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Old 09-18-2011, 01:53 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Please suggest "atmospheric" 40's English films

I've just been re-watching The Uninvited with Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey today (for the umpty-umpth time)... one of my all-time favorite films. Not so much because of the ghost story (which is one of the best ever put on film IMHO), but for that 40's English village atmosphere-- black and white, big houses, a few servants scattered around, drinking tea, dressing for dinner, fog, of course, and if not a ghost, then at least a nice murder...

My other favorite film is Rebecca, which has a lot of that going on, too. There are some other films that sort of capture this spirit... Laura is one. Also a modern one, Dead Again. There used to be a web site where you could find films by mood, but I've lost it.

Can anyone suggest other films of this type? Possibly sleepers, unknowns, obscure, forgotten. Preferably made in the 30's or 40's. With fall/winter coming on, I'm feeling in the mood for big fireplaces, and breakfast side tables laden with chafing dishes, tweedy walks with the dogs along the moors (and no apparent need to work)... you get the idea. Thx.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:14 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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I Know Where I'm Going is the first one that came to mind.
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:30 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Thanks ever so! Just added it to my Netflix queue.
Quote:
Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) is a headstrong young woman who travels to the bleak and moody Scottish Hebrides to marry a rich lord. Stranded by stormy weather along the way, Joan meets a handsome and penniless naval officer (Roger Livesey) who threatens to spoil her carefully laid-out life plans in this mythical romance by directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:11 PM
Maserschmidt Maserschmidt is offline
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I'm assuming you've seen The Third Man. If not, you should add it to the queue.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:15 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
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I like the film A Brief Encounter.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:16 PM
AnalogSignal AnalogSignal is offline
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For atmospheric English ghost stories, I recommend The Innocents (1961).
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:37 PM
Teacake Teacake is offline
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Blithe Spirit. Margaret Rutherford is marvellous.

A Matter of Life and Death.

Last edited by Teacake; 09-18-2011 at 04:40 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:34 PM
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For atmospheric English ghost stories, I recommend The Innocents (1961).
Another is Dead of Night (1945)
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:43 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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I like the film A Brief Encounter.
Oh, I will warn you--I weep copiously at that one no matter how often I have seen it. The first whiff of Rachmaninoff at the opening credits, and I'm gone.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:55 PM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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I Know Where I'm Going is the first one that came to mind.
Seconded. It's the first one I thought of too. Beautifully shot, like other Powell/Pressburger films.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:29 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Good suggestions, all!
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:38 PM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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Green for Danger is another little gem of a film. It's a murder mystery with a good dose of black comedy, set in a village hospital. It's got Alastair Sim in it, need I say more?
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:15 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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I cannot recommend Passport to Pimlico (1949) highly enough. A small London neighborhood discovers some old land grant from the King a couple of centuries back, and declares itself an independent sovereign nation. I'm not sure it has the particular atmospherics you're looking for, as it is distinctly urban and features most working class Londoners. But it's a wonderful film nonetheless.

Also, The Man in the White Suit (1951), an early Alec Guinness film, somewhat of a comic class warfare film.

These are my two favorite British films from that general era.

Last edited by Boyo Jim; 09-18-2011 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:29 PM
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Ministry of Fear is pretty good.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:42 PM
Ian D. Bergkamp Ian D. Bergkamp is offline
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Gaslight. Released in 1944, it stars Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten. MGM produced it, but it's set in London, so that might qualify it as an English film.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Eve View Post
Oh, I will warn you--I weep copiously at that one no matter how often I have seen it. The first whiff of Rachmaninoff at the opening credits, and I'm gone.
Dammit, and I'm already engaged again!
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:57 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Aren't most Agatha Christie films basically this?
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:27 PM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ximenean View Post
Green for Danger is another little gem of a film. It's a murder mystery with a good dose of black comedy, set in a village hospital. It's got Alastair Sim in it, need I say more?
That's the one I came in to recommend - as I recall, it has all the elements the OP is looking for.

"The Third Man", mentioned above, is a wonderful film and should be seen anyways, but note that it is NOT the kind of movie the OP is looking for, as it's set in post-war vienna, not a little English town!
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:33 PM
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I just watched "Suspicion", doubly good because it had Cary Grant.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:28 PM
choie choie is offline
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If you like Rebecca (and I adore it too) you might enjoy Jane Eyre, with Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles, and painfully young Elizabeth Taylor / Peggy Ann Garner. Then there's the other Bronte adaptation starring the other Rebecca star: Wuthering Heights, with Olivier and Merle Oberon as the IMHO hateful lead romantic duo that for some reason everyone wants to see together. (I always root for poor David Niven.)

Not in the right time period, but an oddly creepy film, is The Chalk Garden with Deborah Kerr (whose stiff coolness actually works here) and adorable Hayley Mills who's determined to uncover her governess's dark secrets, assuming she has any.... (Spoiler alert: yes, she does. )
  #21  
Old 09-19-2011, 12:09 AM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm Not Dennis Bergkamp View Post
Gaslight. Released in 1944, it stars Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten. MGM produced it, but it's set in London, so that might qualify it as an English film.
With a Swede, a Frenchman and an American in the main roles. But it does have the atmosphere.

I was going to recommend Dead of Night, but someone beat me to it, so I'm going to recommend The 39 Steps. Shows a bunch of different classes and surroundings, from a modern flat to a Scottish croft to a manor house, music halls, pub/inn, and of course Scotland Yard. Good suspense, typical early Hitchcock.


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Old 09-19-2011, 07:53 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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Much of Random Harvest, especially the first part, with amnesiac Ronald Colman wandering around in the fog as he tries to figure out 1.) where he's going and 2.) how not to be returned to the asylum. Ronald turns out to be pretty rich and quite a few scenes are set at his family's manor house, with lots of chafing dishes.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:11 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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If you want to go back to 1932, there's The Old Dark House, a creaky old horror/comedy/thriller, with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, and a stunning young Gloria Stuart (need I say the old lady in Titanic?). There most certainly is plenty of 'atmosphere', fog, servants, dressing for dinner. The Rocky Horror Picture Show seems to be based on this oldie.

Waterloo Bridge with Vivien Leigh? Not all of it, but there's some of what you are looking for in this wonderful movie.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:29 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Went the Day Well? is a great picture of the English countryside during WWII. An even better one would be A Canterbury Tale made by the previously mentioned Powell/Pressburger.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:52 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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These are great ideas! Can't wait for that first rainy day when I can light the fireplace!

A Canterbury Tale is a lovely, quirky film.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:43 PM
Maserschmidt Maserschmidt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01 View Post
That's the one I came in to recommend - as I recall, it has all the elements the OP is looking for.

"The Third Man", mentioned above, is a wonderful film and should be seen anyways, but note that it is NOT the kind of movie the OP is looking for, as it's set in post-war vienna, not a little English town!
Neither is Laura, which the OP also mentioned. But fair play to point it out.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:42 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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Of course, The Ghost and Mrs Muir has to be on your list. *sigh* Captain Gregg...

Portrait of Jennie is set in America, but an atmospheric movie.

StG
  #28  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:54 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm Not Dennis Bergkamp View Post
Gaslight. Released in 1944, it stars Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten. MGM produced it, but it's set in London, so that might qualify it as an English film.
Or, you could try to find the original version, made in England in 1940, starring Diana Wynyard and Anton Walbrook.
  #29  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:56 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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I just watched "Suspicion", doubly good because it had Cary Grant.
I actually cannot stand that movie, as the studio forced Hitchcock to tack on a ludicrous happy ending. In the original book the bride knew her husband was a serial killer, and her decision was whether or not to just let him kill her.
  #30  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:56 PM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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Not a fan of Suspicion either -- haven't seen all of Hitch's films, but all that are available to me since a kid.

Here's an excellent one -- one of the best film noir-style movies, and one of the best, period. Powell and Pressburger, The Small Back Room. Eminently English (spits on floor, being half-Irish), best movie short of Rio Bravo about drinking, and a damned good war-time movie as well. Gorgeous photography.
  #31  
Old 09-19-2011, 06:41 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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Aren't most Agatha Christie films basically this?
No, I've never seen any film of one of Christie's novels that meets the criteria.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve View Post
Or, you could try to find the original version, made in England in 1940, starring Diana Wynyard and Anton Walbrook.
Oh, thank, I love Gaslight, except that I hate everyone of the characters and actors. I would love to see a version I can enjoy.

I intend to reference this thread often over the next few months. I love curling up with a black and white with dialogue.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:53 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
I cannot recommend Passport to Pimlico (1949) highly enough. A small London neighborhood discovers some old land grant from the King a couple of centuries back, and declares itself an independent sovereign nation. I'm not sure it has the particular atmospherics you're looking for, as it is distinctly urban and features most working class Londoners. But it's a wonderful film nonetheless.

Also, The Man in the White Suit (1951), an early Alec Guinness film, somewhat of a comic class warfare film.

These are my two favorite British films from that general era.
Those were both produced at the old Ealing Studios. A look through their archives will come up with a lot of titles that would suit the OP.
  #33  
Old 09-19-2011, 11:19 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Those were both produced at the old Ealing Studios. A look through their archives will come up with a lot of titles that would suit the OP.
Thanks, I didn't realize. I've seen quite a few of the movies listed in that link and I like most of them quite a lot. The OP couldn't do much better than these for genteel British comedy.
  #34  
Old 09-21-2011, 10:00 AM
choie choie is offline
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Oh, thank, I love Gaslight, except that I hate everyone of the characters and actors. I would love to see a version I can enjoy.
I actually hated the original. Thought the acting was blah and overall it was just a lackluster film. But if you didn't like the acting in the remake (personally I thought Ingrid Bergman was achingly vulnerable and highly watchable as always, I loved Boyer while despising his character, and Joseph Cotten is as yummy as in almost everything I've seen him in), we probably have differing preferences so you might like it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:21 AM
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Went the Day Well? is a great picture of the English countryside during WWII.
Oooh, I came in to suggest this. I saw a restoration in the theater a few weeks ago. It was fantastic to see on the big screen. Besides the look of it (the OP will swoon) it's a fascinating story too, about how a small village takes on occupying Nazis.

Parts of Charlie Chaplin's excellent black comedy Monsieur Verdoux are set in the English countryside. No "Little Tramp" here, he's a serial killer!

Filmed 15 years after the given time frame, but Village of the Damned has pretty much what you're looking for.
  #36  
Old 02-09-2017, 01:54 PM
Heather_S Heather_S is offline
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I know this is an old thread, but I'm so glad I found it! I've been on a 40s movies kick lately, and especially love the English, atmospheric ones. I've seen a few mentioned here, but I'm excited to watch a lot of the other ones too!
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:04 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Welcome aboard! Come back and tell us how you liked them.
  #38  
Old 02-09-2017, 02:31 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is online now
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Glad you started this thread, TLou Some great ones have been suggested and I look forward to seeing those I hadn't heard of before. May I add Brighton Rock. They did a remake a few years ago that was ok but the original has wayyyyy more of the atmosphere I think you're looking for.
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Old 02-09-2017, 04:17 PM
Heather_S Heather_S is offline
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Thanks ThelmaLou! I've seen Rebecca, Laura, The Old Dark House, The Innocents, and I think a couple others mentioned here. Right now I'm watching Portrait of Jennie on YouTube. Another good one that I don't think is mentioned here is The Spiral Staircase (the original version from 1945). It's an American movie though. And another one I recently watched was called "Ladies in Retirement ". It's a very strange one but I loved it. And very atmospheric. If you haven't seen or heard of it, here's what IMDb says about it-

"Based on the play by Reginald Denham and Edward Percy, this drama focuses on Ellen Creed (Ida Lupino), a housekeeper who looks after Leonora Fiske, a retired actress living in the English countryside. When Ellen's eccentric sisters (Edith Barrett, Elsa Lanchester) visit their sibling at Leonora's home, tensions soon lead to murder. Though the death is carefully covered up, will the murderess get away with her crime, or will she be brought to justice?"
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:36 PM
Heather_S Heather_S is offline
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Oh another pretty good one I recently watched is called A Place Of One's Own (forgive me if it's already mentioned here). Another British ghost story, from 1945.
The next one I want to see is The Uninvited. It sounds like a good one.
  #41  
Old 02-09-2017, 06:33 PM
Miss Mapp Miss Mapp is online now
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If you like Laura and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, can I recommend another Gene Tierney film, Dragonwyck? An historical Jane Eyre/Rebecca wannabe, with whip-thin Vincent Price in one of his earliest villain roles.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:38 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
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crime, or will she be brought to justice?"
I do hope that Ida got away with it.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:58 PM
Heather_S Heather_S is offline
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I do hope that Ida got away with it.
lol I'm not going to give that away.
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:15 PM
Heather_S Heather_S is offline
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If you like Laura and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, can I recommend another Gene Tierney film, Dragonwyck? An historical Jane Eyre/Rebecca wannabe, with whip-thin Vincent Price in one of his earliest villain roles.
Oh yes I saw Dragonwyck too! It was pretty good! I saw a few different versions of Jane Eyre too and liked them all.
  #45  
Old 02-10-2017, 04:28 PM
Don Draper Don Draper is offline
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How about Odd Man Out (1947) starring James Mason (and a cameo appearance by William Hartnell). It's a moody, noir-ish film about the "Irish troubles". I love the film, but a lot of folks I have talked to don't know it.
  #46  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:16 AM
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My favorite English film from the 40's, though it may not be "atmospheric," is the 1957 American film, Witness for the Prosecution, which combines courtroom drama, noir and humor. I like the last line (spoiler alert) "Sir Wilfrid, you've forgotten your brandy!"
  #47  
Old 02-11-2017, 10:02 AM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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I miss Eve. That is all.

StG
  #48  
Old 02-11-2017, 03:49 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is online now
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Spellbound. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spellbound_(1945_film)
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:06 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is online now
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Pretty much any Powell/Pressburger film will snap your stix. 49TH PARALLEL; LIFE AND TIME OF COLONEL BLIMP; SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WANTED; that David Niven/Kim Hunter movie about the afterlife; THE RED SHOES; BLACK NARCISSUS.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:20 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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A genuine UK film from 1951, which is a little unusual, and unfairly obscure, is The Franchise Affair, based on a novel by Josephine Tey. Tey also wrote The Daughter of Time.
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