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Green For Danger (1946 Alastair Sim)
Video > Movies
698.88 MiB (732823552 Bytes)

Alastair Sim Drama

2010-04-10 02:45:55 GMT
renman Trusted


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Adapted from a novel by Christianna Brand, one of six humorous whodunits 

featuring Inspector Cockrill of the Kent County Police, Green For Danger (d. 

Sidney Gilliat, 1947) considerably alters Brand's story and its protagonist.

Originally set in a military hospital during the Blitz in 1941, the film 

relocates the action to a civilian emergency hospital during the doodlebug 

campaign of 1944. The major changes in Gilliat and Claude Guerney's 

screenplay, however, were reserved for the main character. Although Launder 

and Gilliat made a number of thrillers over the years, Gilliat disliked 

whodunits, and hoped to largely remove that element from the plot, but Brand's 

original story was too carefully constructed to survive without it. Their 

solution, as Gilliat later recalled, was to "make capital of the very clichés 

of the detective novel".

To this end they structured the screenplay so that the first third set up the 

mystery in a traditional fashion, though undercutting it somewhat with a wry 

voice-over. When Inspector Cockrill arrives, most of the viewer's assumptions, 

about the characters and the mystery genre, start to unravel.

They turned Cockrill into the narrator and cast the comic actor Alastair Sim 

in the role. The film subtly guys the whole genre, with the Inspector 

frequently proved wrong and even partly responsible for the last death. In one 

priceless scene, he smugly turns to the last page of a mystery novel to find 

that he has incorrectly guessed the identity of the murderer.

Green For Danger is a remarkable mixture of sly comedy and genuine thrills, 

with the sardonic and sarcastic humour of the protagonist providing a good 

counterpoint to the darkly atmospheric surroundings of the hospital - shot 

with considerable panache by Launder and Gilliat's regular cameraman Wilkie 

Cooper. This is seen at its best in the night-time sequence in which the 

various characters roam around the hospital grounds before one of them meets 

her end at the hands of a spectral murderer dressed in a surgical gown. Except 

for two establishing shots at the beginning of the story, the film was shot 

entirely inside Pinewood studios, including all the 'exteriors'. The result is 

probably Gilliat's most visually accomplished and controlled film as director.


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