THEY MET IN THE DARK (director: Carl Lamac; screenwriters: Anatole de Grunwald/Miles Malleson/Basil Bartlett/Victor MacClure/James Seymour/based on the novel “The Vanished Corpse” by Anthony Gilbert; cinematographer: Otto Heller; editor: Winifred Cooper/Terence Fisher; music: Ben Frankel; cast: James Mason (Richard Francis Heritage), Joyce Howard (Laura Verity), Tom Walls (Christopher Child), Phyllis Stanley (Lily Bernard, singer), Edward Rigby (Mansel), Ronald Ward (Carter), David Farrar (Commander Lippinscott), Karel Stepanek (The Great Riccardo, a mind reader), Betty Warren (Fay), Walter Crisham(Charlie), George Robey (Pawnbroker), Ronald Chesney (Max, Mouth Harmonica Player), Peggy Dexter (Bobby), Finlay Currie (Merchant Captain), Brefni O’Rorke (Detective Inspector Burrows); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Marcel Hellman; General Film Distributors; 1943-UK)
“The thriller only offers a routine espionage story, despite Mason’s pleasing quirky performance and Walls’ charming villainous one.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Bohemian Czech filmmaker Carl Lamac (“He Stood at the Till”/”The Young Count”/”A Girl From The Chorus”) directs one of the few Brit films he did. It’s an oddball b/w wartime thriller that stars a bearded James Mason. It’s based on the novel “The Vanished Corpse” by Anthony Gilbert (a pseudonym used by Lucy Malleson).
Royal Navy Commander Heritage (James Mason) is duped by a pretty Nazi agent, Mary, a manicurist, into giving false info about a British merchant ship that goes missing. A court martial results and his military career is over. Hoping to get back his good name, he joins forces with his romantic interest, the Canadian Laura Verity (Joyce Howard), to find the agent in Blackpool who set him up. They find her killed and on her corpse they find a theatrical agency calling card. On further investigation of the talent agency, they uncover that the Blackpool theatrical agent Christopher Child (Tom Walls) uses his business as a front for his spy operation.
The thriller only offers a routine espionage story, despite Mason’s pleasing quirky performance and Walls’ charming villainous one.
REVIEWED ON 8/27/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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