The Dark Tower

“Penury, inertness and grimace” for Danton’s Empire Circus. The wartime allegory from Woollcott & Kaufman centers on a mysterious hypnotist.

“What war did they wage,” the henpecked ringmaster, the stuttering publicist, the laughing sailor?

The lion turns up later in Bertolucci’s Strategia del ragno.

“It’s a great thing, power, it makes you feel a king, especially if all your life you’ve been made to feel a beggar.”

Several splendid acts are the focus of Harlow’s concentration, memorably filmed.

“The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.”


The Echo Murders

“Through health and strength we come to happiness,” Sexton Blake tacitly notes this slogan.

Dutch diamonds seized by the Nazis in Amsterdam, a Cornish tin mine sought for an invasion.

Blake gets the message on a wax cylinder at his Baker Street digs and destroys it at once per instructions.


Old Mother Riley’s New Venture

In the beauty parlour, the original of Barbarella (dir. Roger Vadim).

Owing to the great resemblance, Hotel Warhola beset by thieves acquires a figurehead while the cat recuperates, and indeed the staff are helping themselves, “a robbery? Smash and grab or holdup?”

Heirs can’t wait, the Cocteau figurehead overhears them.

“Have you ever heard a statue talk?”

“No, have you?”

“No, never.”

Mrs. Riley might be neither flesh nor fowl, but she’s good red herring.

“I’m a police officer.”

“How nice, my husband was a special constable in the A.R.P. during the Boer War.”

Times have changed. “Of course in these days it’s the staff and not the customer who’s always right.”

Old Mother Riley model prisoner escapes to the cuisine of the crime, it all ends in a pardon and a pie fight not missed by the director, whose London at the start is just a bit “inside outside front side back...”