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COTTAGE TO LET (BOMBSIGHT STOLEN) (director: Anthony Asquith; screenwriters: from the play by Geoffrey Kerr/J.O.C. Orton/Anatole de Grunwald; cinematographer: Jack Cox; editor: R.E. Dearing; music: Charles Williams; cast: Leslie Banks (John Barrington), Alastair Sim (Charles Dimble), John Mills (Flt-Lieut. George Perry), Jeanne De Casalis (Mrs. Marguerite Barrington), Carla Lehmann (Helen Barrington), George Cole (Ronald), Michael Wilding (Alan Trently), Frank Cellier (Ernest Forest), Muriel Aked (Miss Fernery), Wally Patch (Evans, the Butler), Catherine Lacey (Mrs. Stokes), Hay Petrie (Dr. Trustcott), Muriel George (Mrs Trimm); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Black; TCM; 1941-UK)
Solid espionage war drama, that’s sprinkled generously with comedy.

Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzAnthony Asquith (“A Voice in the Night”/”Tell England”/”Uncensored”) directs this solid espionage war drama, that’s sprinkled generously with comedy. Pic doesn’t unravel until its poorly executed climax and the hammy extended death scene of the villain. It’s based on the play by Geoffrey Kerr and is written by J.O.C. Orton and Anatole de Grunwald.

A Glasgow-based spy ring infiltrates the rural western Scottish estate of John Barrington (Leslie Banks), the eccentric genius inventor of a bombsight for the military, who refuses to work in a secure military lab. The ring, when unable to steal the revolutionary bombsight blueprint even though they are able to steal some other inventions, in desperation send in wounded Brit Spitfire pilot Flt-Lieut. George Perry (John Mills). He parachuted out of his malfunctioning plane to land in a ditch and broke an arm, in order to stay Barrington’s village and scheme to kidnap the inventor and take him to Berlin.

The Barrington household includes John’s daffy wife (Jeanne De Casalis), his klutzy nerdy but brilliant assistant Alan Trently (Michael Wilding), and his lovely daughter (Carla Lehmann)–the love interest of both Perry and Trently. Residing in the cottage to let, of the title, are the scene stealing cockney youth evacuee and Sherlock Holmes buff Ronnie (George Cole), the nosy undercover Scotland Yard detective Charles Dimble (Alastair Sim) posing as a guest and the copper bodyguard posing as a butler (Wally Patch). The cottage is also turned into a military hospital, and is where Perry recuperates.

Slight but enjoyable spy spoof, that makes good use of its brilliant cast and gets over in an appealing way despite being stagy.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”