Dick Barton Strikes Back
directed by Godfrey Grayson
starring Don Stannard, Bruce Walker, Sebastian Cabot, Jean Lodge, James Raglan, Humphrey Kemt, John Harvey, Morris Sweden
screenplay by Ambrose Grayson, based on the BBC-radio-serial
When fellow secret agent Creston (Morris Sweden) fails to show up at an
appointment, ready to deliver an important message, Dick Barton (Don
Stannard) grows suspicious & he & Snowey White (Bruce Walker)
pick up the trail of the man, only to find both his corpse and Fourcada
(Sebastian Cabot), his megalomanic killer, who captures Barton &
Snowey & tries killing them by gas-explosion - a fate they only
narrowly escape. Back at headquarters, they learn of a Mid-English
village, the inhabitants of which were wiped out by means unknown, &
to investigate this, they go up there to stay at the house of Lord
Armadale (James Raglan), who lives nearby with his secretary, beautiful
Tina (Jean Lodge). Barton soon manages to make a weird connection
between her, Fourcada, the wiping out of the village & a gipsy-tune
he repeatedly picked up during the proceedings - but not soon enough to
prevent the wiping out of yet another village. He does find out though
that it is all done by super-high-frequency noise, which goes directly
to the humans' braincells to destroy them. And he also finds that a
wandering fair was staying at each of the villages just prior to the
desaster - which also weaves in the gipsy-tune neatly. So Barton &
Snowey follow the fair to an industrial city in the North, only to be
captured by the villains - Fourcada, Tina, & their boss Armadale
(!). But Tina has a change of heart & helps our heroes to escape -
but has to die a heroine's death when doing so. Now it is up to Barton
to stop the villains from killing the city by super frequency sound -
which they are already starting to transmit from the city's largest
tower - & literally in the last second can he get to Armadale &
push him down an elevator shaft.
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The second of the Dick
Barton-movies (though the third to be filmed) is also the
best. Not only does it take its story seriously enough & handle it
with fast pace, it also has a rather original & even macabre
(killing people by blowing their brains out by hyper frequency sound)
screenplay that is also helped by creative direction - the innocent
gipsy's tune that is played out as a death sentence & pops up
frequently in the incidental music of the movie, the building up of the
death bringing sound in the finale - which actually puts this movie
above the usual b-actioners of its time.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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