Appointment in London

For medals, at Buckingham Palace.

Bomber squadron overworn, squadron leader personally headed for 90 missions.

He meets a widow in Naval Intelligence. A Yank liaison officer beats his time.

HQ grounds him after 89, he goes up with a Digger pilot “to beak the jinx” on the squadron and takes command.

Minus the Brat, the appointment is kept.

Details of a bombing run are kept for the 90th mission on “a town built by the Jerries in the last year for the manufacture of secret weapons”.


The Spanish Gardener

The story of an ass with two servants, one so good he is scarcely to be believed, and one so bad he cannot be overlooked. The enchanting thing is the simple directness with which Leacock puts this together. When he wants to go fishing, he simply dissolves to his line in the water.

Halliwell says this “doesn’t come off; any sexual relevance is well concealed.” It’s true that when Geoffrey Keen breezes in like Wendy Craig in The Servant, there is no confrontation as in Losey’s film, but what you have here is really a variant of Captains Courageous anyway.

There’s a wonderful organization in Leacock’s photographic exteriors, which enlists them as the stable source of drama. When Josť is being taken off to jail on a train, this shot is followed by young Nicholas walking down the lane at precisely the same angle.

Without any seeming artifice at all, Leacock conceives whole swatches of film as overlapping consequences, as in the train sequence, which by direct continuity and sound provides a satisfying picture, then it cuts to Nicholas in a similar trajectory to that of Josť. He heads for a gate (right) and (cut) emerges from a doorway (right). A child’s comings and goings accompanying a prisoner’s movements by visual association, marvelous. Persistence of vision, even.

Cyril Cusack and Dirk Bogarde play Spaniards. Between The Sleeping Tiger and Doctor at Large (or, if you like, between Doctor in the House and The Doctor’s Dilemma), Bogarde’s performance exists to rival Tracy’s.


Hand in Hand

The later work of Arthur Miller abounds in vivid expression of ideas abstractly stated before, as here. The “tyranny of complaint” (Broken Glass) is a child’s folly, “Christ-killer” is the inherited rage and cry of an unsettled boob.

The Davidian line embarks by sea (“the Thames”) for Africa, sc. Ireland, and comes a cropper at a low bridge and dam, all an imaginative production of lad and lass.

Leacock begins with the boy running at an angle from The Spanish Gardener before setting forth his scenes of village life not far from the New Wave or else Ealing (or among other things, L’Argent de poche), his playactors (with Finlay Currie, Sybil Thorndike and John Gregson) and his abstruse thought, too British or too wonderful in its intricate workings symbolically hidden (perhaps with reference to Jeux interdits) to admit of sated comprehension at the time or since.


13 West Street

A poetic description of the war in quite specific terms, the title is an address in West Los Angeles where the engineer lives, he and an aerospace team are trying to make a rocket fly, his adversary’s Bel-Air address is also given, the latter’s high school is named.

Race hatred is part of the picture, mostly it’s a question of “not being told what to do”. The other kids are cowed by their leader, he sheds them along the way.

Halliwell’s Film Guide sees “a kind of trial run for Death Wish.”

From a novel by Leigh Brackett.


The War Lover

The Yank who operates out of England and gives his life there when all else have bailed out, his English counterpart is the “war girl”, for the duration, that is, of a tour of duty. It means the scheduled number of flying missions in B-17s.

Crowther dismissed it as “absurd” on the same day as Karlson’s Kid Galahad and Marshall’s Papa’s Delicate Condition.

The influence on Kubrick (Dr. Strangelove) and Nichols (Catch-22) is palpable, deriving as it probably does in the last analysis from Powell & Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death.

The key formation is undoubtedly, however, Asquith’s We Dive at Dawn.


Bed Of Roses
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

The surreal construction has a sleeping woman, a stuck garage door, a cab ride, a dead woman and a blackmail scheme.

This is where the structure turns on leaving one’s mother and father to cleave to one’s wife. The cabbie fingers the gent, whose wife killed the mistress and then kills the blackmailer.

The husband’s secretary moves for a raise and more respect with personal attentions, having ushered the cabbie in. She too is eliminated by the bride, who cleaves to her husband.

A panoply of style laid in New Orleans, appertaining to great actors and superbly directed by Leacock.


Adam’s Woman

A further foundation of cinema in Australia, following on Harry Watt, Byron Haskin, et al. Two prisoners escape, one is recaptured, offered a homestead and a wife to defend against the other.

Leacock’s Britishisms of the nineteenth century in the first part are very surprisingly easy and natural, far beyond the most advanced and laborious preparations of a large-scale production. This is the characteristic ease of Leacock, who does great things and calls little or no attention to them.

The entire structure is presented as a ballad Western, situated somewhere between Woman in the Dunes and Jeremiah Johnson. The second part proceeds directly to a defense of the little town against James Booth’s hole-in-the-wall gang. The Governor (Sir John Mills) issues his pardon, and the homesteaders (Beau Bridges, Jane Merrow) settle in beside the river.

The opening scenes of prison cruelty are crowned by the Governor trying on in his office one of the implements, a spiked iron collar with chains to manacles and shackles, impossible to wear. Andrew Keir, who had just played Quatermass, is an Army sergeant shepherding the homesteaders.

But first he must track the prisoners with hounds, in his function of prison guard. Bridges and Booth are “amongst the girls” in a scene out of One-Eyed Jacks when the former is caught and the latter swiftly takes up a fallen guard’s rifle, shoots another with it, blows a kiss to his bedmate and dives out through a closed window.

The ill-favored female prisoners Bridges has to choose from make a picture, and another is Merrow in isolation with shaven head and bruised eye.

The lovely spot by the river is green and pleasant, but at night the rain collapses Bridges’ tent and she is not minded to receive him in the covered wagon. Their horse is stolen. A new one throws and drags him, but she tames it gently, though she still won’t give her husband a tumble. The second one is stolen, Bridges finds the gang.

Adam’s Woman was filmed entirely in Australia, with music by Bob Young, who contributed the witty tunes to Color Me Dead. Jack Nicholson’s Goin’ South takes up the theme, and there is a curious echo in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, as well as at the end of Sir David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter.


Wooden Model Of A Rat
Hawaii Five-O

August March runs a worldwide business selling agricultural implements, “the finest equipment for digging holes in the earth.” He is on the board of the Museum of Oriental Art in Honolulu, the Yokohama Art Museum and so forth, he smuggles stolen netsuke to the U.S. mainland.

McGarrett is framed to forestall his investigation. The figure in the title, a nineteenth-century piece by Tomokazu bought by McGarrett at a flea market in Japan during his naval service twenty-five years earlier, is on display at the local museum with other items of his in a special exhibition of netsuke, ojime and inro. March replaces it with a similar piece by Ittan, stolen from Yokohama.

The museum director is a drug addict, a diplomatic courier has a family back home and a Hawaiian mistress, these two are March’s instruments, both are silenced by his man Suzari.

The main directorial thrust develops from an indication in the script, March, the museum director Gustave Lupin and the assassin Suzari are characterized with a certain archness tending toward caricature, “hoked up” as it were (as Variety would say), they are netsuke themselves in a high, ornate and miniature art.


The Last Of The Great Paperhangers
Hawaii Five-O

The expert, the master forger, never signs a tracing but becomes the signatory, he is McGarrett requisitioning a suite of office furniture like a potentate, a check is issued for “seed money” to the forger’s phony company, an empty office. It supplies a convoy of Navy vehicles and “imported talent” in uniform to cash a special supplementary Navy payroll check for a fortune at the Bank of Honolulu, the fleet’s in.

But the small boy who asks McGarrett for an autograph can be found, the two items stolen from deep in government vaults, a blank requisition form and a blank Treasury check, are discovered ultimately by reason of the clue left behind by thieves who seemingly take nothing but rather leave a small doll representing a Hawaiian girl. “HRH” is the Leonardo, Hunter R. Hickey.