Green For Danger
R1 - America - Criterion Collection
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (26th February 2007).
The Film

When I was told they would be sending me a film called "Green for Danger", I thought "hold on...never heard of it." Obviously, after being sent the e-mail, the first thing I did was go over to IMDB and check it out. Hmmm, an 8.0 user rating, that can't be bad. Then I realized why, "Green for Danger" is a film the British do so well, a good old fashioned murder mystery!

"Green for Danger" is set at the height of the Second World War (1944) when a local postman is brought to an emergency hospital with injuries caused by a doodlebug. Although his wounds aren't life threatening, the gentleman mysteriously dies and nobody thinks anything of it until one of the six nurses that work on the ward finds evidence of murder. Unfortunately for her, the culprit decides to stab her to death before she can go to the police station and tell them what she knows. With a second murder victim, Inspector Cockrill (Alastair Sim) is sent to the hospital from Scotland Yard to investigate. Due to the fact that everyone the detective suspects in having a motive, he decides to re-enact what happened in surgery that day, which could possibly lead them to the killer. And it succeeds in revealing the killer in an unexpected twist.

Directed by Sidney Gilliat, responsible for writing such films as Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" (1936) and "The Green Man" (1956). It stars British legends Alastair Sim and Trevor Howard. "Green for Danger" is an impressive foray into murder mystery with superb acting and a different setting to the usual murder mystery. Although nothing spectacular, it is above average, keeping you gripped from beginning to end and certainly worthy of a purchase. Fans of Agatha Christie style stories will find this an excellent addition to their collections.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.33:1 fullscreen, this Criterion release was mastered using the original elements and for a film of its age it holds up particularly well. The depth of the blacks are great, the image loos nice and crisp, film grain is retained and looks like you've viewing the film as it was originally show in theaters.

Audio

The Criterion Collection presents the film with its original English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound track. The dialogue is clear and distortion free, I could not spot any problems associated with this track such as drop outs, hiss, crackle, pops or other inconsistencies that occasionally plague films of its age. Being a 1.0 mono track the sound does lack the depth normally heard with 5.1 mixes but purists will be pleased that the film is presented with its original sound track which suits the film and is presented to the same high level of quality which have come to expect from The Criterion Collection.
Optional subtitles are included in English only.

Extras

The Criterion Collection have included a feature-length audio commentary, a documentary, a TV segment, the film's original theatrical trailer plus a booklet. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

An insightful audio commentary is presented on this film by film scholar Bruce Eder. This track was originally recorded in 1993 for the Criterion Collection's Laserdisc release of this film. This track feels somewhat scripted and dry as Eder provides some history behind this film, the filmmaker's and the cast as well as probes into the various filmmaking styles and sensibilities of the time. He covers the synopsis and story structure as well as how each element of the story unfolds and the challenges the plot and scripting provided the filmmakers. It's not exactly screen-specific but does provide a general knowledge of the production as well as letting us in on a few secrets and the mysteries of the plot and how the filmmaker's got the film financed among other things. It's a descriptive and intelligent track but the tone and delivery can be coma inducing.

Next is a 2005 video interview with film scholar Geoff Brown which runs for 14 minutes 22 seconds. He talks about what kind of film this is and the relationship between the filmmakers Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder covering their early careers leading up to the work they did for Hitchcock in the 30's and how they got this film made. He also looks at how the filmmaker's discovered the book, writing the script, dealing with censors (before the film was even made) and how they considered the hospital scenes to be too much for audiences and that the character relationships were "free and easy". He also comments on the setting for the film, the differences between the book and the film, casting and also the film's release and critical response.

Rounding out the extras is an 18-page booklet that features:

- "Laughing While The Bombs Fall" an essay by Geoffrey O'Brien
- "Sidney Gilliat On Green For Danger" notes from the film's director

Overall

This Criterion release, while welcomed doesn't exceed my expectations like previous releases have. The commentary, while informative was a bit too dry, the interview was short but did provide a wealth of information. It would have been ideal for Criterion to have included Gilliat and Launder's short film "Partners in Crime" (1942) the propaganda film that was good enough to effectively allow then to parlay their talents into directing feature films but alas this is not present on the disc.

The Film: A- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: B- Overall: B

 


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