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British Cinema [DVD]

Release Date:09/16/2008

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    The Hooded Terror
    The Girl in the News
    Also known as Girl in the Case, this early Carol Reed effort tended to be dismissed or ignored by its director in later interviews. Even so, the film is a worthwhile effort, with an intricate and sometimes amusing script by Sydney Gilliat. Young lawyer Stephen Garringdon (Barry K. Barnes) manages to clear his first client, nurse Anne Graham (Margaret Lockwood), of charges that she has been systematically murdering his patients. At first exultant, Garringdon begins suffering pangs of guilt because he never completely believed in his client's innocence. When another murder occurs during Anne's shift, the lawyer begins to wonder if he is actually an accessory after the fact. Admittedly, things look bad for Anne, but unexpected salvation is at hand in form of affable Mr. Tracy (Emlyn Williams), who knows a lot more about the killings than anyone else-except, of course, the victims. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Crimes at the Dark House
    So since when have crimes been committed in a house with all the lights on? This chop-licking British melodrama stars the gloriously uninhibited Tod Slaughter, playing the unspeakable Sir Henry Glyde. Disposing of his wealthy wife, Glyde replaces her with a look-alike, a recent "graduate" from the local insane asylum. This may sound vaguely familiar to you if you've seen the 1948 Warner Bros. Gothic drama The Woman in White. Indeed, both the Warner film and Crimes in the Dark House were based on the same 1860 novel by Wilkie Collins -- and both are good gory fun in their own separate ways. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Frightened Man
    In this crime drama, a junk dealer's son breaks his father's heart when his poor grades get him tossed out of Oxford. The boy then involves himself with the very jewel thieves that use his father, unknown to the boy, as a fence. The father tries to subtly keep his boy from becoming too involved, but it is to no avail and the lad is killed. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

    The Siege of Sidney Street
    A real-life incident became the basis for this highly fictionalized drama about a January 1911 confrontation between political anarchists and London police in that city's Whitechapel district that resulted in an infamous, blazing gun battle. Sara (Nicole Berger) is an orphaned Russian girl who works as a singer in a nightclub. There she meets Peter (Peter Wyngarde), anarchist leader of expatriate Latvians agitating for the independence of their home country following the failed revolt of 1905. At first, Sara is sympathetic to Peter and his cause, but she soon discovers that the rebels are using whatever means necessary, including robbery and murder, to raise money for their crusade, and that Peter himself has an overly pragmatic, callous attitude toward the taking of innocent life. The group's nefarious activities have attracted the attention of London police, and an inspector, Mannering (Donald Sinden) goes undercover with the anarchists in order to help bring them to justice. Mannering feels sympathy for Sara and befriends her, coming to understand her lonely attraction to Peter. The gang's violent onslaught continues unabated and results in a raid that pits gang members against hundreds of armed police. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

    Tread Softly Stranger
    In this crime drama, two crooked brothers, an embezzler and a gambler, find themselves in deep trouble when the embezzler steals from a steel mill so he can buy his lover fancy clothes. During the theft, he kills a night guard. This spawns an investigation by the slain watchman's son who locates a sightless witness. The son then convinces the killer that the witness saw him and this causes him to confess. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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