Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Blackout - 1950 film

Blackout is another of those short, snappy black and white British films which the Talking Pictures TV channel has resurrected. It dates from 1950, and was an early collaboration between Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman, who were later responsible, together and separately, for a host of successful TV series when I was growing up, notably the version of The Saint starring Roger Moore. Incidentally, this is an entirely different story from that in the 2007 movie also called Blackout, which I reviewed on this blog way back in 2010.

The screenplay, by John Gilling, is based on a story by Carl Nystrom, who wrote a number of TV and film stories in the post-war era. The initial premise is a version of a rather familiar, but often effective, opening to a story. A blind man turns up for an appointment, but arrives at the wrong house. He stumbles over a man's corpse, along with a sinister trio of bad guys who unwisely allow him to live because he can't recognise their faces.

Christopher Pelly is an engineer who lost his eyesight in an accident. When he tells the police about the crime he uncovered, he isn't believed, but he revisits the house where the killing took place,and befriends Patricia Dale, who turns out to be the sister of the dead man - who was supposedly killed in an aeroplane accident a year earlier. Together they determine to find out what really happened.

After a strong start,the story falters rather, and I found Pelly's refusal to involve the police sooner rather irritating. Maxwell Reed plays him in the manner of a poor man's Robert Mitchum, while Dinah Sheridan plays the plucky young Englishwoman with her usual efficiency. An interesting supporting cast includes the likes of Eric Pohlmann (later the voice of Blofeld in a couple of Bond films) as a baddie,and Campbell Singer, who was a familiar TV character actor in the 60s, as a police inspector.


Clothes In Books said...

You always make these b/w films sound so tempting! Nice cast: Maxwell Reed was married to Joan Collins for a time wasn't he? and Dinah Sheridan - what a trouper...

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Moira. I've been delighted to discover Talking Pictures.