Dick Barton, Special Agent
directed by Alfred J. Goulding
starring Don Stannard, George Ford, Jack Shaw, Gillian Maude, Beatrice Kane, Ivor Danvers, Geoffrey Wincott, Arthur Bush, Alec Ross, Farnham Baxter, Morris Sweden, Ernest Borrow
screenplay by Alan Stranks, Alfred Goulding, based on the BBC-radio-serial
Dick Barton (Don Stannard) & entourage arrive at a quiet little
fiching town, where German villains Dr Casper (Geoffrey Wincott) &
Schuler (Arthur Bush) - disguised as Swedes - are up to ... well, no
good. So, even upon his arrival, they try to snuff Barton, but with
little success. & Barton soon finds out they are doing some
smuggling hiding the goods from lobsters they import from postwar
Germany, but the stuff seems to be pretty harmless, just some jewellery
... except for a suspicious phiole. & as Barton's investigations go
on, his 2 sidekicks, Snowey White (George Ford) & Scotsman Jock
(Jack Shaw - complete with kilt & bagpipes) are abducted by the
villains, & when Barton goes after them, he is only caught himself.
But fortunately there is bright boy hero Snub (Ivor Danvers) who manages
to free Snowey & & Jock, while Schuler gloats to a chained up
Barton of how he & Casper - Nazi leftovers from the war - will
poison all England with germs - kept in these suspicious looking
phioles. Of course, after Schuler is off, Snub, Jock & Snowey free
Barton, & he, with the help of the police, manages to spoil the
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This early post-war effort by Hammer was based on an immensely
popular BBC-radio-serial. But while the radio programme is said to have
been an exciting espionage show, its translation to the big screen
proves to be less successful: Firstly the efforts to make a decent story
are seriously hampered by the film's low budget - which is not always a
diosadvatage, just in this case -, secondly the little action that is
actually shown does not at all look convincing, the care the actors took
in the fistfights not to hurt each other clearly translates to
the screen, & finally, the thrown-in & basically unfunny comedy
does greatly divert from the suspense plot, which also is not helped by
rural, quiet, idyllic fishing town settings.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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