Directed by Sidney Gilliat. Alastair Sim, Leo Genn, Trevor Howard, Sally Gray, Rosamund John, Judy Campbell. Eagle-Lion Films (US–1947).
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up|
Content advisory: Restrained menacing situations; a brief fisticuff; romantic complications.
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Green For Danger (DVD)
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Sidney Gilliat’s Green For Danger is an overlooked gem that transplants the trappings of a droll British murder mystery in an unexpected WWII context, with Nazi air raids and an emergency wartime hospital set up in a rural manor home outside London.
Alistair Sim, forever remembered as the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge, gives a witty, acerbic performance as the unnervingly mischievous Scotland Yard investigator Inspector Cockrill, called to the hospital after a seemingly accidental death is followed by a clearly unnatural one.
Not until Cockrill’s appearance is it entirely clear that the film is at once a whodunit and also a sendup of the genre. Blithely self-satisfied, wryly cold-blooded, Cockrill — the character himself, not just the actor Sim — clearly relishes playing the part of the blasé, take-charge investigator putting everyone on edge with his blunt observations about potential suspects, motives and opportunities.
Plot twists can be contrived or far-fetched, but the point isn’t the plot, or even the solution to the mystery. Rather, the film’s pleasures are in the specificity of its period detail and style, in its subtle subversion of the detective story conventions, and in Sim’s performance and understated voiceover narration.