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Green for Danger [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1947]

This clever and well-crafted British thriller, set during the height of World War II and featuring a marvelous turn by Alistair Sim as a eccentric police detective, has been given an overdue DVD release in the United States by the Criterion Collection. Green For Danger has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; the film was shot by Wilkie Cooper (Oswald Morris was a camera assistant) and looks superb in this edition, with the deep shadows and broad range of grey tones demonstrating how pleasing a well-shot black and white film can be. The film's audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and sounds excellent, better than one might expect for a film of the period. The dialogue is in English, with no multiple language options included, though the feature does include optional English subtitles for the hard of hearing. Film historian Bruce Eder contributes an optional commentary track, in which he discusses the style and approach of the movie, and the disc also includes a chat with writer Geoff Brown in which he talks about the making of Green For Danger and the collaborative career of director/screenwriter Sidney Gilliat and producer Frank Launder. And the handsome accompanying booklet includes essays from Geoffrey O'Brien and director Gilliat. Few American firms would bother releasing a lesser-known British detective film in the United States, let alone with this degree of care, but the material certainly merits the attention and Criterion are to be congratulated for going the extra mile with this top-shelf package.

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    Special Features

    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • Audio commentary by film and music historian Bruce Eder
    • New interview with British film historian Geoff Brown
    • Plus: A new essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien and a director's statement


    Green for Danger
    At a World War II emergency hospital, a postman dues under anesthetic during a relatively minor operation. One of the nurses who was present announces that the man's death was no accident, but a murder -- and then she, too, is murdered. The police are called in, led by Inspector Cockrill (Alastair Sim) of Scotland Yard, and he soon determines that any one of the five surviving members of the surgical team might have had a motive for the murders. In the course of his investigation, he also uncovers an array of both eccentric and ugly personal information about most of those present, but no killer that he can ascertain for certain. He must finally draw the murderer out by putting one of the suspects at risk. In the midst of the suspense are moments of droll comedy, of the sort that one would expect from a movie made by the authors of The Lady Vanishes, along with a palpably rich late wartime atmosphere which, surprisingly, did not repel war-weary audiences on either side of the Altantic. Indeed, Sim is so beguilingly witty and charismatic in his eccentric way as Inspector Cockrill, that the wonder is that there was never a follow-up movie or even a series built around his character. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Alastair Sim
      Alastair Sim - Inspector Cockrill
    • Leo Genn
      Leo Genn - Mr. Eden
    • Trevor Howard
      Trevor Howard - Dr. Barney Barnes
    • Sally Gray
      Sally Gray - Nurse Linley
    • Rosamund John
      Rosamund John - Esther Sanson

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