|Not one of Powell/Pressburger's finest.|
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Written by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, John Sweet and Dennis Price
Plot Summary: Two WWII sergeants - a Brit and an American - and a Land Girl attempt to solve the mystery of an unidentified man tormenting young ladies in the English countryside.
Significance: Though it’s one of Powell and Pressburger’s lesser-known films, it was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (#117 in the 2012 critics poll and #546 in the directors one), and it was also listed #17 in Time Out London’s 100 Best British Films, which was published in 2011.
Thoughts: This could be the quirkiest Powell/Pressburger film, as its plot and tone are somewhat loose. The film is patriotic like a lot of their work, but it lacks the focus of their masterpieces. After an interesting start, the film never really finds its footing, stumbling here and there before a nice finish. Also, the casting of John Sweet (a real U.S. sergeant) as the aw-shucks American sergeant really is a sore spot. While it isn’t close to Powell/Pressburger’s best work, I can’t say I won’t revisit it later to see if I’m more responsive to it. It’s a British classic - just a flawed one.