melville) René Clément had started to trail-blaze a new kind of cinema, departing from the conventions of the quality tradition that had grown stale and predictable by the early 1950s, and laying the groundwork for the French New Wave. If you did not know that Clément had directed Monsieur Ripois, you might easily mistake it for an early offering from one of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers – Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Louis Malle or François Truffaut.Read More »

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