DR. NO
1962, MGM/Park Circus, 111 min, UK, Dir: Terence Young

Now almost taken for granted, this initial adaptation of Ian Fleming’s spy novels was a subversive breath of fresh air, depicting for the first time a secret agent who was an unapologetically suave, promiscuous - not to mention homicidal hero. Sean Connery proved amazingly popular as the ultimate sexy beast, James Bond, ushering in the entire 1960s spy-film craze. One of the best of the Bond films, with its Caribbean locale, Ursula Andress’ sensual presence as the feral nature girl and Joseph Wiseman as the evil mastermind with black metal hands.


SABOTEUR
1942, Universal, 108 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock transfers the successful formula of his British films to Hollywood by telling yet another story of a falsely accused man on the run. This time it’s Robert Cummings as Barry Kane, an aircraft worker who is blamed for an explosion at his factory. As Kane hunts down the real saboteurs, Hitchcock uses his familiar chase structure to justify slyly satirical musings on patriotism and its flipside, paranoid ideas that culminate in the wonderful climax set on top of the Statue of Liberty. Norman Lloyd co-stars as one of the most wickedly engaging villains in the Hitchcock oeuvre.


THE LADY VANISHES
1938, MGM Repertory, 97 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

No one believes witty playgirl Iris Henderson (a fine Margaret Lockwood) when she claims the elderly “governess” Miss Froy has mysteriously disappeared from a train en route from the fictional country of Bandrika to Western Europe. No one, except for charming Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), who joins forces with Iris to expose the foreboding magic trick of a woman vanishing into thin air on a moving locomotive. Featuring mesmerizing overlapping camera work by cinematographer Jack Cox and a script loaded with can’t-believe-that-slid-past-the-censors political doozies, THE LADY VANISHES is so much more than its usual branding as “light entertainment” - it’s Hitchcock at his pre-Hollywood best, a perfect blend of suspense and screwball.Watch for Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford as two cricket-obsessed fellow passengers - their pairing here was so successful, they co-starred in a further 10 films playing essentially the same characters!


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