Friday, February 19, 2010

#375: Green For Danger

(Sidney Gilliat, 1946)

Green for Danger is a ludicrous but entertaining film directed by the co-writer of The Lady Vanishes, another unlikely (though less so) thriller. Like that film, Green for Danger represents the essence of studio productions before the auteur theory took over post-1960s. It's populated wall to wall with charming men, beautiful women, and a deep secret that each hides, all lorded over by a wry inspector intent on cracking the case (and having a good time doing it).

However, the film didn't pull me in with the same immediacy as that earlier Hitchcock film. Part of that was the insanely unbelievable plot, but a lot of it came from the difficulty in following the characters, their various machinations, and just where the story was going. The basic whodunit was easy enough to discern, but much of the appeal of the characters was lost along the way. The film doesn't sizzle like The Lady Vanishes, partly because the relationships between the characters don't seem to change, partly because I didn't care enough about the people who eventually ended up being involved in the crime.

Green for Danger is the kind of film it would be a pleasure to find on TCM one night, and it is an interesting twist on the drawing room mystery so common in England. But beyond that, it doesn't have much to distinguish itself from the common mystery films of the era, highly enjoyable entertainment that is ultimately forgotten.

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