Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. United Kingdom, 1949. The Archers, London Film Productions. Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. Screenplay by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, based on the novel by Nigel Balchin. Cinematography by Christopher Challis. Produced by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. Music by Brian Easdale. Production Design by Hein Heckroth. Costume Design by Josephine Boss. Film Editing by Clifford Turner.
Rare misfire from the team of Powell and Pressburger, who fail to make anything interesting of this story. David Farrar plays an alcoholic bomb expert whose reliance on the sauce is getting in the way of his job. Booby-trapped mines are blowing up throughout England and killing people, and because he is the best, Farrar’s skills are needed to help diffuse them in order to minimize losses. Kathleen Byron (Farrar’s co-star in Black Narcissus) is gorgeous as the secretary with whom he is secretly canoodling at their flat, but neither their romance nor the intensity of the main plot line are enough to really make anything memorable out of the weak script. Like all the Archers’ films, this is a beautifully shot, technically impressive drama whose details are ahead of their time, but nothing else makes an impression.