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Our online films
One Rainy Afternoon
Professor Ian Christie writes:
Working on an essay about [Michael] Powell & [Emeric] Pressburger‘s metaphors of vision, I realised some of Emeric’s non-Powell films are now easier to access than in the past. One of his most successful scripts from the French period Monsieur Sans-Gene was remade in Hollywood as One Rainy Afternoon, which starts with a fateful mix-up over seats for a clandestine rendezvous in a Paris cinema. Best known today for a luminous performance by Ida Lupino, it actually holds up well in most departments, including Francis Lederer‘s elegant leading man. I wonder how much of the script is Emeric’s…?’
Corridor of Mirrors
The following text is from a programme note compiled for a 2016 screening at Birkbeck College, as part of a ‘High Forties’ series presented by the London Screen Study Collection at Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image (BIMI).
Since it was published quite recently on DVD, this all but forgotten film has acquired a growing reputation. Not only is it stylistically impressive, especially for its art direction (filmed in a French studio), but it launched several important careers. Terence Young would go on to make some of the earliest (and best) Bond films, while Christopher Lee became a mainstay in British screen acting, initially with Hammer horrors. Some may also remember Barbara Mullen from her later role in Doctor Finlay’s Casebook on TV, although here she plays a very different character. And after Wanted for Murder, and Powell & Pressburger’s A Canterbury Tale, Eric Portman here plays another of his sinister Sadean anti-heroes. Georges Auric was already one of the most distinguished of French composers, part of the ‘Les Six’ group, and famous for his Cocteau collaborations, and later director of the Paris opera.
The one person who did not go on to a distinguished screen career is Edana Romney, for whom the film seems to have been set up. Coming from South Africa and trained as a dancer, Romney was married to producer John Woolf, who appears to have created Apollo Productions to launch her career as an aspiring star (she had appeared in a 1941 low-budget thriller East of Piccadilly). She appeared in a number of television dramas (including an early 1938 production), which may explain this production being overseen by Rudolph Cartier, one of the BBC’s pioneer directors, who apparently co-scripted with Romney.
Altogether an intriguing mix of talents, coming together at a perilous moment in the British film industry, when a dispute with the Hollywood majors plunged both Rank and Korda into economic crisis, and led to the government’s Board of Trade, under Harold Wilson, setting up a fiscal safety-net for British production.