Saturday, April 4, 2009

Seven Days to Noon

I've mentioned my enjoyment of the "little" British pictures of the post-War era before, and TCM is showing another of them at noon ET on April 5: Seven Days to Noon.

The plot sounds familiar, except that this is one of the first movies to use it. A British research facility is doing scientific work on nuclear weapons. One evening, the people there find that, to their horror, one of the weapons has gone missing. Not only that, but one of the leading researchers has gone missing too. Needless to say, it doesn't take long before the police get the news they must be dreading: a ransom note from the professor. If the UK doesn't stop doing nuclear research, the professor is going to detonate the bomb somewhere in London. It's the ultimate form of unilateral disarmament.

The rest of the movie is good, if a bit predictable: the British authorities go into overdrive in their attempt to find the professor. Meanwhile, the professor has some narrow, coincidentally lucky escapes as he just avoids getting caught. Also, there's the standard-issue romance between the professor's daughter and one of his young assistants, neither of whom want to believe that he could really do such a dastardly thing.... Of course, you know when watching a movie like this that the bomb isn't going to go off, but seeing how the authorities ultimately stop it from happening is what makes the movie so interesting -- particularly watching them engage in a mass evacuation of a significant proportion of London.

Barry Jones plays the professor, and he's pretty darn good here, appropriately clever and slightly mad. The rest of the cast complements him nicely, even if they're not very well-known names. Like many of these small British picutres, Seven Days to Noon is not available on DVD, so you'll have to catch TCM's showing.

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