Sunday, January 05, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Scotland Yard Inspector (1952)

When looking over the titles in my new Forgotten Noir Collector's Set 3 from VCI, I became intrigued by the idea of Cesar Romero starring in a movie called SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR.

I watched the movie this afternoon, and as it turns out, Romero does not play the title role, but instead he plays an American newspaper reporter investigating a murder in Britain. The original UK title, LADY IN THE FOG, is actually a much more apt title for the story.

I found SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR to be an enjoyable 73 minutes. Romero's reporter, Phil O'Dell, meets Heather McMara (Bernadette O'Farrell) in a pub; when Heather's brother Danny (Richard Johnson) is killed in a hit-and-run accident later that evening, Heather insists he was murdered, and Phil decides to look into the case.

Along the way Phil romances Heather and annoys Inspector Rigby (Campbell Singer) and Det. Sgt. Reilly (Alastair Hunter).

Beyond the pleasant story, I found this film interesting for a few other reasons. I was interested to learn Cesar Romero was one of a number of U.S. film stars, including Robert Montgomery, Ray Milland, George Brent, and Joel McCrea, who filmed mysteries in the UK in the early '50s. This was a Lippert production in association with Hammer Films, filmed at Riverside Studios.

I previously enjoyed Romero in the very entertaining Lippert film FBI GIRL (1951), one of a handful of Lippert films he made in the early '50s.

The movie is also a chance to see Lois Maxwell, aka "Moneypenny," in a film relatively early in her career, which lasted over half a century. Incidentally, don't believe any IMDb reviews which say Maxwell is the leading lady; although she is the top-billed female actress, she is not the film's heroine.

Bernadette O'Farrell, the film's lead actress, had married writer-director Frank Launder in 1950. She would go on to star as Maid Marian opposite Richard Greene in the ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD TV series of the mid-'50s, then retired in 1960 to focus on marriage and motherhood.

SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR was directed by Sam Newfield.

I really appreciate VCI, which does a terrific job making available lesser-known Western and film noir titles, as well as many British films. In addition to SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR and FBI GIRL, other obscure but enjoyable films seen thanks to VCI in the last few years include BURY ME DEAD (1947), PANHANDLE (1948), SKY LINER (1949), EYE WITNESS (1950), OPERATION HAYLIFT (1950), and SHOTGUN (1955).


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