Often 1930s British filmmaking is criticized as being overstuffed with "quota quickies"--cheap, poorly made films produced to meet the demands of protective quotas. But the era also allowed young directors the chance to hone their skills, just as exploitation pictures did for American filmmakers in the 1970s. The resulting films were sometimes far more accomplished than might be expected, as is the case with those presented in this collection.
Included here are RED ENSIGN, a tale of corruption on the British docks, and PHANTOM LIGHT, a mystery about a vanished lighthouse keeper; both are directed by Michael Powell who would go on to make the groundbreaking PEEPING TOM. Meanwhile, James Mason (LOLITA) stars in THE UPTURNED GLASS, a clever thriller about a brain surgeon who falls into a deadly love triangle.
The British Cinematograph Films Act of 1927 was passed to give motion pictures made in the United Kingdom an edge over Hollywood imports. However technically crude, these low budget "quota quickies" provided on-the-job training for some of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of British Cinema.
THE PHANTOM LIGHT (1935)
Michael Powell directed this creepy quota quickie before his success with the Academy AwardŽ winning BLACK NARCISSUS and THE RED SHOES and the cult classic PEEPING TOM.
The disappearance of two lighthouse keepers stationed on the desolate coast of Wales is linked to the specter of a rogue beacon that lures freight ships to their destruction on the rocks. Gordon Harker (Alfred Hitchcock's THE RING) and Binnie Hale (LOVE FROM A STRANGER) star as bickering sleuths who must solve the mystery of "The Phantom Light" or become its next victims!
RED ENSIGN (1935)
This fact-based expose of corruption and sabotage in the British shipping industry is another early work from acclaimed director Michael Powell.
With England's commercial fleet in decline, idealistic shipbuilder David Barr (THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME's Leslie Banks) conceives a radical new design to revolutionize the industry. Denied capital to proceed by his firm's board of directors, Barr funds the project himself, attracting the support of a beautiful heiress and the attention of a ruthless rival who will stop at nothing, even murder, to obtain Barr's top secret design.
THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947)
Before he was a multiple Academy AwardŽ nominee, James Mason (LOLITA) starred as a surgeon turned sleuth in this absorbing revenge thriller.
After sparing the eyesight of a young patient, Dr. Michael Joyce falls in love with the girl's grateful mother, Emma Wright (Rosamund John), whose husband has been absent for years. When her man returns unexpectedly, Emma reluctantly ends the affair, only to be killed in a mysterious fall. Using his surgical skills to trace the killer, Michael begins his own investigation but has no intention of handing the murderer over to the police.
Available on DVD for the first time ever!