Movie Diary 8/8/2018

Beyond the Curtain (Compton Bennett, 1960). A cheapjack Cold War thing, with a plot that predicts the Baryshnikov thriller White Nights. East German stewardess Eva Bartok works for an American airline, but her plane is forced down in Leipzig when it strays from the flight plan to Berlin. The authorities grab her and trundle her back to Mama’s house in Dresden, where old friend and Red operative Marius Goring tries to convince her to stay in the East. Not too impressive, except for some of the rubble-strewn location shooting and Bartok’s occasionally livewire performance. Richard Greene is the nominal hero.

Emergency (Francis Searle, 1962). Another one from the Brit-film low-budget pile, thanks to Talking Pictures TV. A little girl walking by herself is knocked down in traffic (the movie’s one truly startling moment), and she requires surgery. Her blood type is super-rare, and neither of her estranged parents (Dermot Walsh, Zena Walker) can donate. Only three people in England have the right blood type: a murderer on Death Row, a footballer about to play his 100th international match, and a nuclear scientist – he thinks that when the cops knock on his door, they’ve figured out he’s actually a Soviet spy, and so goes on the lam. Glyn Houston plays the cop in charge, although his manner doesn’t always match his Popeye Doyle-like patter. Pretty drab. Director Searle made a huge number of B-pictures; maybe there’s a cult possibility there?

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