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Monday, 8 March 2010

Cottage To Let

What a brilliant film. I hadn't seen Cottage To Let for a few years but caught it yesterday afternoon on Film 4 and was pleased to find that it had lost none of it's charm.
If you haven't seen it it's a 1941 Gainsborough picture.
George Cole (in his debut) plays Ronald Mittsby a cockney evacuee who lands up in a little Scottish town at the home of brilliant inventor John Barrington (Leslie Banks) and his wife (Jeanne de Casalis). Also in residence are the Barrington's daughter Helen (Carla Lehman), John Barrington's assistant Alan Trently (Michael Wilding), recuperating spitfire pilot Flight Lieutenant Perry (john Mills), the cottage of the titles new and mysterious letter(?) Charles Dimble (Alastair Sim) and various staff including the butler Evans (Wally Patch).
John Barrington is designing a bomb sight for use by the RAF and unknown Nazi agents are after the invention not to mention the inventor himself for their own dastardly ends. It's the job of Sherlock Holmes disciple Ronald and various others to find out just who the rotter in the pack is.
This is a comedy/mystery/whodunnit (or is about to do it if we must be pedantic) that also gets across the then pertinent message that careless talk costs lives. I won't tell you just who is the Nazi agent, though truth be known it's not to difficult to guess despite some manful attempts to throw us off the scent. What's great about this film are the performances and, more importantly, the interplay between the different performers. George Cole in particular gives one of the best performances by a youngster that I've ever seen. Too often with kids in films I'm all set to get busy with my fists about their annoying little faces but George is just fine and shows straight off the bat just how he's managed to stay employed virtually without cease right up to this day. Another great turn is from Jeanne de Casalis who, if I'm honest, I'd never heard of before. She is fantastinc as the scatterbrained wife who carries on regardless, and makes a lot of those corny old lines seem perfectly natural and perfectly hilarious. The likes of the brilliant Alastair Sim, Leslie Banks and John Mills wouldn't have known how to let their audience down either so on the whole how could it miss? Oh I forgot that it's directed by Anthony Asquith too so there's another tick in the book.
Seriously folks check it out, you won't be dissapointed and even if you are it's not like you have my address.

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