Movie Diary 10/24/2018

Jet Storm (Cy Endfield, 1959). Richard Attenborough is a madman with a bomb on a transatlantic plane, Stanley Baker the even-tempered pilot, Diane Cilento a resourceful passenger, Mai Zetterling the bomber’s wife. A very watchable cast in a small-scaled disaster movie, in other words, with various interesting types among the passengers, including Hermione Baddeley, Goon Show member Harry Secombe, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Elizabeth Sellars, and David Kossoff. It’s tidy all the way around, and Attenborough makes the most of his opportunities. Also in the cast is early Brit rock and roller Marty Wilde, who croons the title song, which is sadly not available on YouTube.

House of Blackmail (Maurice Elvey, 1953). Odd little comedy whodunit, in which a woman (Mary Germaine, a hip presence) drags a wisenheimer hitchhiker (William Sylvester) into the home of a blackmailer – her brother owes the loanshark a huge amount of money. Murder happens. The breezy tone makes it pleasant. Sylvester is the U.S.-born actor who made a career in Britain and plays the inimitable Dr. Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Johnny English Strikes Again (David Kerr, 2018). A harmless third film for Rowan Atkinson’s terrible secret agent, with a reasonable amount of slapstick jokes and Emma Thompson as the Prime Minister.