The Night Has Eyes
The death of a capuchin monkey at the hands of a Spanish Civil War veteran is a very potent symbol, the structure of the film is nevertheless that of a joke, a hard and ineluctable one. “The world stood by,” it is explained, “to see fair play wasn’t done,” and now everybody is in it.
A joke as terrible as you please in 1942, but someone had to make it, and the next year there was The Fallen Sparrow (dir. Richard Wallace).
Two girls, English and American, trace a third lost on the Yorkshire moors, rain and storm flood the place, they meet the fellow, he gives them lodgings for the night and so forth.
Cocteau’s La Belle et la BÍte is quite vividly foreseen in the metaphor of a lycanthropic English pianist-composer.
Geoff Andrew of Time Out Film Guide could not see the significance, a case of willy-nilly, he says, or shilly-shally, or diddy-dinty.
Halliwell’s Film Guide is even more oblique (“oodles of fog”), but cites The Times, “some ingenuity and not a little style.”
The Man in Grey
It is only a question, in 1943, of the war then raging, of Kinder KŁche Kirche versus the gentle lady, of a far-off slave revolt led by a foreign power sending one into exile, of opportunism reaching the heights and dashed down by the idol it serves, yet it’s only a few trinkets sought at an estate auction by an RAF officer and a lady serving in the Wrens, this is the famous film no English critic could understand, we are told, nor of course Bosley Crowther of the New York Times (“mechanical, tedious and dull”), it was all escapism to the critics, the BFI and Halliwell’s Film Guide and Film4 and Time Out Film Guide all use the latter’s words more or less, “Gainsborough bodice-ripper, a Regency romp”.
The Way to the Stars (dir. Anthony Asquith) achieves much the same sort of harmony in wartime contingencies, between the devil and the deep blue sea. The cool assessment of Guy Hamilton’s Battle of Britain is some distance away.
The admirable feint on the Garbo Camille (dir. George Cukor) is one of the best effects in a highly complex movie.
Mind you, Halliwell’s Film Guide has “novelettish love story” and quotes C.A. Lejeune as if that were not enough, “splendid, noble and fatuous”. Readers of Time Out Film Guide are regaled by Tom Milne’s derision.
“This was a time when British women were embarking on an unprecedented number of casual affairs,” reports the BFI (Michael Brooke).
The Wicked Lady
The hilarious BFI review by Michael Brooke breaks its own back to find her “pushing at the barriers” and this subtle masterpiece “subversive”.
Winner’s analysis is definitive, naturally, and Ophuls’ La Tendre Ennemie speaks for the lady most eloquently, if that were needed.
Time Out Film Guide describes Arliss as “the unfortunate director”.