Saturday, March 07, 2009


A variation on the "old dark house" thriller set during one night at a Welsh lighthouse rumored to be haunted, where a phantom light has lured ships to doom on the rocks. The first 20 minutes or so follow three strangers as they make their way to the lighthouse one fateful night: the newly appointed lighthouse keeper (Gordon Harker), whose predecessor died mysteriously, is the only one to make the trip to the lighthouse legitimately; a reporter (Ian Hunter) and a young woman (Binnie Hale) sneak their way onto the tiny lighthouse island and are allowed to spend the night. It turns out that Hunter's brother is on a ship due to arrive that night, and he's there to make sure that his brother's ship doesn't meet a tragic fate. The rest of the film is confined to the lighthouse as the three main characters eventually begin working together to figure out whether the other folks staying the night have good or bad intentions. This British "quota quickie" directed by Michael Powell is very similar in atmosphere and execution to any number of American B-thrillers along the same lines. This has a light comic touch, mostly due to Harker, and though the outcome is predictable, there is fun to be had along the way, if little evidence of Powell's future talents (BLACK NARCISSUS, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, etc.). On the MPI Classic British Thrillers disc. [DVD]

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