In a rural English hospital during WWII, a postman dies on the operating table. One of the nurses states that she has proof of who the murderer is. The facetious Inspector Cockrill suspects one of the five doctors and nurses who were in the operating theater to be the assassin. But four poisonous pills have disappeared....Written by
Jean-Marie Berthiaume <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As the movie takes place in 1944 whilst Britain is being attacked by V1 bombs ('doodlebugs'), the windows and glass doors in the hospital should have been taped to prevent glass being shattered by an explosion and blowing in on people inside. See more »
The British film industry has had a chequered history, but was arguably at its finest in the 40's and 50's when it produced little gems like this.
Straightforwardly plotted convergent mysteries of this genre, with or without a major twist, never fail to give simple satisfaction when acted by such a cast of stalwarts and regular journeypersons as we find here. Some may find the stiff upper lips and well modulated tones of the middle classes a little grating for modern tastes, where nurses all speak naicely and ordinary folk are played by caricature cockneys. Speaking of stiff upper lips, their very personification Trevor Howard is, of course, in it, playing a surgeon with a cloud over his career. Which is why the whole is leavened by the unique figure of Alastair Sim.
No matter how serious the role he must play, his lugubrious features invariably betray an innate whimsicality, that essence of grown-up-naughty-schoolboy that we find so universally engaging, and which is the world's view of Britishness at its best. He makes it possible to insert a pratfall or quip to lighten the atmosphere without losing it.
Films like this were very easy and cheap to make - minimal locations, scenery munching, explosions or car wrecks. Current film makers might take note of their bang-per-buck in an era when nostalgic baby boomers are making their cinema presence felt again. But where will they find another Alastair Sim?
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