This is one of Michael Powell’s quota quickies made when he was learning his trade as a director and helping to keep cinema British at least long enough for the main feature to be shown. With the freedom of a tight budget he manages to work some sense of wonder with this film and there are emerging themes that would later be trademark.
|And then there were four...|
He comes across a stranded blonde, Alice Bright (Liverpudlian stage-star, Binnie Hale) who looks like she’s fallen off the back of a pre-code screwball comedy. The two meet a railway worker who points them on their way in pure cockney…
|Fishing in the pub|
Sam makes his way over with the local crew including David Owen (Hitchcock's silent blackmailer Donald Calthrop) and a Doctor Carey (Milton Rosmer) who has to see to one of the men, Tom Evans (Reginald Tate), who has developed a fever leading to violent, hallucinatory episodes (yes, I know…). The Doctor decides that he is too ill to leave the lighthouse (yes, I know…) – it is a long way to Ysbyty Gwynedd.
All perfectly reasonable… and then a boat arrives carrying the intrepidly-determined Mr Pearce and, what’s more, Alice has stowed away completely undetected! The seas are now a bit choppy and Alice takes the perfectly logical step of jumping into the water in order to get to the lighthouse (the reason will be apparent in a sec...)
|Binnie in her water-proof high-heels|
So, there we have it, a lighthouse full of mystery – an unwanted ghost, two unwanted guests, a woman in unnecessary shorts… all is set for a final third of nail-biting predictability.
|Hunter and Hale|
|Dead mackerel eyes...|
|Ian Hunter, not Roger Livesey|
|Powell was already thinking of St Kilda...|