The Missing Million, 1942.
Directed by Philip Brandon.
Starring Linden Travers, John Warwick, Patricia Hilliard, John Stuart, Ivan Brandt, Brefni O’Rorke, Charles Victor and Marie Ault.
When a millionaire man-about-town mysteriously disappears on the eve of his wedding, a chain of violent and incomprehensible events is set into action…
On the eve of his wedding, millionaire Rex Walton (Ivan Brandt) mysteriously disappears without a trace. His sister Joan (Linden Travers) works closely with Inspector Dicker (John Stuart) to discover the whereabouts and truth behind Walton’s apparent vanishing act. However, as they delve deeper into the investigation, darker secrets and more dastardly developments emerge…
According to the BFI, this gem of a British wartime crime film was last shown on T.V in the U.S in 1953 and in Britain in 1949. Sixty years on, it finally gets a DVD release. Adapted from a novel by the prolific crime writer Edgar Wallace it is another of those black and white classics like the Ealing films which all seem to have the British stiff upper-lip in them. Sometimes that stiffness can be found in the delivery of lines, some of which are quite blunted and movements of the actors during conversation as they discuss why poor Rex has vanished and what can be done about it. There are plenty of stereotypical examples of the differences of class and culture of the time; butlers, maids and chauffeurs on hand to serve the lord of the house, seemingly indifferent police and even a safe-cracker with a strong cockney accent. In addition, some of the lingering close-ups are almost comical in their length, but none of these are bad things. They are all components that help to deliver a typical black and white old British film.
The story clips along at a good pace; almost immediately Walton has gone missing and the investigation has begun. There are very few slow parts that caused my interest to stutter and there were some good twists and turns on the way right to the end when the mischief-maker is revealed and the tale comes to a climax.
It’s quite dark in places as some of the villainous acts are divulged, but never too much to prevent you from enjoying an easy to watch and entertaining film. If you’re a fan of classic older British films, in particular some of the crime based Ealing greats; I think you’ll like it.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
J-P Wooding – Follow me on Twitter.