Movie Diary 9/3/2018

No Love for Johnnie (Ralph Thomas, 1961). Peter Finch is a member of Parliament, a man of shallow ambition, whose wife leaves him just as his upstairs neighbor (Billie Whitelaw) makes her interest clear. But he is distracted by another woman (Mary Peach), and his political career suffers accordingly. Or does it? A grown-up, if somewhat dull, stab at making serious cinema around the time the new adult films were coming in Britain. In some ways it fails to come to life because Finch plays the role so neutrally – maybe the part needs someone we know in his heart is lousy. You know, like Laurence Harvey.

No Subway in the Sky (Muriel Box, 1959). Truly offbeat yarn about an American military doctor (Van Johnson) who must hole up in his own Berlin apartment – currently being rented by a very surprised cabaret singer (Hildegarde Knef) – when he is suspected of dealing drugs. At least I think that’s what’s going on; the labored plot was never entirely clear, just that an Army investigator (Cec Linder, obnoxious) keeps lurking around Knef’s pad. Not a lot of oomph here, and Knef and Johnson make one of those classic no-way-these-two-get-together mismatched couples. Knef does a song, in her way, which is to say a certain Teutonic Marlene Dietrich tradition of nightclub crooning.