Friday, January 30, 2015

Briefs for January 30, 2015

I'm sorry to say that there were a couple of things I saw on TCM yesterday that don't seem to be available on DVD. I had turned on the TV at the dinner hour, waiting for the 6:15 PM start of The Secret Partner, a movie that was new to me and sounded like it had an interesting premise. It turned out to be quite entertaining, if nothing particularly great. Stewart Granger plays a junior executive at a shipping company who's being blackmailed, and then the safe at the shipping company is robbed, making it look like Granger did it. Bernard Lee, who would soon go on to play M in the James Bond movies, plays the police detective who's investigating and wants to wrap up the case before his pending retirement. The direction, by Basil Dearden who also did the recently recommended League of Gentlemen, deftly handles the plot twists.

Before The Secret Partner came on, however, there was the RKO Screenliner short White Peril, about men who work for the US Geologic Survey and go into the Cascade Mountains of Washington in the winter to determine how much snow pack there is and, by extension, how much water will be available to the residents of the cities who depend on this snow pack for their water supply. It's one of the better entries in the series, I think; certainly the straight news Screenliners are better than the Sportscopes.

I'm not into Mario Lanza movies, so I had no desire to see That Midnight Kiss, which was on when I turned the TV on first thing this morning to switch the channel to the Australian Open tennis. The voice of Ethel Barrymore was unmistakeable, however, even under a hat and glasses.

For fans of Traveltalks, James FitzPatrick will be going On the Shores of Nova Scotia early tomorrow morning at 4:21 AM. This one came out in June of 1947, about a year before the Nova Scotia-set Johnny Belinda, although that was done at Warner Bros. Sometimes I wonder whether folks at other studios saw a Traveltalks short and decided to set a movie in that exotic location.

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