Monday, 6 January 2014

The Harassed Hero.

Murray Selwyn is suffering from 'acute apprehension complex' and his doctor has strongly recommended that he avoid any stress or excitement in his life. Following a chance encounter in a London taxicab with a briefcase stuffed full of money he now finds himself at the very centre of international criminal caper involving desperate gunman and corpses that come back to life! To top this, his blood pressure is sent through the roof when entering a care home to begin his convalescence he finds that he is to be cared for by the ravishing Nurse Brooks.

Guy Middleton and Joan Winmill.
Starring Guy Middleton, best known for his caddish nature, his moustache and his sexually leer, but who brought a touch of real class to the role of Murray Selwyn a hypochondriac toff and Joan Winmill in her first and practically her only leading role as Nurse Brooks. B movie regular Elwin Brook Jones played the villain, with Mary Mackenzie playing the femme fatale Estelle Logan. Instantly recognisable Harold Godwin plays Selwin's loyal batman Twigg. Also on the cast list is the intriguingly named Gaylord Cavallaro, now there's a Christian name you don't here much these days!

The prolific Maurice Elvey.
Directed by Maurice Elvey who is the longest serving and most prolific film director in British cinema history. He made over 300 features and numerous shorts between 1913 and 1957 when the loss of an eye caused him to retire at the age of seventy[1]. He is probably best known for collaborations with Gracie Fields and Cicely Courtneidge. He was also credited with launching Petula Clark's film career after he saw her perform on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, directing four of her films.

The Harassed Hero (1954) was produced by Corsair Pictures, the name of the company associated with veteran pulp screenwriter, Brock Williams who was prolific over three decades from 1930. The later part of his career was spent mostly writing scripts for B movies. His screenplay for this movie was adapted from a novel by Ernest Dudley. DOP was Hone Glendining a man who had trained Army cameramen in WW2. This London based film was made at the Nettlefield Studios Walton-on-Thames England.

An amusingly wee comedy thriller, which depicts the police in much less respectful terms than can usually be found in this type of film! It's rather silly plot moves along swiftly enough with some good B movie character portrayals and is at times quite funny, all helped by Frank Chacksfields musical score. Every one seems to speak a different version of the English language in this movie and look out for the care home patient smoking in bed!

[1] The Encyclopaedia of British Film.

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