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Showing posts from April, 2018

Dial M for Murder (1954)

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) is a former tennis pro, living in London with his young wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Wendice doesn't earn very much in his current line selling sports equipment, but his wife is from a wealthy family and can keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed. But when he discovers that she has been having an affair with an American crime writer, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he fears she will leave him and take her money with her.

So Wendice contacts a shady old friend from Oxford, Charles Swann (Anthony Dawson), on the pretext of buying a car he has for sale. Swann has a dubious background, a list of creditors and petty crimes, a previous spell in jail and a court martial from the army. Wendice uses the carrot and stick approach, offering Swann £1000 if he carries out Margot's murder, and exposure of his crimes if he doesn't.

The Final Programme (1973)

The Final Programme, released in the US as The Last Days of Man on Earth, is a defiantly strange film, a mixture of dystopian sci-fi, comedy, irony, thriller and satire. The plot defies most attempts at a coherent explanation, but a rough attempt at a simple outline is possible. At some time in the near future, a brilliant, Nobel Prize winning scientist, Jerry Cornelius (Jon Finch), his late father's rival (Patrick Magee), bisexual femme fatale Miss Brunner (Jenny Runacre), and a trio of long-suffering scientists (Graham Crowden, George Coulouris and Basil Henson) are among those involved in the search for a valuable microfilm and the creation of The Final Programme. The latter is a scientific experiment to create a new superhuman, an androgynous being merged from a male and a female subject. The two participants have already been chosen, with Miss Brunner as the female.

The African Queen (1951)

In German East Africa in 1914, Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) is a Canadian steamboat captain, who plies his trade along the river in his boat the “African Queen”, occasionally delivering mail and supplies to the village of Kungdu. There he meets, and occasionally awkwardly lunches with, the Reverend Sayer (Robert Morley) and his unmarried sister, Rose (Katharine Hepburn), who run a Methodist church in the village. When war breaks out, German colonial troops come to the village, burning it to the ground and hauling off the native inhabitants as labour. When Allnut returns to the mission post, he finds it deserted, save for Rose and the body of her brother, who died as a result of the German action.