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Sunday, June 26, 2011


Another Quota Quickie from Michael Powell’s apprentice years. It’s a goofball dark-and-stormy-night yarn about the new lighthouse keeper in a small Welsh town and the motley crew waiting at his isolated station. Who knew a lonely lighthouse would be such a popular spot? Turns out the last two attendants fell to their death while on duty. Suicide? Accident? Murder? A nefarious plot by a local ‘ship wreckers?’ Hmm. Turns out the lighthouse beam has been going out and a ‘phantom light,’ carefully positioned to mislead heavily insured boats, has been replacing it. And that lunatic who's living at the lighthouse? Maybe not so crazy . . . maybe one of the saboteurs. The idea isn’t half bad, but the script is larded with lame jokes & twee characters and the plot doesn’t kick in until the last two reels. You might give up before you get there. Don’t. The dopey leads (Binnie Hale & Gordon Harker) grow on you and our action hero turns out to be charming Ian Hunter whom many will recall as King Richard in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD/’37. So grit your teeth for 40 minutes to see how Powell pulls this off with wit, pace and enough dynamic editing to hide his impoverished budget. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the print on MPI’s triple-bill DVD Classic British Thrillers is in such good shape.

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