Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tonight's Movie: The Interrupted Journey (1949) - A Kino Lorber DVD Review

Kino Lorber has just released the five-film British Noir II collection. This DVD set is a sequel to Kino Lorber's first British Noir set, which was released in 2015.

The titles in the new set, in chronological order, are: THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY (1949); COSH BOY (1953), also known by the title THE SLASHER; TIME IS MY ENEMY (1954); TIME LOCK (1957); and THE VICIOUS CIRCLE (1957), also known as THE CIRCLE.

THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY stars a pair of appealing leads, Richard Todd and Valerie Hobson.

Todd plays John North, a struggling writer who as the movie opens is running off by train with his mistress Susan (Christine Norden). However, rather than being thrilled, John is wracked with guilt at leaving behind his wife Carol (Hobson). John eventually works himself into such a state that when the train nears his home, he suddenly pulls the emergency cord and hops off the train as it stops, running home for a happy reunion with his wife.

John and Carol's reunion is cut short by the sound of a horrific crash, as another train plows into the train still stopped on the tracks. The couple run to help, but John is horrified to see Susan's body in the wreckage and later has nightmares that he caused the crash by pulling the cord which stopped the train.

John eventually comes clean to Carol about having been on the train and changing his mind, and the couple recommit to their marriage. They are further relieved to learn John didn't actually cause the wreck. But then something far worse happens -- it transpires that Susan died before the crash...murdered. And the police identify John as the likely suspect.

THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY is a cautionary tale in the manner of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944), with a dash of the mental trauma from SPELLBOUND (1945) on the side. The moral of the story: Never, ever cheat on your wife, or Very, Very Bad Things Will Happen!

I don't think the reference to THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is overly spoilerish, as THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY telegraphs quite early on that all is not as it first seems. The viewer watches with suspicion as the film becomes increasingly nightmarish and exaggerated; some of the scenes near the end called to mind the Dali-esque nightmares of SPELLBOUND. Most viewers will probably figure out the ending far in advance; some will greet the resolution of John's predicament with relief (I did), while others may feel cheated.

I like Todd, and while his character here isn't always admirable, I nonetheless enjoyed watching him. He's particularly effective in the scenes where his love for Hobson's character is rekindled. This is perhaps a good spot to enthusiastically recommend his early '50s films for Disney, including THE SWORD AND THE ROSE (1953) and ROB ROY: THE HIGHLAND ROGUE (1953), which both costarred Glynis Johns.

Hobson is charming as the devoted wife trying to hang on to her marriage. I especially enjoyed her repartee with the Inspector (Ralph Truman). Hobson's best-known roles include the adult Estella in GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) and KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949). She retired from the screen in 1954 when she married British politician John Profumo, would later be involved in a great scandal, leaving Hobson in a marital situation not too dissimilar from this film; she and and Profumo remained married until her passing in 1998.

THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY runs 77 minutes. It was directed by Daniel Birt. The black and white cinematography was by Erwin Hillier.

The print has some minor yet noticeable flaws, particularly in the early going, but is entirely watchable. I do wish the film had been subtitled, as occasionally British accents can be a challenge to understand, but this is a fairly "bare bones" set in the manner of Warner Archive DVDs, with the main purpose being to make the movies accessible to the public.

The disc includes trailers for three additional British films available from Kino Lorber.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this DVD.


Blogger john k said...

I'm really enjoying this "Brit Noir kick that Laura is on at the moment.
I'd love to get your lowdown on COSH BOY.
Oddly enough COSH BOY has just been released on Blu Ray by Kino in the USA
and by the BFI in the UK.
The BFI release has a raft of enticing extras for those with multi region
players or UK readers of this blog.
COSH BOY was a very tough movie for it's era and still pretty hard hitting
today.Lewis Gilbert went on to much more ambitious projects but his early
British films showed here was someone most capable of making something out
of nothing. His later Noir THE GOOD DIE YOUNG is classic Brit Noir and I live
in hope Kino give us a Blu Ray edition soon. Just check out that sensational
In COSH BOY the acting is superb and sadly several of the leading players
passed away at an incredibly young age. It's also interesting that three of
the players in COSH BOY are still with us;Joan Collins,Johnny Briggs and
Ian Whittaker.
Among the extras on the BFI release is an intriguing little short (25 mins)
from future exploitation film maker Robert Hartford Davis (CORRUPTION,BLACK GUNN)
The short Stranger In The City has,in stunning high def, lovely shots of London's
West End circa 1959-60.What I really loved were the shots of West End cinemas
years before the days of the multiplex.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

I agree with John's always-knowledgeable comments (I am always learning from him) and I am also enjoying your current avenue of some British 'noirs', Laura!

I particularly like the great vivid atmosphere, particularly the early scenes on and around the train, in "INTERRUPTED JOURNEY". I think a revisit to this film is overdue for Jerry.
Actually this KL set is highly-recommended as all the films included are worthwhile. John mentions that Joan Collins was in "COSH BOY" and I BELIEVE I am correct in saying that she made her debut appearance the year before in the Ealing drama "I BELIEVE IN YOU", a tribute to the probation service.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi John and Jerry! Thank you both for your comments, I always love to get your info on British films direct from the UK!

John, I'll definitely be reviewing COSH BOY at some point along with the other films in the set -- what an unusual title. Great to get your feedback on it. I looked up THE GOOD DIE YOUNG and it certainly has an impressive cast!

Jerry, I love train movies so I especially appreciated that aspect of THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY. I've been trying to remember if I've seen another movie which features a character pulling the emergency cord...I feel like I must have but can't think what it would be. I BELIEVE IN YOU looks interesting, especially with Celia Johnson in the cast.

Thanks again to you both!

Best wishes,

11:06 PM  

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