Friday, June 8, 2018

Bombsight Stolen

Another of those old British movies that I bought of Amazon from one of the gray-market distributors is Cottage to Let. It was apparently released in the US back in the day under the title Bomsight Stolen, but the DVD calls it by its original British title.

Young George Cole plays Ronald, one of a group of British youths that has been sent north from London because it's about 1940 and the Germans are busy bombing London. Children were brought north, or even to Canada, to escape the bombing, and this group is going to be billeted in a small Scottish town. Mrs. Barrington (Jeanne De Casalis) signed up to put two of them in an outbuilding of their large home, but it turns out that Mrs. Barrington is a bit flighty. She's already offered use of the cottage as an infirmary for a Spitfire pilot, Flt. Lt. Perry (John Mills) who has crash-landed and is recovering, while it also had a "cottage to let" sign (hence the British title of the movie), with Charles Dimble (Alastair Sim) having shown up insistent that he has a contract to take the cottage for the summer. It's going to be an interesting time at the Barrington house.

Which brings us to the other title of the movie. John Barrington (Leslie Banks) is an inventor who has been holing himself up at this place here in Scotland because he's a bit of an eccentric who doesn't want to deal with the government authorities if he can avoid it. That, and it turns out that the Nazis have already stolen a previous of his inventions that he came up with as part of the war effort. He thinks that being more secluded makes it more likely that he won't be found out, while military intelligence thinks that it would be better for him to come down to London and work there. If need be, they'll send somebody up to keep an eye on Barrington.

As you can probably guess, that somebody is going to be necessary because there's already almost certainly a Nazi plant on the estate trying to get those valuable military secrets. Pretty much anybody there could be working for either side. We do find out about two-thirds of the way through the movie just who is working for the Nazis and who is working to stop the Nazis, leading to a reasonably exciting climax.

Cottage to Let is one of those little movies that I found quite entertaining. Well, I should say that I'll probably find it really entertaining if I get around to watching it a second time. I wasn't paying quite as much attention as I should have been during the first half of the movie, with the result that I found it a bit hard to keep track of all the twists and turns. Part of that, however, is deliberate on that part of the writers.

Alastair Sim is quite good as always, with the surprise being newcomer Cole. Cole was actually a sort of foster son to Sim, which might explain how he got the role. (Sim was also training him in acting.) At any rate, it led to a 60-year career in movies and TV for Cole. Mills has a smaller role but does well, as do the rest of the cast.

If you'd like to see a British movie that may well be new to you, I can strongly recommend Cottage to Let.

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