Category Archives: Directed by Eugene Forde

Inspector Hornleigh (1939, Eugene Forde)

It would be interesting to know how much of Inspector Hornleigh features Gordon Harker (playing Inspector Hornleigh) on screen. While Harker does get a fair amount of the running time, a lot is spent on his sidekick, played by Alastair Sim, and the villains.

The script’s approach to narrative drains the mystery from the film. The mystery is solved at the end, but it’s a mystery the ending itself raises. It’s supposed to be a twist, but the film’s gone on so long (and it runs under ninety minutes) and made all the characters so unlikable, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not even a particularly interesting investigation.

But then there’s Sim. Sim has this endless comedy sequence (it’s probably five minutes), where he bumbles around. It’s kind of amusing, Sim’s good and all, but it’s pointless inserted into this light police procedural. The approach to Sim’s character is strange overall. He’s a moron, but Harker’s star inspector brings him along… and spends all his time not just ridiculing his intelligence, but his Scottish heritage. Inspector Hornleigh does not think highly of foreigners–Scots are dimwits and the Irish and Greek are evil.

The supporting cast has ups and downs. Steven Geray (a Hungarian) plays a Greek villain with a poor Peter Lorre impression. Edward Underdown and Hugh Williams are a tad bland. Gibb McLaughlin and Ronald Adam are both fine.

Harker and Sim are able to keep the film afloat for a while, but they tire by the end.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Eugene Forde; written by Gerald Elliott, Richard Llewellyn and Bryan Edgar Wallace, based on characters created by Hans Wolfgang Priwin; directors of photography, Philip Tannura and Derick Williams; edited by James B. Clark and Douglas Robertson; music by Bretton Byrd; produced by Robert Kane; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Gordon Harker (Inspector Hornleigh), Alastair Sim (Sergeant Bingham), Miki Hood (Ann Gordon), Wally Patch (Sam Holt), Steven Geray (Michael Kavanos), Edward Underdown (Peter Dench), Hugh Williams (Bill Gordon), Gibb McLaughlin (Alfred Cooper), Ronald Adam (Wittens), Eliot Makeham (Alexander Parkinson) and Peter Gawthorne (The Chancellor).


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Berlin Correspondent (1942, Eugene Forde)

Fox did the best 1940s propaganda films. Cranked them out, I imagine. I’ve only seen a couple others and then Hitchcock’s awful effort, Saboteur.

Berlin Correspondent might steal its name from Hitchcock’s excellent Foreign Correspondent but that’s about it. Foreign is sort of globetrotting. Berlin is… Berlin-trotting. Dana Andrews is great, as Dana Andrews usually is, and the female lead is decent: Virginia Gilmore. She did very little, but she’s kind of like the Fox-variant of Jane Wyman. Sig Ruman shows up in a funny part and there’s a great Nazi bad guy (Martin Kosleck, a native German who left when the Nazis came into power).

Berlin Correspondent runs almost seventy minutes and is never boring. The film asks the audience to accept a great deal of stupidity, but it’s fine. We invest in the performances and the promise of an amusing diversion. It’s a film that exemplifies the lost genre of a good way to waste some time….

(Though I did have schoolwork to do, so I didn’t actually have any time to waste).

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Eugene Forde; written by Jack Andrews and Steve Fisher; director of photography, Virgil Miller; edited by Fred Allen; music by David Buttolph; produced by Bryan Foy; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Virginia Gilmore (Karen Hauen), Dana Andrews (Bill Roberts), Mona Maris (Carla), Martin Kosleck (Captain von Rau), Sig Ruman (Dr. Dietrich), Kurt Katch (Weiner) and Erwin Kalser (Mr. Hauen).