Monday, 26 January 2015

A Matter of WHO.

Described as a drama/thriller, the problem is Terry Thomas. Following a string of comedy films Thomas accepted what should have been a straight role to stretch his acting ability but it did not work. It would seem on this evidence quite incapable for him to act out a character that's meant to be taken seriously. But even so that's not to say the film is laugh a minute, just some daft moments that includes a wee vintage car. The main draw back is you can't take Don Chaffey’s movie, A Matter of WHO (1961), as an engagingly realistic thriller, more of a dull unfunny comedy, which is a shame as it has quite a good story line.

World Health Organisation Investigator Archibald Bannister (Thomas) is tasked with tracking down the source of a smallpox infection to stop an epidemic. It’s when a flight lands at a London Airport on route from Nice in the South of France that Stephan Cooper is found to have smallpox. Cooper and his attractive wife Michele (Berlin born Sonja Ziemann) are due to be met by his oil exploration partner Edward Kennedy (American Alex Nicol) - both men work for an Independent Oil Company. The back-story is a B-Movie type criminal plot involving oil exploration rights. 

"Germs are smarter than people" seems quite an adequate tagline. My initial interest in this movie steams from a cast list that includes the underrated Carol White, a special favourite of Movie Ramble. Also featured are Honor Blackman and an early role for Richard Briers. Based on a story by Patricia Lee and Paul Dickson with a screenplay by Milton Holmes it has Roy Castle singing the theme song. Made at MGM British Studios at Boreham Wood, the Alpine sequences were filmed on location in Austria.

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