Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Clouded Yellow, 1950


Trevor Howard uses his secret agent skills to help Jean Simmons escape an apparently false murder charge.

James Bond movies reportedly boosted the British "Secret Service's" public image, but this movie, made in 1950, was kind of a mixed bag. Trevor Howard is fired for a single mistake and unable to find work because he can't put being a secret agent on his resume, then the Secret Service threatens and spies on him to keep him from revealing any of their secrets. He's forced to work for a wealthy eccentric helping him catalog his butterfly collection. Jean Simmons plays his disturbed niece.

In this thing, Howard can only outsmart the cops up to a point. He karate chops a couple of guys and says Sorry, old chap, as he does it, but that's it. The revelation of who the real killer wasn't much of a surprise and I don't think it was supposed to be.

There were a couple of odd things. At one point, a woman is taking her son to the bathroom on a crowded train and Howard escapes his captors by telling her he'll take the kid for her. He picks him up and carries him away and the mother is happy to let him do it. The other secret service guys are blocked by the crowd. Things were very different back then.

There's a scene where Jean Simmons is on the roof of a tall building. She runs to the edge and barely stops in time. There's no wall or railing to keep her from falling over the side. I don't know if they had some other safety apparatus but it looked terribly dangerous.

I watched this on a cheap Roku channel called "Pub-D-Hub" which carries only public domain movies. Some, like this one, are pretty good, but most are old B movies which are usually terrible. In some cases they use movies they simply recorded off TV---there are couple with the TCM logo in the corner, and some were copied from DVDs with the company logo in the corner. For this one, they had a very good copy from Janus films.

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