Monday, September 16, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard (1950)

I've recently been listening to the old time radio series DAVID HARDING, COUNTERSPY, which got me to thinking about the entertaining 1950 film by that name I watched a few years ago.

DAVID HARDING, COUNTERSPY was part of VCI's Forgotten Noir Vol. 3 DVD collection. There was one other film made based on the radio show, COUNTERSPY MEETS SCOTLAND YARD (1950), which is part of the VCI Forgotten Noir and Crime Collection, Vol. 4.

It had been far too long since I watched a film from one of my Forgotten Noir sets and really enjoyed pulling COUNTERSPY MEETS SCOTLAND YARD off the shelf and watching it. I find these "Forgotten Noir" movies great fun in general, and the David Harding films in particular are very entertaining. The Forgotten Noir films won't be for everyone, but I love every aspect of these movies, from the casts to the glimpses of Southern California to the slightly hokey ways the characters interact. In the Harding films I particularly love how on top of things the good guys are, so you never have to worry about how things will turn out!

Howard St. John returns as David Harding in COUNTERSPY MEETS SCOTLAND YARD, which was released four months after the earlier film. Also returning are Fred F. Sears as Agent Peters and John Dehner as Agent Reynolds.

An agent (Harry Lauter) monitoring a missile testing site in the American Southwest commits suicide just after dictating an important report for his boss, David Harding. Simultaneously important secrets go missing. Lickety-split, Harding is on his way to the location from Washington, D.C.; as he and his team of agents investigate the case, they unexpectedly discover that Agent Simon Langton (Ron Randell) of Scotland Yard is investigating as well.

How a British agent was able to independently launch an investigation on U.S. soil is never really explained, but it's fun watching Harding and Langton connect.

Langton joins forces with his U.S. counterpart to solve the mystery, which partly involves a beautiful secretary (Amanda Blake of GUNSMOKE) from the military base who knows top secret information being administered truth serum as part of her "psychiatric" treatments. She has no idea she's blabbing state secrets to foreign agents every couple weeks! The reports are then cleverly smuggled out of the doctor's office.

I found this a very fast-paced and engaging 67 minutes with a good cast. As with the previous film, John Dehner (pictured with St. John) is particularly enjoyable as a multitalented agent. I only wish there were more of these Counterspy movies! Well, at least I still have lots of episodes of the radio show...

The "B" films in these "Forgotten Noir" sets in general often play like really well-done extended TV episodes. It's easy to understand why these films mostly faded out after the early '50s, replaced by television, but they sure were fun while they lasted. I plan to catch up with more films in the sets soon.

COUNTERSPY MEETS SCOTLAND YARD was directed by Seymour Friedman and filmed in black and white by Philip Tannura.

The cast also includes June Vincent (BLACK ANGEL) and John Doucette as members of the spy ring.

Other films reviewed in this collection: HIGHWAY 13 (1948), SKY LINER (1949), WESTERN PACIFIC AGENT (1950), RADAR SECRET SERVICE (1950), and MOTOR PATROL (1950).

Side note, one of those films, RADAR SECRET SERVICE, probably had the lowest IMDb rating of any movie I've ever seen, but I had a good time watching it!


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Laura, this sounds like a real treat. Thanks. A nice cup of tea, a Nanaimo bar, and an hour to kill.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Not seen either of these films but they sound really rather enjoyable, Laura. You like them; I suspect therefore I would too!
Must look out for these VCI sets.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Caftan Woman and Jerry!

I feel quite sure you would both get a kick out of this film. If you get to try either this movie or the set I'd love to know what you think.

Best wishes,

11:29 PM  

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