Certificate A: Odeon, Leicester Square Director: Stanley Kramer
CHAINED together at the orders of a prison governor "with a sense of humour", two convicts, one white and one coloured. escape from the wreckage of an overturned lorry. Loathing one another with all the fury of blind prejudice, the two men are forced into unwilling partnership against their pursuers. They cross a swollen river where the white man, played by Tony Curtis, saves his companion (Sidney Ponies) from drowning. "I didn't pull you out," he snarls in reply to the other's thanks; "1 stopped you from pulling me in."
In one of the best scenes of the film, they climb together out of a deep clay pit and curse each other as they do so. Captured in a min
Guest Film Critic
ing settlement they face a lynching from the sadistic citizens. Says Curtis "You can't lynch me. I'm a white man."
Yet when the chain is finally broken it has been replaced by a stronger if invisible bond and it is Curtis, at first the most virulently infected by prejudice, who is prepared to sacrifice his freedom to save his companion's life. In the hands of a less skilful director such a story could easily have degenerated into the lowest class of melodrama, and it is a measure of Stanley Kramer's success that while never underplaying the deep seated hatred which prejudice can engender; he makes the change in relationship between the two men perfectly credible.
Tony Curtis more than fulfills the promise of genuine acting ability which he showed in "Sweet Smell of Success" while Sidney Poitier is probably the best coloured actor in America today. This is one of the best films shown in London in recent months and one which no serious filmgoer should miss.
Certificate U: Odeon, Marble Arch Director: Michael Relph
THE islanders of Todday are up in arms again. This time the
island is threatened not by the Customs and Excise but by rockets: guided and misguided. Photographed in Eastman colour. the island of Barra looks enchanting and appears to enjoy remarkably fine weather.
The plot of the film follows an easily predictable path and all the characters have been met before, from the only English inhabitant (Roland Culver) to the wooden headed local policeman.
Though always enjoyable and sometimes very funny, "Rockets Galore" does not quite come up to the high standard set by its predecessor "Whisky Galore", perhaps because there is no real intrinsic humour in guided missiles and cotnpulsory evictions. A CERTAIN SMILE Certificate A: Carlton
Director: Jean Negulesco
A WHITE-WASHED version of
Francoise Sagan's novel with a contrived and implausible ending which nullifys the whole point of the original book; "A Certain Smile", like Bonjour Trisiesse,
has as its most attractive feature the Riviera scenery. Even this, beautifully photographed in CinemaScope and colour. could not retain the interest of my neighbours at the press show who were busy discussing other things.
PASSIONATE SUMMER Certificate A: Leicester Square Theatre Director: Rudolph Cartier
YET' another filmed version of a novel; this time by Richard Mason. Set in the West Indies, "Passionate Summer" is the story of a young, recently divorced, English school teacher, who is loved not only by his headmaster's wife but also by a 14-year-old problem pupil who comes from a broken home.
He himself is in love with an air hostess who finds it difficult to choose between him and a rich South American, who is estranged from his wife. The various emotional conflicts are finally solved in a tropical storm which provides a spectacular climax to the film.
To act this rather lurid story Pinewood have chosen Bill Travers as the young schoolmaster and Virginia McKenna as the air hostess (who seems to choose not only her own working hours, but also what planes she flies on). Both are badly miscast; particularly Virginia McKenna, whose confession to a recent attempted suicide is very unconvincing: As the repressed headmaster's wife Yvonne Mitchell is far more successful, while Ellen Barrie, as the 14-year-old, gives a most impressive performance in a most difficult part.
The scenery and photography of "Passionate Summer" are very good, but it suffers from the usual weakness of English love stories. We cannot believe that it could be true.