1949 April to June

3rd April 1949 – on the screen – THE BLUE LAGOON

On the screen – for seven days – THE BLUE LAGOON  – a 1949 British romance and adventure film from Universal, produced and directed by Frank Launder, starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The screenplay was adapted by John Baines, Michael Hogan and Frank Launder from the novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The original music score was composed by Clifton Parker and the cinematography was by Geoffrey Unsworth.

The film tells the story of two young children shipwrecked on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. Emotional feelings and physical changes arise as they grow to maturity and fall in love. The film has major thematic similarities to the Biblical account about Adam and Eve.

Watch The Blue Lagoon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGIFPlzMKr4

Completing the programme was – ROLLING HOME – a 1946 American film directed by William Berke and starring Jean Parker, Russell Hayden, and Pamela Blake about a small town minister who adopts an orphan boy and his injured rodeo horse.

10th April – A YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT

On the screen – for seven days – A YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT is a 1949 American Technicolor musical comedy from Paramount, directed by Tay Garnett and starring Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and William Bendix. It was taken from an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The film was originally titled A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for its US release. The film soundtrack was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke. A highlight of the film is the scene in which Hank Martin teaches the court musicians how to “jazz up” the medieval music they are playing. Perhaps the best-known song from the score is “Busy Doing Nothing”, which Hank, Sir Sagramore and the King sing when they are strolling through the woods pretending to be peasants. In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Fantasy Films list.

Watch the US trailer

The support was DYNAMITE – a 1949 Paramount film noir drama film directed by William H. Pine and written by Milton Raison. The film stars William Gargan, Virginia Welles, Richard Crane, Irving Bacon, Mary Newton and Frank Ferguson.

17th April – THE HISTORY OF MR. POLLY

On the screen – for seven days – a 1949 British film from GFD, based on the 1910 comic novel The History of Mr. Polly by H.G. Wells. It was directed by Anthony Pelissier (who is also credited with the script) and stars John Mills, Betty Ann Davies, Megs Jenkins, Moore Marriott and Finlay Currie. It was the first adaptation of one of Wells’s works to be produced after his death in 1946.

A scene from The History Of Mr. Polly

The supporting programme included KINGS OF THE TURF, a 1941 American short documentary film about horse racing, directed by Del Frazier. It was nominated for an Academy Award at the 14th Academy Awards for Best Short Subject.

John Mills in The History Of Mr. Polly

24th April – WHISPERING SMITH

On the screen – for seven days – WHISPERING SMITH, an American Technicolor Western film from Paramount, directed by Leslie Fenton and starring Alan Ladd as a railroad detective assigned to stop a gang of train robbers. The supporting cast includes Robert Preston and Brenda Marshall.

The trailer for Whispering Smith

The supporting feature was SPEED TO SPARE, a 1948 American drama film from Paramount, directed by William Berke, written by Milton Raison, and starring Richard Arlen, Jean Rogers, Richard Travis, Roscoe Karns, Nanette Parks and Pat Phelan.

1st May – IT’S NOT CRICKET

On the screen – for seven days – It’s Not Cricket is a 1949 British comedy film directed by Alfred Roome and starring Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Susan Shaw and Maurice Denham. It is the second (after 1941’s Crook’s Tour) of two starring films for Radford and Wayne who appeared as supporting players in ten other films. It was also one of the final films made by Gainsborough Pictures before the studio was merged into the Rank Organisation.

A scene from the film ‘Its Not Cricket’

The supporting feature was The Lost Moment, a 1947 film noir psychological thriller film with elements of horror directed by Martin Gabel and starring Robert Cummings, Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorehead.

8th May – UNFAITHFULLY YOURS

On the screen – for seven days – UNFAITHFULLY YOURS – EMPIRE – a 1948 American screwball black comedy from 20th Century Fox, written and directed by Preston Sturges and starring Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Rudy Vallée and Barbara Lawrence. The film is about a man’s failed attempt to murder his wife, who he believes has been unfaithful to him. Although the film, which was the first of two Sturges made for Twentieth Century-Fox, received mostly positive reviews, it was not successful at the box office. Critics usually attribute this to the darkness of the subject matter, especially for a comedy. The idea of a bungling murderer did not sit well with 1948 audiences, and the fact that none of the characters is especially sympathetic certainly did not help. In 2008, director Quentin Tarantino placed the film at number 8 in his top 11 movies of all time.

Watch the trailer for Unfaithfully Yours

Support was THE TENDER YEARS, a 1948 American drama film directed by Harold D. Schuster, written by Arnold Belgard, Abem Finkel and Jack Jungmeyer, and starring Joe E. Brown, Richard Lyon, Noreen Nash, Charles Drake, Josephine Hutchinson and James Millican. It was released by 20th Century Fox.

15th May – FLOODTIDE

On the screen – for seven days – EMPIRE – FLOODTIDE – a 1949 British romantic drama film from Rank’s GFD, directed by Frederick Wilson and starring Gordon Jackson, Rona Anderson, John Laurie and Jimmy Logan.  The film was one of the four of David Rawnsley’s films that used his “independent frame” technique, a form of back projection. It tells the story of a young Scotsman who  becomes a ship designer instead of following the family tradition and entering farming. He works his way up the firm, marries the boss’s daughter, and revolutionises shipbuilding.

CANON CITY, the supporting feature is an American film starring Scott Brady, it is centered around a prison escape from the Colorado State Penitentiary. There are 12 escapees and it shows the efforts placed to capture these men.

Watch the full film of Canon City here: – – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KetVk1VBEQ0

22nd May – MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE

On the screen – for seven days – MR BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE – EMPIRE – a 1948 American comedy film from RKO,  directed by H. C. Potter and starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas. The film was written and produced by the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, and was an adaptation of Eric Hodgins’ popular 1946 novel, illustrated by Shrek! author William Steig. The Blandings live in New York in a tiny apartment. They decide to move to the country and find that buying and building and living in their own home is easier said than done.

This film was the third and last pairing of Grant and Loy, who had shared a comfortable chemistry previously in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) and Wings in the Dark (1935). The film was a huge box office hit.

Watch the trailer for a subsequent re-issue of this hit film

Making up the double bill was THE WINDOW, a 1949 American black-and-white suspense film noir, based on the short story “The Boy Cried Murder” by Cornell Woolrich about a lying boy who suspects that his neighbors are killers. The film, which was a critical success, was produced by Frederic Ullman Jr. and was a box office hit for RKO Pictures. The film was directed by Ted Tetzlaff, who worked as a cinematographer on over 100 films, including another successful suspense film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious . For his performance in this film, Bobby Driscoll was presented with a miniature Oscar statuette as the outstanding juvenile actor of 1949 at the 1950 Academy Awards ceremony.

29th May – ENCHANTMENT

On the screen – for seven days – ENCHANTMENT – EMPIRE – a romantic film starring David Niven and Teresa Wright, from RKO and directed by Irving Reis, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and based on the novel Take Three Tenses by Rumer Godden. The film is about Uncle Rollo who finally retires to the house he was brought up in. Lost in thoughts of his lost love, Lark, he does not want to be disturbed in his last days. However, the appearance of his niece and the subsequent romance between her and Lark’s nephew causes him to re-evaluate his life and offer some advice so the young couple don’t make the same mistake he did, all those years ago.

The original trailer for Enchantment

The full supporting programme featured THE OSTRICH (CARTOON) and CHISOKO THE AFRICAN.

5th June – THE PERFECT WOMAN

On the screen – for seven days – THE PERFECT WOMAN, a 1949 British comedy film directed by Bernard Knowles and written by George Black, Jr and J. B. Boothroyd, based upon a play by Wallace Geoffrey and Basil Mitchell. The screenplay concerns a scientist who creates a woman in his lab. Star of the film, Patricia Roc made the film after spending several months in Paris, where she made Retour and The Man on the Eiffel Tower. Roc was under contract to J. Arthur Rank at the time. The cast included Stanley Holloway, Nigel Patrick, Irene Handl and Dora Bryan. Filming took place in January 1949. The film was shot in 38 days at only three-quarters of its budgeted cost. It was made at Denham Studios with sets designed by James Elder Wills. Pamela Devis was cast as the robot because of her resemblance to Roc.            

A scene from the film The Perfect Woman

The other half of this double bill was JIGSAW, a 1949 American film from United Artists a noir crime drama directed by Fletcher Markle starring Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace and Marc Lawrence. The feature was produced by the Danziger Brothers, Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger, from a screenplay by Vincent McConnor and Fletcher Markle, based on a story by John Roeburt. Of note is that the film has cameo appearances by Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Burgess Meredith, Marsha Hunt, Doe Avedon, Everett Sloane, newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons, and the director Fletcher Markle.

There was also an edition of Rank’s This Modern Age.

12th June – MEXICAN HAYRIDE

On the screen – for seven days – MEXICAN HAYRIDE, a 1948 Universal film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The film is based on Cole Porter’s Broadway musical Mexican Hayride starring Bobby Clark. Both Costello and Abbott objected to the making of this film. Costello wanted a different cast, including Carmen Miranda and Lucille Ball, while Abbott simply hated the script. They were both suspended for a week, and filming began only 2 days behind schedule. Costello’s brother Pat plays one of the detectives on his trail. The Cole Porter song “I Love You” sung by Virginia Grey and John Hubbard was filmed but cut from the released movie. No songs from the stage musical were used in the film.

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The opening of Mexican Hayride

Making up the programme was CRISS CROSS a 1949 crime film noir from Universal and directed by Robert Siodmak starring Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea, from Don Tracy’s novel of the same name. This black-and-white film was shot partly on location in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles. The film was written by Daniel Fuchs. Franz Planer’s cinematography creates a black-and-white film noir world. Miklós Rózsa scored the film’s soundtrack.

Finally an edition of THIS MODERN AGE, a monthly news cinemagazine, produced by the Rank Organisation. It was similar in style to The March of Time, to which it was often compared, usually unfavourably. There were forty-one issues in all, from October 1946 to January 1951. Each issue was devoted to a single story, lasting around twenty minutes. The executive producer was Sergei Nolbandov, Eric Cross the chief cinematographer, and the commentators were Bruce Belfrage, Leo Genn, Robert Harris and Bernard Miles

19th June – WAKE OF THE RED WITCH

On the screen – for seven days – WAKE OF THE RED WITCH, a 1948 American adventure film directed by Edward Ludwig and starring John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young, Adele Mara, and Luther Adler. Produced by Edmund Grainger, it is based upon the 1946 novel of the same name by Garland Roark. The film was distributed by Republic Pictures. Rare for a film produced by Republic Pictures, Wake of the Red Witch is an A movie that had a relatively high budget for its production, becoming one of Republic Pictures’ most successful releases.  John Wayne stars as a sea captain in the early 1860s East Indies out for revenge against a wealthy shipping magnate.     

Watch the film in its entirety – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJcnNcpwrxk

Support came in the form of SPECIAL AGENT – a 1949 American film from Paramount, directed by William C. Thomas. Railroad detective Johnny Douglas investigates a payroll robbery and the murder of a train crew. Tedious but thorough police work leads him to the identities of two brothers, Paul and Ed Devereaux. The Devereaux brothers hide the stolen loot and return to their father’s ranch, which they hope to save from foreclosure with the take from the robbery. When the sons of two of the murdered train crew discover the hidden payroll, Johnny has a chance to spring a trap on the Devereaux boys.

26th June – MARRY ME

On the screen – for seven days – MARRY ME, a 1949 British comedy film released by Rank through GFD, directed by Terence Fisher, and starring Derek Bond, Susan Shaw, Patrick Holt, Carol Marsh and David Tomlinson. The stories of several individuals who consult a marriage bureau, including a peer of the realm, his butler, a lonely school teacher, a French girl on the run from a violent boyfriend, a country vicar, and a newspaper reporter, sent by his editor, to do an undercover story. It was not successful at the box-0ffice in Southampton, or anywhere else.

A look back at David Tomlinson’s career

The support was DEAR OCTOPUS a 1943 British comedy film directed by Harold French and starring Margaret Lockwood, Michael Wilding and Celia Johnson, based on the play Dear Octopus written by Dodie Smith.

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