Green for Danger (1946)

25 05 2009

This, on the other hand, is purely escapist entertainment, but it’s so hard to criticize it when it unfolds in such a fascinating way. It’s not going to move anybody beyond the simplicity of their manipulated reflexes, but it is a nearly perfect, twisting narrative wrapped up in some gorgeous high-contrast visuals. To make things simple, it is a blast to watch.

It is much of a surprise to learn that the film’s director and screenwriter, Sidney Gilliat, worked on more than a few scripts with Hitchcock. Like many of Hitchcock’s earlier British efforts, Gilliat’s film manages to effortlessly thrown in elements of any genre he chooses to explore. There’s comedy in the form of Alastair Sim’s wonderful performance as Inspector Cockrill. There’s romance in the form of Mr. Eden and Nurse Linley. There’s dysfunctional relationships in the form of, well, everyone, but Dr. Barnes and Nurse Linley specifically. The script, which is based on a Christianna Brand novel, unfolds like a “how-to” in pulling the audience into a situation that is not the least bit likely to cause personal reflection.

When I say stuff like this about Gilliat’s film, or even some of Hitchcock’s, I am, by no means, trying to downplay the accomplishment of entertaining, nay, engrossing a mass audience. I’ve mentioned before that Gilliat’s screenplay throws in so many genre elements, and he makes it look easy. At the same time, however, if one reflects back on all the progression of the story, not to mention the clues that subtly come afloat in the beginning, it becomes apparent how extremely difficult it is to write a story that is so concerned with the behavior of every character as well as every little action they perform. It’s a remarkable achievement, albeit one in a field that has been completely exhausted by modern filmmaking.

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One response

25 05 2009
peteski

Hey – just saw this. Great fun.

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