Having sat in his room staring at the swinging pendulum of his ticking clock for two years straight, Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) has had time contemplating life and reflecting what the future will hold for him. After being on his own for those years, Stephen fancies the hustle and bustle of London, to be surrounded by people again. He’s probably picked a bad time to visit London, the city is being pounded by the Germans during The Blitz but he’s determined. With a spring in his step he takes off to the local train station. As he leaves his building of residence, the camera pans to show the engraved sign on the wall, Lembridge Asylum!
Tagline – Menace… Behind every shadow! Suspense… In Every Move!
With time to wait for the train and the sound of happy voices, he excitedly investigates a church fete run by volunteers of a charity, The Mothers of Free Nations. With all the ladies wanting his attention and money donations, Stephen is whisked from one stall to another. Before he knows it, he is standing in front of his destiny, the one thing that will change this day into a living nightmare of madness, Nazi spy rings, espionage, fortune tellers, hit-men, bombs, murder, guns, Batman’s servant! and a whole bunch of untrustworthy, dodgy looking people.
What on Earth could be that one thing that starts this horrible chain of events?…….. A cake!! A blooming cake I Tell you!
Poor Stephen Neale has an eventful series of misadventures ahead of him and every turn he takes, it brings another adventure, as he crosses paths with a series of mysterious characters. From the likes of brother and sister duo Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds) and Willi Hilfe (Carl Esmond), private detective George Rennit (Erskine Sanford), a shadowy figure (Percy Waram), a posh looking stern chap called Mr Cost (Dan Duryea), a top psychiatrist called Dr Forrester (Alan Napier) and the crazy beautiful and mysterious spirit medium Mrs Bellane (Hillary Brooke).
There a hell of a lot going on in this mystery drama, racing along at blistering speed. With everyone looking mighty suspicious and danger lurking around every corner, can our hero work out WTF is going on? Or could it all be in his mind, remember he has only recently been released from a mental asylum? Whatever it maybe, it sure is entertaining being onboard this crazy train journey through the Ministry Of Fear.
Things I’ve learnt.
- Directed by Fritz Lang whom I’m slowly working my way through his films. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt and The Big Heat both recent to me and amazing. I have Hangmen Also Die and M on the starter blocks ready to race on to my screens. Plus I saw it stoned as a youth but I really need to see Metropolis again. Sure to appreciate it on a whole new level. Please feel free to recommend others.
- The images and cinematography are just divine, especially early shots of Ray Milland and the Medium Hillary Brooke.
- Made me chuckle to myself as Ray Milland sits with the fortune teller at the beginning and I thought, hey, in the future you will be switching roles and become the all seeing eye in X The Man With X-Ray Eyes.
- Based on the novel of the same name by Graham Greene. A man who penned many classics which were adapted into film. From Brighton Rock, Our Man In Havana, The Quiet American and also wrote the story for director Carol Reed noir classic, The Third Man. With knowing Soviet spy Kim Philby and connections with M16, traveling the world, to meeting Fidel Castro, Graham Greene sounds like he saw a lot of life. Would like to see a documentary on him if there is one!
I really enjoyed this fun twisting mystery noir drama. I know I’m late to the party but how much fun I’m having catching up with all these fantastic movies. If you’ve seen it or go off and see it, feel free to let me know what you thought if you wish.
Where will movieland take me next? Who knows! Thanks for popping by. Mikey The Wolf