Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Secret Column ( AKA The Four Just Men AKA The Secret Four) (1939)
Edgar Wallace sourced story of four regular guys who use their position and power to fight the enemies of England. Its a rip roaring little film about the the four men trying to stop the Nazis from destroying England (Though the Nazi's are never mentioned by name). It begins with what is supposed to be the execution of two men , which is then turned into a clever nick of time rescue. The story then shifts back to England as the quartet struggles to find who is the traitor in the British government.
It was made in the months just prior to the start of the Second World War it shows very clearly where the filmmakers stood- against appeasement and for standing up for something.
It's a a wonderful little film about men who will kill to keep England safe-much to the horror of a woman who stumbles on their work. The idea that some people need killing is one that was very alien to most movie audiences at the time and the notion tinges the film very nicely toward the seriousness that would become film noir in a few short years. The action is good, and the suspense real since it's clear from the outset that good guys do die.
This is one of my finds of the year and a real blast. This is a film that is going to stay in the favorites pile for frequent revisits.
I should note the main villain is Alan Napier,Alfred from the TV show Batman, as a traitorous minister in the employ of the Nazi's (who are never named)
A must see that can be had from Sinister Cinema.
(The source novel was turned into a TV series in 1959 starring Jack Hawkins)