A great murder mystery. The only clue to a mad killer's identity is his shoes! The crime's only witness saw them while she was bent over picking something up. Duryea is fantastic as the "... See full summary »
Surrounded by new 1950s East End high-rise flats, a London detective thinks back to how different things were in the late 1930s. Then it was an area of overcrowded tenements teeming with ... See full summary »
At 1:13 a clean, rebuilt "Royal Scot" class 4-6-0, number 46126, backs onto and couples up with the carriages forming the express in the station. At 1:14:52 the train leaves the station headed by a scruffy "Jubilee" class 4-6-0. See more »
Like a mixed box of chocolates, you never can be quite sure of what flavour you're going to end up enjoying, with portmanteau films, especially with some of the British examples such as this from the 1940's.
Of the 4 stories here, all indirectly related through a train crash, the only one I found of any real interest was the darkest; The Actor which involved the murder of an estranged spouse and boasted clear Hitchcock influences. Peter Finch gave an intense performance as the eponymous character, but seriously, a corpse hidden in a theatre hamper with which you are travelling, seeing you are part of a company? I know it's a short story, but as we saw in Frenzy or The Trouble With Harry, Hitch would have had more fun with this thread.
The Prisoner of War was just plain dull, though the plot line intersected with that of The Actor, briefly on the train.
The Composer was a good example of a degree of style trumping not a lot of substance. I think it was supposed to be funny, but the laughs were few and far between.
The longest story, The Engine Driver also served as the ostensible framing tale for the anthology. Ho- hum family dramedy, but I don't think it spoils anything in saying this episode had the happiest ending.
The interest for me in these compendium films is seeing the genesis of a cinematic sub-genre. Later directors such as Quentin Tarantino have taken the device and used it to arguably produce related short stories of a far more consistently high standard, such as seen in Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2.
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