Monday, 26 May 2014

Desperate Moment.

The most interesting thing about this forgotten British film noir is that a great deal of it was shot in the ruins of post war Berlin, flattened by the allied bombers and not rebuilt as yet. This makes Desperate Moment (1953) a very atmospheric thriller in which Dirk Bogarde is on the run, not an unfamiliar role for this great actor at this time in his career, films like Blackmailed (1951), Hunted (1952) or even the Gentle Gunman (1952) kept Bogarde on the move. Co-starring with the beautiful Swedish actress Mai Zetterling[1], Bogarde play’s a Dutch resistance fighter by the name of Simon van Holder who had confessed to the murder of a British soldier, a murder that he did not commit, a murder for which he is serving a life sentence. We first see van Holder being transported on a train. Although in handcuffs he attempts an escape, injured in the process he is taken to the hospital wing of a prison. There he finds out that the women he loves, fellow resistance fighter Anna DeBurg (Zetterling), is still alive, he decides, with her help, to clear his name. To do this he must escape from prison and trace three more of his fellow resistance fighters in post war Germany were all paths lead to Berlin. Hot on his heels is a British intelligence officer played by Philip Friend.
Mai Zettering and Dirk Bogarde make a handsome couple.  
Bogarde is on top form, as the Dutch lifer playing the part to perfection without the foreign accent everyone else seems to be inflicted with! It is not an exaggeration to say that the movie is action packed and builds to an exciting climax. Produced at the Pinewood Studios with a screenplay co written by the films producer George H Brown from a novel by Martha Albrand. Directed by English born Compton Bennett best known for The Seventh Veil (1945) and the 1950 version of King Solomon’s Mines starring Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger.

[1] Recently released documents at the National Archives in London show that she, a member of the Hollywood Left, was watched by British security agents as a suspected Communist. However, the UK never had a system along the lines of the American Hollywood Blacklist.

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