Movie Diary 10/23/2018

Scream of Fear (Seth Holt, 1961). Susan Strasberg plays a young woman in a wheelchair who returns to the family Côte d’Azur estate to find her father out of town and the place run by a frosty-blank stepmother (Ann Todd) and the strapping chauffeur (Ronald Lewis). A guessing game, with a few horrific moments, ensues. Man, there were a lot of movies like this at the time. This one is very nicely handled, as Holt and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe create a morbid sense of the home as a trap. Strasberg doesn’t leave much of an impression, but Ann Todd (a few years past her work on The Paradine Case and her films with ex-husband David Lean) squeezes every ounce out of her ambiguous close-ups.

The Green Man (Robert Day, 1956). A very swift, sprightly movie, with some of the sardonic humor of Kind Hearts and Coronets. Alastair Sim plays an assassin (usually killing people who deserve it) plotting to place a bomb in the vicinity of a politician (Raymond Huntley). This leads to major farcical complications involving a vacuum cleaner salesman (George Cole) and the assassin’s new neighbor (the fun Jill Adams); her fiancé (Colin Gordon) is a stuffy BBC radio host from whom she needs to be liberated. Terry-Thomas gets high billing but only appears in the final act, to amusing effect. Good comic timing throughout, and Sim gives a very spirited, physically busy performance. This was the first film directed by Robert Day, who went on to a long career in Hollywood, making some key early-70s TV-movies and working on pretty much every TV series you can name. Apparently he didn’t get on with Sim, and part of this film was directed by Basil Dearden.


One Response

  1. Director Robert Day married Dorothy Provine, a UW grad and talented actress.

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