Saturday, 28 November 2015

Emeric alone… Miracle in Soho (1957)

It’s 1957 and the greatest team in British cinema history has reached the end with Ill Met by Moonlight; Michael Powell will go on to make Peeping Tom and leave for Australia eventually finding Helen Mirren and James Mason on a beach. But what of Mr Pressburger, the man who contributed at least as much to put the arch in The Archers?

Miracle in Soho was directed by Julian Amyes from a script Pressburger had originally written in 1934  it does actually feel like half of a P&P film in spite of the contribution from two of their main collaborators: cinematographer Christopher Challis and composer Brian Easdale (not to mention Cyril Cusack). That doesn’t make it a bad film though; it’s a very interesting film even if, at this remove, it’s hard to tell how authentic the Soho in the picture was: when did the pet shops and Salvation Army get replaced by “models” and clip joints?

A glimpse of your actual Soho and then on set
The film is a celebration of multi-cultural London written by a Hungarian Jew who had only arrived in this country a few years earlier. Had he been welcomed or was he, in the manner of A Canterbury Tale, calling for a jot more tolerance by evoking the natural inclusivity of “Britishness”? There’s redemption for everyone by welcoming in others to help, supporting each other, solidarity with mates and a church that not only holds family together but can also summon convenient ruptures in the water supply…

Entirely British
Lead character Michael Morgan (John Gregson who’s nicotine-stained hand reveals perhaps a far more anxious character than the one he is playing) is very much an island; picking up and discarding girlfriends in every street he works and moving on relentlessly not wishing to be tied down by the responsibility of genuine affection.

The negative impact of this is seen in the opening scenes as firstly a vengeful husband arrives to deck one of the workmen, also called Michael, in the mistaken belief that he’s the man who was making merry with his Suzie. Then a young woman called Maggie (a youthful Billie Whitelaw – so classy at any age) arrives in search of Michael, who tells her she’s misunderstood their relationship “this is the way it was with us…” he says, man-splaining (as my daughter would say) his dispassionate view of their open engagement, one purely based on the location of his work and nothing more… besides, he’s already got his eyes on the tight sweater of barmaid Gladys (Barbara Archer).

Billie and Babara at the bar
Michael is part of a group of workers called in to relay the tarmacadam on St Andrew’s Lane, a made up street in a studio-bound Soho. The massive sets, designed by Oscar-winner Carmen Dillon, evoke a London of time just past – lots of familiar brands in the pet shop but with long gone beers in the pub: you’ll have to go to The Coach and Horses on Greek Street to see still-extant advertising for Double Diamond and other lost ales.

Cyril Cusack looks over The War Cry to disapprove...
It’s a street full of the new influx of immigrants who helped build Britain from the thirties onwards, who opened restaurants, hairdressers, dance studios and shops of every type to bring vibrancy to the streets. There’s a harmony in the film’s Soho that may not have been entirely matched by contemporary reality but Pressburger wasn’t just an optimist he had been welcomed by this country as had many others and – surviving from this time there is still the French House, Bar Italia and Maison Bertaux (from 1871 actually).

Cyril and Rosalie Crutchley
Michael sets about hammering the old road up and befriending his workmates whilst arranging to view Gladys’ sweater in closer quarters. He has to make a quick exit as they are interrupted by the arrival of her boyfriend Filippo Gozzi (Ian Bannen) an intense young man who manages a wine merchant's and is intent on marrying Gladys.

Filippo is part of an Italian family whose father (Peter Illing) plans on moving them all to Canada to find a new life. Daughter Mafalda (Rosalie Crutchley) is the eldest and resolved to marrying a convenient man whilst youngest Julia (Belinda Lee) is still to be disappointed by life – she is not ready to compromise.

Belinda Lee's belting smile floors John Gregson
Working his way up the street as either postman or Salvation Army “captain” is Sam Bishop (Cyril Cusack – who masters a lovely high-pitched busy-bodied tone throughout), who acts as a one man Greek chorus.

Around them are bit parts from well-known faces as expectant husbands, blondes in need and sagacious watchmen… there’s a lot of life in this street.

The actors ignore the distraction of all those ancient brands...
Naturally Julia catches Michael’s attention and the question will be whether she will be just another “best girl in the street” for the itinerant Romeo or whether he’ll finally be brought to ground and, even if he is, will anything stop her joining the family exodus to Canada?

Miracle in Soho is a gently compelling film given extra intimacy by the unreality of its camera-angled sets. There are good performances from Crutchley, Bannen and Cusack as you’d expect whilst Belinda Lee is charming enough to anchor any wanderer’s affections.  John Gregson pushes the envelope on his natural likability and, whilst his Irish accent frequently deserts him he’s spot on as decency takes hold.

The family that sings together...
With far grittier kitchen sinks just around the corner, the film looks back rather than forward but still has a cosy charm all of its own and the magic realist tone you would expect from its author and producer. Brian Easdale also delivers a nuanced score – he knew where to find the buried meanings in Emeric’s words.

The film is available at reasonable price from Movie Mail and Amazon – probably not entirely essential but if you love The Archers you will like this.

The old man prefers his tea from the saucer...me too!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Dust in Dalston… Written in Dust (2014), with Ling Peng and Andrew Middleton, Rio Cinema


There were some interesting questions on the survey handed out to gauge response to this film: “How often have you seen a silent film with live music?” answer: many times and then “How often have you seen a modern film mixing traditional Chinese music with modern composition?” answer: never before…

Gareth Rees’ modern silent emerged last year with a tour of China as well as elsewhere, always with live accompaniment and this was the last show of a short UK outing featuring the score performed live by Ling Peng and Andrew Middleton who provided a unique blend of textural support: something old and something very new.

Nick Ma
As a live cinematic experience it worked very well and for an hour and a half we were submersed in the sights of Beijing regarding the city with an intimacy not always found in sound films. Rees’ use of silent film in this context meant that we had to study facial expressions for meaning with no distraction from sub-titles. Silent film was always a great leveller for world cinema with pantomime an international language and title cards interchangeable: it still works.

Bin Ba
The score from Peng and Middleton brought the audience even closer with the former playing a variety of traditional instruments  - Erhu (two-stringed Chinese violin), Guzheng (Chinese zither) and Xun (wind instrument) – and the latter on piano, electronics and an obscure western six-stringed device called a guitar.

This mix of classical and modern reflects the film’s concern with the strangeness of ultra-modern urbanisation and its impact on individuals who are often shown in close up, dwarfed by the glass monoliths surrounding them with aggressive angularity.

Arrival
It opens with three figures approaching a massive edifice of artificially-lit tower blocks: “at last, the city” one of them says. We see the three riding through the neon streets – youngsters from the country, sucking in every detail of this new environment, their faces ablaze.

The three are Han (Bin Ba), Ling (Lily Guo) and Bo (Nick Ma) and they are here to make a living and, perhaps, to find themselves. They arrive at their tiny one-room apartment and roll out their meagre possessions – tomorrow they will find work.

Lily Guo
Rees has a keen eye for detail throughout and the lives of those in what is little more than a brick-built shanty town are shown in detailed juxtaposition with the new city – toddlers wandering across the dusty roads as huge lorries pass by, a community of small-holders huddled together for food and company against the backdrop of anti-septic immensity.

A dangerous place
The following day, Bo is greeted by a neighbour who works on a building site and follows him to find work shovel in hand. Han spots a woman collecting plastic bottles and starts to do the same being paid a pittance for the effort whilst Ling gets work as a waitress.

Small beginnings but they are off the mark.

Nick Ma and Bin Ba
Ambitions slowly reveal themselves. Han eyes an attractive girl handing out leaflets in front of an office complex - he catches her eye but she won’t go for lunch with a waste collector. Bo loves Ling but doesn’t have the confidence to let her know whilst she longs to be a singer.

Han plays the lottery – the get-rich-now long-shot of every advanced society and fortune of a kind is on its way as Bo’s workmate dies in his sleep and the boys find a wad of cash hidden in his shorts: the meagre rewards of a life in the city. There’s a picture of the man and his sister in the room – Han hides it and any sense of duty to the living person in the picture.

Bright lights, really big city
Han tells Bo that they mustn’t tell Ling and he concocts the lie that he has won the lottery. They have money now and begin to spend it, especially Han who can now impress the girl with a motorised scooter.

But Bo is troubled by the windfall and when his workmate’s sister turns up looking for her brother’s savings he is tormented even more whilst Ling works out was has happened. She tells Han what she knows and understands why he did it – “for them” – and just as she embraces him Bo looks on from afar, his heart breaking. But Han rebuffs Ling for the sake of his friend: none of the three is without honour these are characters with human depth, well written and superbly played.

Ling sings in the Lily Bar
Ling gets a job singing in a bar wearing the white wig familiar from the film’s flyers (I have quite a collection of those as Mr Rees has been tireless in promoting Dust at other silent film events!) and things are looking up. But can the trio truly escape the consequences of their combined culpability and will the city claim them…?

Dust was a thoroughly immersive hour and a half with lovely performances from the three leads and a simple story well told by the director. Gareth even turned up as a tourist who photographs Han retrieving his water bottle from a rubbish bin.

A lovely sequence as the figure walks off, blurring into the lights...
Interestingly, a large proportion of audience responses indicate that people haven’t been to see a silent film with live accompaniment before: Written in Dust is therefore achieving the remarkable feet of introducing new audiences to an old form done in modern style. It’s what the film is all about and so gratifying it must be to see this impact on the cinema-goers.

Dust deserves more attention and another tour. Watch the film’s website for more details and its social media channels on Twitter and Facebook. There are trailers on YouTube from which I appropriated the above images (sorry!)... but, such a lovely film, I would like to watch it again.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Duty to passion… Red Heels (1925)


Das Spielzeug von Paris (entitled Red Heels in English – from its source book by Margery Lawrence) is an Austrian film directed by Michael Curtiz (Michael Kertesz at this point in his journey to the very top) that tells an old tale of theatrical fortunes and conflicting loves. There’s a lot of flash and a fair amount of flesh but a story that ultimately side-steps some of its designated clichés...

There’s a clear fix on the new star Lili Damita who is seen in a variety of stunning gowns and dance pieces in which the current Mrs Curtiz and future Mrs Flynn shows an incredible amount of energy with a physical expression that is exhausting to watch even at this distance.


She can dance and she can act and she can also “wear”… there’s a very popular still of La Damita in a silver, evening gown that has a popularity all of its own in fact it’s far easier to find than this film which I obtained from an American retailer that claims to "love the classics" but which took an age to deliver… still, it did arrive.

It was probably worth the wait as, mostly, the film is in good nick and presumably the source material is even clearer “nth” generations up the line.

Show girl: Lili Damita and Henry Treville
Curtiz presents a film that feels five years ahead of time with huge set-piece stage sequences and dialogue-heavy title cards that would be much improved by the rapid-fire delivery of a Glenda Farrell or Joan Blondell although whether either could move as impressively as Lili I doubt: there’s a wildness in her expression that looks more to Pola Negri that Norma Shearer. No wonder Errol liked her so much.

Behind the scenes at the new Eden...
Curtiz is very strong on the back-stage machinery of the revue at Nouvel Eden, one of the shining lights of La Pigalle but as one of the venues main patrons, Vicomte François de la Roche de la Maudry (Henry Treville) walks through the giggling showgirls, the theatre manager (Hans Moser) is wrestling with the problem of declining ticket sales.

Ninette (Maria Fein) the current Revueprimadonna, is past her best and a new star is required to reverse their fortunes. The Vicomte has just the person in mind and take the manager to a club in Montmartre to witness a ferocious dance from one Susana Armard (Lili Damita) whose stage name is Célimène.

And that's probably jazz...
Before long Célimène is the toast of Paris and knocking them dead with her high kicking all action costume wearing a feast of feathers and lithe limbs in perpetual motion in stages that would make Busby’s accountant wince.

At the same time we are introduced to English playboy Miles Seward (Eric Barclay) who with his pal Miguel (Theo Schall) catch site of a flyer for Susana/Célimène’s show and make their plans. Miles is involved with a young woman of standing Dorothy Madison (Ria Günzel) whose mother, Lady Madison (Traute Carlsen) deeply approves of this sensible young man.

That floor's bound to be covered in dust!
Miles and Theo hit the Nouvel Eden just in time to see Célimène’s act and Miles forgets all about his fiancée as he goes to see the actress after the show. Célimène reciprocates this interest and a little spark ignites that will keep them both warm for some months to come.

Temptation
We don’t see much of Miles’ regular existence but we are treated to the broken flower vase of his desire as Curtiz offers some frankly pre-pre-code allusions to wantonness. Damita is all extended limbs and arched torso as she embraces her new love but there are conflicts to be addressed.

Miles is a respectable man and Susana is a show girl; he has his responsibility and duty to marry Dorothy whilst she had her professional duty and affiliation to her sugar Vicomte… but there’s more; she genuinely loves performing and possibly as much as anything or anyone else.

But right now, their growing concern is very much for each other and things come to a head as Miles is out with his fiancée, sister Nan (Marietta Müller) and Miguel. Susana arrives with the Vicomte in tow and daggers are cast each way across the room. Miles cracks and dances with Susana forcing the Madisons to leave as a helpless Miguel pleads his buddy’s case.

Miles walks the long walk home alone, along deserted Parisian streets in the early morning… When he arrives home he finds Susana waiting and the rest is physicality…

Happy ever afters?
Cut to some idyllic pastorality as Miles and Susana revel in the fields and quay-side of his retreat in Brittany: it looks very much like a happy ending and in some films that would surely be that.

But Célimène lies restlessly-dormant and perhaps sensing this the Vicomte persuades fellow performer and best buddy Christina (Maria Hasti) to invite her to a party at his pad, Villa Paradiso up the coast. She gleefully takes off leaving a note for Miles.

Back in the old groove?
Of course, when she arrives at the Villa it’s not just a party but a stage set for her to perform and she soon succumbs to the champagne and the beckoning of the old groove.

The weather has changed and in near darkness with the rain pelting down, Miles goes off on foot to rescue his love… cue lots of pained shirt-drenched determination intercut with plumed jazz-dancing. Miles makes his way and a face-off with the Vicomte and Célimène/Susana.

Through the wind and the rain...Eric Barclay
Miles retreats only to be followed by Susana who discovers that the wind has changed and is now blowing in her face… she loses sight of Miles and after finding him not at home struggles to return. Rescued by a car from the Villa she succumbs to a fever – it’s pneumonia… Will she survive and will she be re-united with Miles? The answer is not straightforward…

Duty versus passion
Samuel Goldwyn smartly invited Lili Damita to Hollywood after watching this film and it’s easy to see why – she was an excellent dancer and silent actress (she had a stage background) and would even made the transition to sound in films like Fighting Caravans with Gary Cooper and This is the Night with an impossibly youthful Cary Grant.

Lili Damita
The film is clearly a vehicle for her and her husband focuses very closely on all aspects of her role including the odd, very continental, wardrobe malfunction.  But it’s an engaging film all round which, even if the plot is rather convoluted, ends on an interesting note. It deserves wider recognition not just for its star though but also for the most bizarre dance routine involving giant chefs and ballerina’s dancing around huge mixing bowls… now that’s what I call entertainment!

A bake-off dance-off?!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Anna May Wong on... Song (1928) with Stephen Horne, Regents Street Cinema


“…a hapless piece of work that is years behind the times.”

Mordaunt Hall turned the scathe-ometer up to eleven in his New York Times review when Song was released 1928 but you can’t always believe what you read (as ITY-Arthur followers will know all too well). Maybe I’m too kind to these old dears but what was just the latest in that week’s endless set of new silent films for Mordaunt to assess has now become a rarity that is important just for having survived.

This is also the film Anna May Wong made not long before Piccadilly and even Hall notes that she is “a competent little actress” but one respected perhaps more now than then given the changed context but also our deeper understanding of what “little actresses” of her background had to face.

Song on it's first release
Silent films are also uniquely malleable because they are always part of a new context created by their musical accompaniment. Today Song had the multi-instrumental support of Stephen Horne as it was projected in the Regents Street Cinema, itself a living museum haunted by the flickering ghosts of the Lumiers… And… it came through rather well!

Anna May Wong excelled in a rare part that allowed her to just be – a good-hearted soul and not just an exotic token or worse still, something sinister. She responds to the camera’s frequently intense gaze with naturalistic gestures and a positive focus on her character and rides out some of the more extraordinary plot elements and costumery with ease and good humour. She’s equally at home fighting off attackers, coming to the rescue during a train robbery and selflessly supporting a selfish man who can’t see further than his own infatuation.

Mr Hall... step outside.
Song or Schmutziges Geld (Dirty Money) was an Anglo-German co-production directed by Richard Eichberg who then direct Wong in Pavement Butterfly (1929) before her famous West End turn in 1929.

The story is set in Istanbul and there are some lovely establishing shots of what would become the scene of Liverpool FC’s Champions League triumph almost 80 years later. Anna May plays Song an urchin eking out a living by catching lobsters on the beach. She is spotted by two men who proceed to assault her only to be fought off by a passer-by, Jack Houben (Heinrich George). It’s a pretty grim fight that’s only won when Song gets stuck into help her rescuer.

Jack shows off his day job
Jack takes Song back for temporary shelter at his humble home and frightens her to death as he demonstrates his profession – a knife thrower. In spite of Song’s nervous response to having sharpened steel utensils flung at her, Jack decides she could be an asset to his act and before long she’s dancing in front of the regulars at the homely music hall where he works.

Eichberg clearly relishes depicting this venue and the leering audience is shown in delicious close up as the weird and wonderful “turns” take to the stage.

Song and Jack’s life seems to have settled but the arrival of a famous ballet dancer is about to upset the precarious balance of their apple cart. There are posters for Gloria Lee (Mary Kid) all over town and Song decides to use one to make an improvised table in Jack’s house, fighting off the local boys hired to deliver this promotion.

Richard Eichberg directs Anna on stage
Jack takes one look at the smiling face on the table and flashes back to a time when he and Gloria were a couple… everything ended badly as he fought a young man pursuing her. The man fell overboard whilst they were on a cruise and diving in after him both men were lost, presumed drowned.

Jack still carries a very large torch and it’s only a matter of time before its subject turns up at the club accompanied by her theatrical manager/paramour Dimitri Alexi  (Hans Adalbert Schlettow, who’s close shave in A Cottage on Dartmoor still gives me the shivers). Thankfully mutual recognition does not occur during Jack’s act and Song emerges unscathed before Jack and Gloria see each other.

After establishing that Jack is clearly not dead Gloria invites him to her show but she’s more interested in her “manager” than this blast from the past. But Jack’s a fool for love… If only he was rich enough to compete on the present-buying stakes? Jack follows a get rich scheme dreamt up by his accordionist (Julius E. Herrmann) – a can’t-fail train robbery. Someone tips the coppers a wink and Jack only escapes by hiding under the loco… he is nearly blinded as the machine lets off steam and Song comes to his rescue.

Drama on stage as Jack faints...
Only an operation can save Jack’s sight and he is convinced that Gloria will help… but Gloria is really very busy and realising this Song steps in to help convince Jack otherwise, using Gloria’s cast-of clothes to convince him that she is his the ballerina come to assist (we can only assume that Jack’s hearing has also been affected for him to succumb to this kindly deception).

Jack needs an operation and a massive £20 is required to fund it, surely Gloria will help and, even if she doesn’t her manager is on hand to give Song all the assistance she needs. She goes to work as the star attraction in the club – and she can dance unlike the “ballerina” as the lavish set-pieces demonstrate. But everything she does is for the curmudgeonly knife thrower… what will happen when he has eyes to see the face of his guardian angel?


Song is a melodrama with some mad plot turns but Eichberg tells it well enough helped by some excellent cinematography from Heinrich Gärtner and the designs of Willi Herrmann. Whilst Mary Kid makes for an unconvincing ballerina, Heinrich George makes for a believable thrower of knives and, of course, Anna May Wong's smile and ready tears steal the show.

Stephen Horne said that, as a young accompanist, he had played along to Song sight unseen (the days before preview discs) and the film’s frequent narrative lurches had made for an engaging challenge. Today he knew what was coming and flute, accordion and piano were deployed to compelling effect.


Song may not be a great film but, in this cinema and with this musician playing it was a very entertaining one and if all else failed, it still showcases one the era’s best actors in a role of some depth... and, had he been here today, I'm certain Mordaunt Hall would have agreed!

Song is very rarely screened but is in very good condition… surely it’s worth a DVD release? If you liked Piccadilly you’ll probably like this too and if you’re a fan of Mr Horne’s unique lyricism you’ll want him playing on the release as well.

So come on Herr Copyright-Owner…

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Signal Tower (1924) with Cyrus Gabrysch, Kennington Bioscope


Kevin Brownlow was in his element, retelling the tale of his pursuit of this print of The Signal Tower over many years with a recalcitrant collector, a self-made millionaire builder with a penchant for train films and fifties American TV shows. Mr Brownlow finally won over the covetous constructioneer who released his grip in the face of unrelenting enthusiasm and graciously agreed to pass on the treasure and all of his collection in his will.

You can understand the man’s own passion for this is a film to make the rail enthusiast’s pulse race that bit faster in fact, this is a film to increase everyone’s BPM as Clarence Brown winds the tension to almost unbearable levels: a runaway train speeding down towards a defenceless passenger train, a signal man fighting the elements and time to dislodge the tracks and faced with the horrific dilemma of having to save the many whilst his wife is under imminent threat from a boozed up Wallace Beery with only one thing on his mind with a very vulnerable Virginia Valli…

Rockliffe Fellowes and Frankie Darro
It’s a dramatic scenario and one that required a great deal of sinuous dexterity from accompanist Cyrus Gabrysch who provided the emotive musical fuel for this clash of metal, man and machines: a run-away pianist who matched the film beat for beat. For the musician every note’s a dead man’s handle – for the train, everything stops if you release your grip but the music is dependent on a thousand stabs of precise pressure: all the right notes and in the right order with Beery’s leery menace as much a threat as the speed of those locomotives.

The Signal Tower is a film of contrasts with glorious pastoral scenes of engine steam drifting through the mountainous woodlands being very reminiscent of Brown’s mentor Maurice Tourneur – the man KB reminded us he had approached for a job having virtually no experience: the former car salesman promising that he would become the perfect disciple an act of hutzpah that began the career of the man who would eventually direct so many Greta Garbo films.

Rockliffe Fellowes
Those misty mountains contain a signal box vital to the effective running of the railroads and manned by just two men each working twelve hour shifts. The splendidly-named, Rockliffe Fellowes plays one of those “Tower Men”, Dave Taylor, whose wife Sally (Virginia Valli of Wild Oranges and The Pleasure Garden fame) and young lad Sonny (Frankie Darro) live in an idyllic wooden house near the tower – three miles from the nearest town.

Dave’s partner Old Bill (James O. Barrows) is indeed old and one-handed and so is replaced by Joe Standish (Wallace Beery) a man who’s flash suit and polished shoes mark him out as self-obsessed from the start and who is referred to as a “railroad Sheik” by one of the company’s engineers.


Dave lets Joe take over old Bill’s old room and he soon sets his sights on Sally even though her cousin Gertie (Dot Farley) initially acts as a kind of shield for his unabashed “sheik-ness”. Sally sends Gertie away to pay more attention to her fiancé unwittingly removing her own last line of defence… Joe soon makes his move and Dave kicks him out…

A storm is brewing though and as events take a serious turn on the mountain, Joe arrives late and drunk in the heart of a crisis – forcing Dave to choose between Sally’s safety and his responsibilities to protect the passengers. In the wind and rain the family pull together as the tension bore down on the audience… we applauded long and loud relief expressed clearly in every clap of hands.

Wallace Beery and Virginia Valli
Beery does his usual top notch job – his intensity belying his lighter, more likeable edge whilst Valli was the perfect complement, resolution that cuts through febrile emotional response. Rockliffe Fellowes is the perfect heroic straight man to the chaos all around whilst young Darro plays well aided and abetted by Jitney the Dog.

A massive tip of the hat to cinematographer Ben F. Reynolds who had previously worked on Greed – no higher recommendation is necessary.

Jitney the Dog is on the right.
On the under card were a trio of curios from Mr Brownlow’s celluloid cellar… which broadly matched the themes of the main film.

First up was a British pastoral documentary A Day with the Gypsies (1920) directed and photographed by Cecil Hepworth. The film was a little treat featuring some lovely shots of twenties Sussex countryside although the location is uncertain and so felt they saw Kent?

A John Ford film was next, a confusing comedy called By Indian Post (1919) in which a love letter from gets stolen from Jode MacWilliams (famous Irish-American cowboy actor Pete Morrison) by a fellow ranch hand and only arrives at its intended target with the help of a native American called Two Horns much to the delight of intended target Peg Owens (Magda Lane).


The prelims were concluded with breathless final reel of The Lucky Devil (1925) featuring Richard Dix racing car number 13 to victory in a wacky race of relentless pace…  John Sweeney accompanied all three and may well have broken the speed limit on this last film.

Another splendid Wednesday evening in Kennington and, whilst here's a rough copy of The Signal Tower on Youtube and a cheap DVD available from Alpha on Amazon - neither will compare to seeing the film projected on screen...