Green for Danger (The Criterion Collection)
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There's a perfect fusion of storytelling and moodmaking, plot and setting. The time is 1944, when Hitler was attacking the British populace with V-1 flying bombs. Under this ongoing siege, at an Elizabethan country manor made over as wartime hospital, someone among a half-dozen doctors and nurses is up to something sinister. Which one is anybody's guess, given the adroitly suggested crosscurrents of loathing and desire, suspicion and jealousy animating the company. After a mysterious death on the operating table, followed by a second death that's unmistakably murder, Scotland Yard enters the picture in the perversely antic form of that long drink of wormwood, the definitive Scrooge, Alastair Sim. (Actually, Sim's sepulchral voice deliciously narrates the film from the beginning.)
Gilliat, with his partner Frank Launder, had written Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (Hitch signed on after their exemplary screenplay was done) and its de facto sequel, Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich. The same talent for drollery without sacrificing tension is abundantly apparent in Green for Danger. As added inducements, the cast includes Trevor Howard and Leo Genn; the artfully shadowy cinematography is the work of Wilkie Cooper. --Richard T. Jameson
- Commentary by film scholar Bruce Eder
- Video interview with British film historian Geoff Brown
- Booklet with a new essay by writer Geoffrey O'Brien and a director's statement
Top Customer Reviews
Sim managed to play in a large number of comedic suspense and mystery films. He starred in a series of Inspector Hornleigh films in the early forties, he went on to play memorable roles in wartime mysteries such as COTTAGE TO LET (with a very young John Mills in a key role), GREEN FOR DANGER, AN INSPECTOR CALLS (in which he plays a ghostly police inspector), and THE GREEN MAN, in which Sim plays a congenial assassin. But Sim also excelled in pure farce, and was magnificent in such films as THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, LAUGHTER IN PARADISE, and the St. Trinian movies, which he played largely in drag. Sim, with his large frame, lugubrious eyes, and marvelously dramatic voice, was a delight in every film he graced, but today is primarily known for Scrooge, as noted above.
There is actually a very good historical reason for the demise of Sim's reputation and of British cinema in general. In the fifties and sixties, French auteur criticism came more and more to dominate European and American film criticism. One of the central assumptions of auteur critics has been that British cinema, with the almost exclusive exception of pre-Hollywood Hitchcock and the workd of Michael Powell and Eric Pressburger, has been an aesthetic wasteland.Read more ›
The film is, of course, the penultimate British murder mystery, the best that has ever been done. Let's face it: no movie that rates an entire chapter in a book ("The Detective Film" by Everson) can be dismissed lightly. Just get the disc and enjoy it. Those reviewers who recommended you curl up on a cold and windy night with a cup of warm liquid and watch it have given you sage advice.
At last GREEN FOR DANGER's gorgeous cinematography by Wilkie Cooper can be appreciated for the thing of beauty that it is. It is not for nothing that the American Society of Cinematographers included this picture in their list of the Best Photographed Films of the 1940s. Cooper's work is quite simply marvelous and is a textbook example of how to photograph a black and white film. This beautiful dvd transfer also enables us to appreciate the fine sets by Peter Proud, an art director of enormous talent and ingenuity.
Criterion also cleaned up the soundtrack to an amazing degree. I couldn't believe it at first when I heard it. The dialog is now razor sharp and William Alwyn's music...oh, my goodness is it a nice score!
Here is one that is a must for your library. Get it and enjoy it. And if you like it (and I cannot imagine that you wouldn't) go order another wonderful Launder-Gilliat film I SEE A DARK STRANGER. Again, thanks Criterion!
I don't know if any of you have read Christianna Brand's Inspector Cockrill mysteries, so I'd like to take this opportunity to plug her ten or so mysteries as REALLY great! GREEN FOR DANGER is perhaps the best, with a marvelous denouement (the motive for the initial killing is startlingly original.) But the others all have their charms, especially TOUR DE FORCE, where Cockrill vacations on a tropical island and FOG OF DOUBT, with one of her most effective twist endings where you kick yourself at the end for not uncovering the killer's identity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Alistair Sim was delightful. It was a treat just watching him. The story was clever.Published 12 months ago by Susan Hankin
This movie is a ton of fun. The actor who plays the detective is a riot. The pacing is a little slow for modern tastes, but not as slow as some movies from the era.Published 13 months ago by mvp1984
A marvelous thriller from 1946 that gives you an opportunity to watch Alastair Sim (Scrooge) and not have to wait for Christmas. Read morePublished 16 months ago by James Clifton
An outstandingly entertaining movie with an excellent cast and a storyline which combines suspense with humour. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Navo