1st January – SLATTERY’S HURRICANE
On the screen – for seven days – SLATTERY’S HURRICANE – The first film at the renamed Gaumont Cinema, is a 1949 American drama film directed by Andre DeToth and starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell and Veronica Lake. It is based on a story submitted by Herman Wouk, who also coauthored the screenplay and published a novel of the film in 1956. Slattery’s Hurricane ia bout Will Slattery (Richard Widmark), a former World War II Navy pilot still on inactive reserve, who forcibly takes his employer’s Grumman Mallard from the estate in Miami and heads for an incoming hurricane. He obtains his bearings from a Navy control tower by pretending to be a weather patrol flight. Despite a threat of court martial when the Navy discovers the ruse, Slattery flies into the storm, reviewing his life in flashback for the next hour.
Herman Wouk came upon the idea for Slattery’s Hurricane while researching weather data for his future Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny. After publishing it as a short story in The American Magazine, he submitted the idea to Twentieth Century Fox, and was commissioned by Fox in January 1948 to write a concise plot and flesh out characters for a proposed screenplay. Wouk, a budding novelist, instead rewrote the story as a book, for which Fox procured the film rights for $50,000. He was paid an additional $25,000 to co-write the screenplay with Richard Murphy. Fox writers A. I. Bezzerides, John Monks, Jr. and William Perlberg also had uncredited roles in drafting the screenplay, which was finished in September 1948. The novel itself was not published until 1956. Both Tyrone Power and Dana Andrews were originally considered for the role of Slattery before Widmark, in just his sixth role, was cast as the lead.
Dolores’ characterization as a drug addict in the original story became a major issue between the studio and the Production Code Administration (PCA). The studio apparently ignored a memo from PCA head Joseph Breen sent in November 1948, which advised that it would be necessary to remove this characterization as it was in direct violation of the Production Code. Several weeks later, the PCA again complained that the revised final script still characterized Dolores as a drug addict, and noted “that there has now been introduced into this script a highly offensive sexuality and adulterous relationship between Slattery and Aggie.” As a result, the adultery was diluted down to dialogue innuendo and actions suggestive of a sexual affair. Breen warned Colonel Jason S. Joy, Director of Public Relations for Fox, that if the drug addiction were to be left in the finished picture, it would not be approved by the PCA. In April 1949, her hospitalization sequence was reshot, and the script rewritten so that the drug problem was replaced with an implied psychiatric condition. However, her fictional admission slip to a psychiatric ward is shown close-up to the audience and displays a diagnosis of “pharmacopsychosis”, or psychosis resulting from drug use.
The programme was completed with RUSTY’S BIRTHDAY a black-and-white American juvenile drama, released by Columbia Pictures in November 1949. Structured as an hour-long second feature, it is the final entry in the eight-film low-budget series which centers on the bond between the German Shepherd dog Rusty and the boy Danny Mitchell, portrayed by Ted Donaldson. Rusty’s Birthday was directed by Seymour Friedman, and also stars John Litel (who played Danny’s father in five of the eight films) and Ann Doran (who played Danny’s mother in six films) as his parents, Hugh and Ethel Mitchell.
8th January – SO DEAR TO MY HEART
On the screen – for seven days – SO DEAR TO MY HEART – is a 1948 American feature film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Like 1946’s Song of the South, the film combines animation and live action. It is based on the 1943 Sterling North book Midnight and Jeremiah. The book was revised by North to parallel the film’s storyline amendments and then re-issued under the same title as the film. Set in Indiana in 1903, the film tells the tale of Jeremiah Kincaid (Bobby Driscoll) and his determination to raise a black-wool lamb that was once rejected by its mother. Jeremiah names the lamb Danny for the famed race horse Dan Patch (who is also portrayed in the film). Jeremiah’s dream of showing Danny at the Pike County Fair must overcome the obstinate objections of his loving yet tough grandmother Granny (Beulah Bondi). Jeremiah’s confidant Uncle Hiram (Burl Ives) is the boy’s steady ally. Inspired by the animated figures and stories, the boy perseveres.
Making up the programme was Monogram Picture’s KIDNAPPED, a 1948 drama directed by William Beaudine, starring Roddy McDowall, Sue England and Dan O’Herlihy. The former child star McDowall plays David Balfour in the story about a young man cheated out of his birthright by his wicked, covetous uncle Ebenezer (Houseley Stevenson).
15th January – TOKYO JOE
On the screen – for seven days – TOKYO JOE – a 1949 American film from Columbia Pictures, a noir crime film directed by Stuart Heisler from a story by Steve Fisher, adapted by Walter Doniger and starring Humphrey Bogart, Alexander Knox, Florence Marly, and Sessue Hayakawa. This was Heisler’s first of two features starring Bogart, the other was Chain Lightning. After World War II, ex-Colonel Joe Barrett (Humphrey Bogart) returns to Tokyo to see if there is anything left of his pre-war bar and gambling joint (“Tokyo Joe’s”) after all the bombing. Amazingly, it is more or less intact and being run by his old friend Ito (Teru Shimada). Joe is shocked to learn from Ito that his wife Trina (Florence Marly), who he thought had died in the war, is still alive. She has divorced Joe and is married to Mark Landis (Alexander Knox), a lawyer working in the American occupation of Japan. She has a seven-year-old child, Joe’s daughter Anya (Lora Lee Michel), born when Trina was in an internment camp after Joe’s departure from Japan just before Pearl Harbour.
Joe starts up an air freight business, fronting for Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa), former head of the Japanese secret police. Joe believes Kimura will use the airline to smuggle penicillin and other drugs into the country, but discovers he actually intends to smuggle in fugitive war criminals – former senior officers of the Imperial Japanese Army and the leader of the Black Dragon Society – to start a secret anti-American movement. When he balks, Kimura kidnaps Anya to force him to comply. Joe rescues Anya and foils the baron’s plot, but is seriously wounded in the ensuing struggle. Joe is carried out on a stretcher and the film ends without revealing whether he survives.
In support was TROUBLEMAKERS a 1948 comedy film directed by Reginald LeBorg and starring The Bowery Boys. Bowery Boys gang leader Slip Mahoney and another member, Sach, run a star-gazing operation on the sidewalk. When there are no clients around, Slip and Sach use the big telescope themselves to watch the city in motion, and discover a man being strangled in a room at the El Royale Hotel, not very far from where they are standing. The boys contact their friend within the police department, former gang member Gabe Moreno, and together they go to the hotel to investigate the matter further.
22nd January – A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY
On the screen – for seven days – A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY – a 1949 Ealing Studios comedy film from Gaumont, starring Donald Houston and Meredith Edwards as two Welshmen visiting London for the first time. The supporting cast includes Alec Guinness, Moira Lister and Hugh Griffith. The two Welsh coal miners are supposed to be met at Paddington station by Whimple (Alec Guinness), a gardening columnist on the paper, but nobody told them. Then the two miners become separated when Dai is picked up by attractive con artist Jo (Moira Lister) after she overhears them talking about the prize money. At Jo’s suggestion, she and Dai go to the newspaper to collect the money. The editor makes Whimple responsible for showing Dai around, but Jo soon manages to lose him. Whimple hears about Jo’s criminal methods from a fellow reporter and runs out in search of them. As they spend time together, Dai begins to fall in love with Jo, though he already has a girlfriend back in Wales: Bronwen, the boss’s secretary.
Meanwhile, Twm recognizes a familiar face: Huw Price (Hugh Griffith), a down-on-his-luck harpist and traditional Chief Singer with whom he had once won the grand prize at an important Welsh music festival. They go looking for Dai (between drinks at various pubs). By the time they arrive at the Echo to collect Twm’s share of the prize, they’re sopping drunk. Not knowing who Twm is, the editor has the pair kicked out. Eventually, Twm and Huw give up and go to the rugby match, getting there just as it ends (Wales wins). There, they meet up with Whimple. Jo takes Dai shopping for a diamond ring for Bronwen; her confederate Barney (Leslie Perrins) tries to cheat him, but Dai changes his mind about which ring he wants and ends up getting a fair deal. Jo takes him back to her flat so Barney can sneak in and steal Dai’s money. Dai proposes that she move to Wales and offers to give her money to pay for the fare, but then he remembers Bronwen and changes his mind. Disappointed more than she expected, she steals his money. Just then, Whimple shows up and tells Dai the truth about the woman, but she runs off. A chase ensues. Dai gets Jo’s purse, with the money in it, and runs to catch the train back to Wales, where he is reunited with Twm and Huw. Jo and Barney bring a policeman and accuse Dai of being a thief; to avoid trouble, Dai gives back the purse. As the train pulls out though, Jo throws him back his money, much to Barney’s disgust.
The supporting programme included THE BIG CAT a 1949 American outdoor action film in Technicolor directed by Phil Karlson. The cast included Lon McCallister, Peggy Ann Garner, Preston Foster, Forrest Tucker, Skip Homeier, and Gene Reynolds. Karlson said the film “was a complete social statement. That was my answer to John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath.”
Also on the programme was a seven minute British, animated cartoon from Gaumont British, GINGER NUTT’S CHRISTMAS CIRCUS. Squirrel Ginger is the ringmaster for an animal circus. A parrot has snuck in using a weasel’s ticket; the weasel keeps trying to enter as well, but keeps getting thrown out. The parrot heckles, and is also thrown out. The weasel prepares to clobber the parrot, but a mole pops up with a “Peace on Earth” sign which the weasel smashes on the parrot.
29th January – MIGHTY JOE YOUNG
on the screen – for seven days – MIGHTY JOE YOUNG – (also known as Mr. Joseph Young of Africa and The Great Joe Young) is a 1949 American black and white fantasy film distributed by RKO Radio Pictures and produced by the same creative team responsible for King Kong (1933). Produced by Merian C. Cooper, who wrote the story, and Ruth Rose, who wrote the screenplay, the film was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and stars Robert Armstrong (who appears in both films), Terry Moore, and Ben Johnson in his first credited screen role. Animation effects were handled by Ray Harryhausen, Pete Peterson and Marcel Delgado. Mighty Joe Young tells the story of a young woman, Jill Young, living on her father’s ranch in Africa, who has raised the title character, a large gorilla, from an infant and years later brings him to Hollywood seeking her fortune in order to save the family.
In support was PRISON WARDEN a 1949 crime film directed by Seymour Friedman and starring Warner Baxter, Anna Lee and Harlan Warde.
5th February – ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER
On the screen – for seven days – ABBOTT & COSTELO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF – or BUD ABBOTT AND LOU COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF (the film’s poster title), or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff (the on-screen title)—usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff—is a 1949 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring Abbott and Costello and Boris Karloff. The original script, titled Easy Does It, was written with actor-comedian Bob Hope in mind. However, Universal then purchased the rights and reworked it for Abbott and Costello.
The role eventually played by Boris Karloff in the film was originally a female character named Madame Switzer in the final shooting script which was then titled, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killers. Five days before shooting, Karloff was hired and the character was changed to a swami.
After filming was completed, Costello was bedridden for several months due to a relapse of rheumatic fever, which he originally battled in 1943. As a result, the duo would not make another film together until one year later, 1950’s Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion. Boris Karloff’s inclusion in the title of the film seems evident from the movie poster, which includes a comma between the words “Killer” and “Boris Karloff,” but the actual credits in the film show no such distinction, and could be interpreted as “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer,” followed by the co-star credit “Boris Karloff.”
In support, THE GAL WHO TOOK THE WEST, a 1949 American Technicolor Western film directed by Frederick de Cordova starring Yvonne De Carlo, Charles Coburn, Scott Brady and John Russell. It was nominated for an award by the Writers Guild of America 1950.
12th February – WOMAN IN HIDING
on the screen – for seven days – WOMAN IN HIDING – GAUMONT –
WOMAN IN HIDING is a 1949 film noir crime film directed by Michael Gordon starring Ida Lupino, Stephen McNally and Howard Duff and released by Universal. Deborah Chandler Clark watches police drag a North Carolina river for her body. She recounts the events that brought her to this, beginning when her father, a mill owner, disapproved of a romance between Deborah and the mill’s general manager, Seldon Clark. Her father falls to his death at the mill. Seldon consoles her and proposes. On their honeymoon, a jealous and angry woman named Patricia Monahan turns up and claims she’s been romantically involved with Seldon, insisting he married Deborah simply to gain control of her mill. Deborah demands an annulment of the marriage. While leaving, the brakes fail on her car. She leaps out just before it crashes into the river. Believing she would be unable to prove her husband’s guilt, Deborah disappears, moving to Knoxville and going by the name Ann Carter. An ex-soldier, Keith Ramsay, seems interested in Ann and follows her. What he’s really interested in is a $5,000 reward offered by her husband. At a hotel hosting a crowded convention, Seldon nearly succeeds in killing his wife. Keith finally realizes that Deborah is in genuine danger.
Patricia can confirm her story, so Deborah tracks her down. Patricia betrays her, however, still being in love with Seldon. At the mill, he attempts to throw Deborah to her death the same way he murdered her father. In the darkness, he mistakenly kills Patricia instead, and dies himself after a fight with Keith.
Watch a documentary on Ida Lupino – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XCu7O9sw-Q
The support was FRANCIS a 1950 American black-and-white comedy film from Universal-International that launched the Francis the Talking Mule film series. Francis is produced by Robert Arthur, directed by Arthur Lubin, and stars Donald O’Connor and Patricia Medina. The distinctive voice of Francis is a voice-over by actor Chill Wills. Six Francis sequels from Universal-International followed this first effort. During World War II, a junior American Army officer, Lt. Peter Stirling, gets sent to the psychiatric ward whenever he insists that an Army mule named Francis speaks to him.
19th February – BOYS IN BROWN
On the screen – for seven days – BOYS IN BROWN – is a 1949 British drama film directed by Montgomery Tully. Based on a play by Reginald Beckwith, it depicts life in a borstal for young offenders. It stars Jack Warner, Richard Attenborough, Dirk Bogarde and Jimmy Hanley. It was a Rank release through GFD.
The second part of the programme was MISS PILGRIM’S PROGRESS a 1949 black-and-white British comedy film by producer Nat Cohen and director Val Guest. It starred Michael Rennie, Yolande Donlan, Jon Pertwee, Valentine Dyall, Peter Butterworth and Avril Angers.
26th February – PRINCE OF FOXES
On the screen – for seven days – PRINCE OF FOXES – is a 1949 film adapted from Samuel Shellabarger’s novel Prince of Foxes. The movie starred Tyrone Power as Orsini and Orson Welles as Cesare Borgia. It was nominated for two Oscars during the 22nd Academy Awards: Best Black and White Cinematography (Leon Shamroy) and Best Costume Design, Black and White (Vittorio Nino Novarese). They lost the Cinematography award to Battleground (Paul C. Bogel) while they lost the Costume Design award to The Heiress (Edith Head and Gile Steele). Most of the scenes were shot on the exact locations in Italy and San Marino, with all the studio work done at Cinecittà Studios.
In support was SEARCH FOR DANGER, a 1949 American crime film directed by Jack Bernhard and starring John Calvert, Albert Dekker and Myrna Dell. The film was the last of three made by the low-budget Film Classics company featuring Calvert as The Falcon who had previously been played by George Sanders and Tom Conway for RKO. The film’s art direction was by Boris Leven.
5th March – PAID IN FULL
On the screen – for seven days – PAID IN FULL – a 1950 American drama film directed by William Dieterle and written by Robert Blees and Charles Schnee. The film stars Robert Cummings, Lizabeth Scott, Diana Lynn, Eve Arden, Ray Collins and Frank McHugh. The film was released by Paramount Pictures. It tells the story of Jane Langley raised her younger sister, Nancy, like a mother. Now both work with Bill Prentice, an advertising executive, Jane as a clothing designer and Nancy as a model. Jane is in love with him, but Bill prefers her sister. Nancy becomes bored after their marriage. Bill wants a baby, so Nancy agrees, even though she and her sister both have been cautioned by family doctor Fredericks that they are predisposed to have great difficulty with childbirth. Nancy has a daughter, Deborah, but grows increasingly angry and sullen over time, treating Bill coldly.
One night after Jane and Bill begin to realize they have feelings for one another, Nancy falsely assumes they have had an affair behind her back. After an angry scene, a distraught Jane drives off recklessly and kills the child. Time passes and Nancy obtains a divorce. Jane sees Bill and they do begin a romance, but once she is pregnant, she runs off to have the baby, putting her own life in serious jeopardy. Before she dies, Jane presents the baby to Nancy and Bill, hoping they can start over as a couple.
The supporting feature was DEAR WIFE a 1949 American comedy film starring Joan Caulfield and William Holden. It is the sequel to Dear Ruth, which was based on the Broadway play of the same name by Norman Krasna.
12th March – COME TO THE STABLE
On the screen – for seven days – COME TO THE STABLE – a 1949 20th Century Fox American film which tells the true story of the Abbey of Regina Laudis and the two French religious sisters who come to a small New England town and involve the townsfolk in helping them to build a children’s hospital. It stars Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Elsa Lanchester, Thomas Gomez, Dooley Wilson and Regis Toomey.
The movie was based on a script written by Clare Boothe Luce, and the screenplay was written by Sally Benson, Clare Boothe Luce and Oscar Millard. It was directed by Henry Koster. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Loretta Young), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Celeste Holm and Elsa Lanchester), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Lyle R. Wheeler, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little, and Paul S. Fox), Best Cinematography, Best Music, Song (Alfred Newman and Mack Gordon for “Through a Long and Sleepless Night”) and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story.
The supporting feature was SAND a 1949 American Western film directed by Louis King and starring Mark Stevens, Coleen Gray, and Rory Calhoun. It was nominated at the 22nd Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (color)-for Charles G. Clarke.
19th March – HOLIDAY AFFAIR
On the screen – for seven days – HOLIDAY AFFAIR – a black-and-white 1949 RKO American, light romantic comedy film starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. In this modest film, directed and produced by Don Hartman, Mitchum moved into a different genre, briefly departing from his typical roles in film noir, Western films and war films. It was based on the story Christmas Gift by John D. Weaver, also the film’s working title. Set during the Christmas season, the film was not well received on its initial release.
RKO head Howard Hughes made Mitchum take the part to repair his image after his arrest for marijuana possession.
In support was RKO’s A DANGEROUS PROFESSION, a 1949 American film noir directed by Ted Tetzlaff, written by Warren Duff and Martin Rackin, and starring George Raft, Ella Raines, and Pat O’Brien. The supporting cast features Jim Backus. It was one of a series of thrillers Raft made in the late 1940s, with decreasing commercial results.
26th March – GOLDEN SALAMANDER
On the screen – for seven days – GOLDEN SALAMANDER – is a 1950 British adventure film directed by Ronald Neame and starring Trevor Howard, Anouk Aimée and Herbert Lom. It won an award at the 1950 Locarno International Film Festival. It is based on Victor Canning’s 1949 novel The Golden Salamander. about a British archaeologist sent by the British Museum to take charge of the shipping to London of important artefacts, David Redfern’s route along an isolated Tunisian road is blocked by a landslide. During a heavy rain he makes his way to the town, but not before witnessing a gun-running operation. At the café in the town he meets Anna, a young Frenchwoman who with her brother Max had moved to North Africa during the wartime German occupation of France. Realising that Max is mixed up in the gun-running, Redfern decides to remain silent about what he has witnessed and concentrate instead on his job of removing the artefacts as quickly as he can.
As he spends time in Anna’s company, Redfearn falls in love with her and decides to help Max escape from the criminal existence in which he has become trapped and send him to Paris where as a talented painter he can make a fresh start. However Max is killed by his associate on the way to Tunis. Realising that Redfearn knows too much about their operations, the head of the criminal outfit Serafis and his henchman Rankl plan to kill him and make it look like an accident.
However, with the help of a friend, Redfearn is able to escape. Tracked by his enemies during the town’s annual boar hunt, he manages to demonstrate to the authorities that the gang have murdered Max.
It was shot at Pinewood Studios, with sets designed by the art director John Bryan. Extensive location shooting took place in Tunisia, including the ruins of Carthage. The score was composed by William Alwyn who incorporated Arabic themes into his work. It was released by Rank’s GFD.
The support was PROJECT X a 1949 American thriller film directed by Edward Montagne and starring Keith Andes. It was also known as Red Bait.