on 23 September 2013
This set contains the greatest ever Ealing film ever made and I am surprised it is a rarity. Freida - made in 1947. This is a brilliant story of a German girl , Frieda, who is a nurse in Germany and helps a RAF officer escape. They arrive back together in to a small town in southern England in March 1945 and of course England and Germany are still at war. Forgiving the fact Frieda would have been an enemy alien no doubt and interned , she moves in with the RAF officer and his family where she initially meets some hostility. As peace comes she is gradually accepted and makes final acceptance but when her long lost brother turns up her whole life is upset. Great performances from all , especially Mai Zetterling who plays Freida. Classic Ealing. The other films in the box are not as good but reasonable.
on 18 August 2013
Quite by chance I elected to watch "Cage of Gold" (1950) before sampling the other three films in this four-film collection. There were two drawbacks to this, first and foremost was to see David Farrar playing a "blighter" called Bill Glennan. Bill Glennan is an ex-wing commander who does as much for the reputation of ex-servicemen as woodworm might an antique chair. Farrar has to look and do evil when he is possibly better suited to playing the opposite sort of guy, as he does in "Frieda" the other worthwhile film from this set. (And so let me say without delay, the other two films were, for me, tedious in the extreme.)
"Cage of Gold" is a fast moving plot with many twists as Farrar goes about duping one nice girl after another (well, three to be exact!). Jean Simmons, as Judith Moray, had met Glennan when a young lassie during the war when she had a crush on the man in uniform. Now, some few years later, a chance meeting in London heralds havoc for the girl and her new boyfriend/fiancé Dr Alan Keam (James Donald). One is not quite sure in the early stages quite how rotten Gelnnan will turn out but his duplicity is shortly laid bare and within hours of having married Judith, again through a chance encounter this time with an old pal in a pub. By now Judith is pregnant, but when Glennan finds she is not willing to approach her father for cash that the nay-do-well had been banking upon, off he goes back to France to continue his racketeering there and to take up with another woman not quite where he had left off.
And so it goes. Herbert Lom fans will be glad to see him in a minor role, but one to which he is well adapted (versatile as always). Most of the film is quite plausible in its unpredictability. However, it amused me to find another rare example of where a piano tuner is featured in the background doing to the instrument what might best be achieved in a knackers yard. (A small detail, perhaps; people just do not appear to appreciate the skills of the piano technician.)
The ending comes as something of a surprise, too, when the proverbial bad penny gets his final comeuppance.
As we have indicated, Farrar plays a different character in "Frieda" (1947), though again dressed for some of the time in RAF uniform. This is a touching story in many ways (some aspects exaggerated a little, maybe), but the German phobia was quite real here in Britain during both World Wars. (In WW1, for example, the Bechstein pianos at the Wigmore Hall studios in London were given the boot.)
The film opens with WW2 still in progress in its later stages. David Farrar plays Robert Dawson who has been rescued (the details are sketchy) by a German lass named Frieda played by Mai Zetterling. They are hastily married before the two make it back to England where the Dawson extended family treat Frieda ranging from hostile to welcoming. The situation is not helped by the fact that Roberrt's brother has been shot down and killed over enemy territory and that he (Robert) had been in love with his sister-in-law, Judy Dawson (Glynis Johns). Judy is aware of this but is one of those, along with her mother-in-law, who display friendship towards Frieda.
The Frieda/Robert marriage was invalid for reasons we need not go into here. After many a false starts, the couple re-marry; but Robert clearly does not have his heart in the union and appears only to have offered marriage out of a duty to the girl who saved his life in the war.
Subsequently we experience a softening of attitudes on the part of some but Nell Dawson (Flora Robson) harbours a grudge against all Germans that she does not attempt to conceal. Matters come to a head shortly after the war's ending when Frieda's brother Richard (Albert Lieven) turns up at the Dawson home. Initially he appears friendly enough but he is cast to play the bad guy and to get embroiled with Robert in a physical scrap which sees the demise "Ricky" and a rejection of Frieda by Robert that drives the girl to attempt suicide by throwing herself from a bridge into the cold waters of a fast flowing river below.
Robert rescues her, quite how almost beggars belief. The upshot is that even Nell amends her judgement of humankind and the tale ends in full reconciliation all round. If only the real world could be like that?!
I would give an overall rating of four stars in respect of the two films mentioned above in some detail. The remaining two films are below par in every respect. Incidentally, the second drawback mentioned at the beginning was to have had my expectations of the latter two films in the collection raised to a level that was not fully realised.
"The Impassive Footman" (1932) and "Death Drives Through" (1935) are both curios from a bygone age - one might even describe them as relics. Be warned, in the case of the latter there is a good deal of motor racing with fast moving images that could be troublesome to some viewers with epileptic tendencies; noise is also a problem.
on 30 January 2014
Joan Collins makes a brilliant debut in this film, it was only later in her career she became a caricature. Glynis Johns is always fabulous; funny, witty, beautiful and sometimes deliciously wayward. have not watched "Death Drives Through" yet but will. I keep these Ealing for when a fancy an old film.
on 25 January 2015
This , particular (resemble ) of Britt movies is just great For those who rediscovered , the man and actor behind , rather sad and thinky glance but all togather lion look of King Xerxes ! in 300 Spartans , The English actor David Farrar in ( Frieda ) and in ( Cage of Gold ) ! The former a very straight and honest guy , in rural Family where we feel strong anty Germanism as this is post ww2 epoch , and sound naturar , haw a man can love after all without falling in Love , good direction ,as for the second the ( Cage of Gold ) the famouse attribute of Farrar as a perfect villain is more then half truth , so he portraits a restless , man with broken psychic pain ! not even a drifter ! or less a hitter for he could have been rich all his life with the banker 's daughter ! And all he got was his death , through the jealouse lover ' s gun shot , again good direction . Every good classics .
on 25 January 2014
I first saw this as a teenager on TV and the film really struck a chord. It's a film about bigotry and how we (sometimes) unfairly judge others and, in doing so, the catastrophic consequences it can cause.
I've been on the lookout for this film for some time. I could never understand why it wasn't released. Perhaps the subject matter was a bit too controversial at the time. It was available on eBay as out of copyright - but that was a very poor print (taken from a VHS tape by the look of it). Anyway, it's here now on an official DVD and it looks just great. The print quality is as sharp as it could be considering it's quite an old B&W film.
Pity there's no extras as some behind-the-scenes stuff would have been interesting. I can't speak for the other films but, for me, it's worth buying just for this.