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The Clouded Yellow (1950)   rating

Review: written 2008

Rather enjoyable Brit flick

 The Clouded Yellow (1950)

This is a movie from the heyday of British film-making, and a decent little thriller it is too. There was a certain economy of storytelling from movies of this period, the master of which was of course Hitchcock. While this does not rank quite with his British output, it's nonetheless a superior film of the time and worth a reissue.

Ex-spy Trevor Howard takes a quiet job in the country to get away from it all. However, when he starts to fall for his employers niece (the excellent Jean Simmons), deceit and murder bring his old training back to the fore and he is forced on the run. Kenneth More is sent from London to bring him in.

The first half of the movie with the set-up is absolutely Hitchcockian in tone, as the questions and feelings of something `not-quite-right' foster a feeling of unease. The second half, with the couple on the run, is somewhat less successful but still entertaining, despite a somewhat disappointingly abrupt ending. Kenneth More, always a favourite of mine, sleepwalks through an almost cameo-like role, but Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons are terrific. Arguably the real star though is post-war Britain - it is fascinating to see London and Newcastle, still recovering from the war, and from there we go to the moors and ultimately Liverpool.

Cast, directorial style borrowed from Carol Reed and Hitchcock, and the locations all make for a uniquely British thriller. Not demanding, but worth a watch.

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