Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Our film opens in a typical suburban terrace of middle England properties; Edna Jones (Patricia Burke) comes up her front garden path to hear a scream from next door. A few minutes later a woman comes running out of the house in an obvious panic and disappears up the street but not before she drops her handbag and an important narrative device falls out. Teacher Harry Barnes (Peter Halliday) comes home from the local grammar school ready to start the summer holidays; in fact he and his wife are going away the following morning. On entering his house he finds that that there is a pie cooking in the oven but there’s no sign of his wife Jean (Ingrid Hafner). So he pops up stairs for a shower and on entering the bathroom he finds the body of a man on the floor with a set of blood stained scissors lying next to it. Before he dies the man says one word “snow”. Owing to the fact it’s July his last utterance does not make a lot of sense to Harry. On checking the washing basket, like any person would do after discovering a dead body, he finds his wife’s blood stained pinney. As your aware we are dealing with an educated grammar school teacher and you would imagine that he just might call the police, oh no not our Harry! He drags the body down stairs; open’s up the living floor and starts digging a grave. Now we won’t delve any more into the plot other wise should you be silly daft enough to watch this B-movie then I would not like to spoil it for you. Suffice to say if digging a large hole in ones front room is not difficult enough, you don’t really want any interruptions? But if we just had to watch Harry digging a grave then the film would not be very interesting. So what we get from our storytellers is troupe of unwanted visitors. The nosy neighbour comes in through the back door that Harry has neglected to lock following a visit from his mother; two nuns come to the front door to collect funds for their organ or was to rebuild the Abbey? A blind, yes a blind, piano tuner who almost joins the body in the hole and then a unpleasant wee laddie turns up for his piano lessons and is made to wait in the hall while his teacher nails down the floor boards and replaces the carpet. Its about this time that a police inspector turns up looking for a missing drug dealer but fails to notice a builders bath full of tools placed in the corner of the front room! 

It was Ralph Bond who sold the idea of making this film to Michael Balcon by telling him it was ‘sufficiently different and original to make a rather good second feature film’ how wrong could you be? Made at Twickenham Studios with a £21000 budget from Bryanston, best known for its connection with the films of the British New Wave, it was made in fifteen days.  You will not be surprised to know that other than in Yorkshire this film never achieved theatrical distribution in Britain, but was sold to television where it was broadcast once as far as I am aware. In 2007 it was finally given a DVD release under the Odeon Entertainments banner ‘The Best of Britain’ a title that could be described as a wee bit of an exaggeration.  The jaunty music, which was composed by William Davis best known for scoring Noggin the Nog and Ivan the Engine, did not suit the story line, only when the nosy neighbour appears does the score work.  An interesting 64-minute curio but not the best second feature you will ever see.  Directed by Peter Maxwell who also wrote the screenplay from an original story by Pip and Jane Baker, who, when they saw the finished product, wanted there names removed from the credits, which did not happen because the budget was all used up!

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