on 9 October 2012
Three cheers for Network/Studio Canal!....After bringing us the excellent "Mysteries of Edgar Wallace" collection, the two have thankfully teamed up again to present the entertaining "Scales of Justice"...And the great news is that the picture and sound quality on this black & white/colour collection is excellent, and presented in the original widescreen aspect ratio (1.66:1). The only extra is a very brief image gallery, there are no subtitles.
Produced by Anglo-Amalgamated at the legendary Merton Park studios between 1962/67, these second features were originally released for distribution through British cinemas, and are based on real-life cases. Presented by famous criminologist, Edgar Lustgarten (Scotland Yard series), in some ways the stories evoke memories of Lustgarten's fondly-remembered earlier series, thanks mainly to the style & presentation, with Lustgarten's brief intro followed by a pleasing occasional narrative. Each story unfolds in retrospect before rounding off with the court case.
With an interestingly varied collection of crimes, each story is directed at a good pace with solid performances from a host of familiar guest stars from the era (see below). For those who enjoyed the previous "Scotland Yard" (another Anglo-Amalgamated production) I would say these 30-minute crime features are well worth a look - great nostalgia. This release includes the complete collection of thirteen films. I will refrain from adding any comments on individual stories for fear of giving away spoilers. The inside of the DVD case features an episode synopsis which I have included below, along with a few details....
*THE GUILTY PARTY (1962,B/W)....Edward Sinclair and his wife, Thelma, live surrounded by luxury and all the trappings of wealth. But Sinclair himself is weighed down heavily by debts...
Starring Derek Francis, Jack Gwillam, Anthony Jacobs, Jean Lodge, Zena Marshall & Wensley Pithey. Directed by Lionel Harris.
*A WOMAN'S PRIVILEGE (1962,B/W)....Shirley Fawcett, taking a cruise to cheer herself up after a broken romance, meets Joe Ashton, a mature bachelor with a one-man business. Friendship rapidly turns to love - but the relationship is soon to turn sour.
Starring Bernard Archard, Ernest Clark, Noel Hood, Ann Lynn & Patrick Wymark. Directed by Anthony Bushell.
*MOMENT OF DECISION (1962,B/W)....A nursemaid loses the baby in her charge.
Starring Ray Barratt, Pat Healy, Marjie Lawrence, Michael Aspel, Viola Keats, Tim Hudson, Norman Claridge, Lisa Madron & Michael Sarne. Directed by John Knight.
*POSITION OF TRUST (1963,B/W)....The wild son of a powerful industrialist plans an illicit weekend away from his fiancee with Yvonne, a pretty French girl. However, on their first morning at the hotel a man barges into their bedroom and announces that he is a private detective - acting for Yvonne's husband.
Starring Peter Barkworth, Geoffrey Chater, Imogen Hassall, Cyril Luckham, Michael Nightingale & Edward Atienza. Directed by Lionel Harris.
*THE UNDESIRABLE NEIGHBOUR (1963,B/W)....When Anna and Peter, a young married couple, move into a new home, the attractive Anna proves popular with the local men. Inevitably, the resident gossips are intrigued - and one in particular takes her investigation rather too far.
Starring Vanda Godsell, Bridget Armstrong, Anthony Newlands, Ronald Hatton, Dorinda Stevens, Garfield Morgan & Howard Pays. Directed by Gordon Hales.
*THE INVISIBLE ASSET (1963,B/W)....In a city restaurant, the owner blackmails his most influential customers by using a hidden microphone on a special table.
Starring Annette Carell, Philip Latham, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Kenneth J. Warren, John Wentworth, Gabriella Licudi & Stanley Morgan. Directed by Norman Harrison.
*PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL (1965,B/W)....Found in the briefcase of the man in room 755, who fell - or was pushed - from a seventh-storey window, is the red file; it is marked 'Top Secret'.
Starring Robert Cartland, Howard Lang, Harry Littlewood, Ellen McIntosh, Billy Milton, Geoffrey Toone & Windsor Davies. Directed by Geoffrey Nethercott.
*THE HIDDEN FACE (1965,B/W)....Jane Penshurst is the author of a book attacking an MP, Milsom. When Milsom shoots himself, his son, William, seeks revenge.
Starring Richard Butler, Jill Dixon, Vernon Dobtcheff, Christine Finn, Gretchen Franklin, Robert James & Alec MacIntosh. Directed by Patrick Dromgoole.
*THE MATERIAL WITNESS (1965,B/W)....A young man is the personal assistant to a company executive who has very little time for him.
Starring John Horsley, Harry Locke, Reginald Marsh, Sally Nesbitt, Noel Trevarthen & Hector Ross. Directed by Geoffrey Nethercott.
*COMPANY OF FOOLS (1966/colour)....Five strangers from varied walks of life come together to investigate the life of a man who has caused them all serious financial losses, and to exact their own private revenge.
Starring Barrie Ingham, Jacqueline Jones, Maurice Kaufman, Barry Keegan, Garfield Morgan, Robert Dorning, Dorothy Frere & Frank Williams. Directed by Peter Duffell.
*THE HAUNTED MAN (1966/colour)....Actor Bill Kenton, injured trying to prevent a raid on a shop, returns to his career to find that he cannot remember his lines. Forced to leave the theatre, he becomes obsessed with finding the thieves.
Starring Keith Barron, Alexandra Bastedo, Isobel Black, James Ellis, Tenniel Evans & John Gabriel. Directed by Stanley Willis.
*INFAMOUS CONDUCT (1966/colour)....Surgeon Anthony Searle is struck off the medical register following accusations of misconduct. Deserted by his wife, he seeks solace by the coast, where he becomes involved with a young artist, Janet. A meeting with Janet's cousin, however, leads him into dangerous territory.
Starring Dermot Walsh, Bridget Armstrong, Ewen Solon, Richard Warner, Terry Wale, Nancy Nevinson & Norman Scace. Directed by Richard Martin.
*PAYMENT IN KIND (1967/colour)....The dedicated wife of a struggling businessman falls behind on hire purchase payments, and the debt collector suggests 'payment in kind'.
Starring Maxine Audley, Brian Haines, Justine Lord, Derrick Sherwin, Gwen Cherrell & Henry McGee. Directed by Peter Duffell.
Another welcome release from Network.