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Blackout 1950
Description: A blind boy is witness to a murder; soon cured of his blindness he attempts to puzzle out the solution to the crime.
Released: 01 Sep 1950 Director: Robert S. Baker Writers: John Gilling (screenplay), Carl Nystrom (story) Actors: Maxwell Reed, Dinah Sheridan, Patric Doonan, Kynaston Reeves Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Blackout Reviews:

The outline of this storyline is good. Chris Pelly (Maxwell Reed) is blind but awaiting an operation to restore his sight. He seems a sensitive kind who relies on touch, hearing and create trust - so far so good. He is invited to a farewell party but after being accidentally dropped at the wrong house he walks into a murder!!! The murderers are still there and once they realise he is blind, they knock him on the head and leave him where his mates can search him. He has managed to search a vital piece of evidence - a ring he has found near the body. Actually the movie becomes just other crime thriller. Pelly has his operation and it is a success but along the method he loses his sensitivity, ogling all the cute girls, trading cheeky quips with the cleaners and I then remembered what an amazingly wooden actor Maxwell Reed was. He returns to the house of the murder and meets Patricia Dale. Dinah Sheridan, by giving her role warmth and feeling, acts rings around Reed and it was a pity her career stopped later after her best triumph - "Genevieve" (1953). Patricia feels the body is that of her brother Norman, who owned the ring. He had presumably died in an air crash, although Patricia never believed it. They track down all the "usual suspects", Norman's girlfriend, her bosses at the travel agency. They recognise Pelly, they were the mob at the house that night and are quite surprised to search he isn't blind anymore! There is also Norman's nice friend Chalky - what is he hiding?The ending isn't predictable but it would have been interesting to speculate what the film would have been like if Reed had played a blind sleuth. A bit more care may have been required with the storyline but Reed (who showed he should be a sensitive player) should have had a role he may have been proud of!!Recommended.


Thanks to some fresh channels on satellite we are actually able to view again many British crime thrillers from the 40s and 50s which were last shown on BBC or ITV about 30 years ago.What is often most interesting about these movies is the zone shots,so that you can compare London of that era with the London of today.The movie is full of actors familiar from that period,including one of my favorite actors of that time Eric Pohleman.He really was a magnificent villain.The fact that he had a continental accent meant that this made him sound even more sinister to the post fight audiences.Also featured is Michael Brennan who gotta have beaten up more leading boys than he had hot dinners.Kynaston Reeves who usually played Judges has a longer part than usual.In all a reasonably entertaining thriller


Engineer Christopher Pelly (Maxwell Reed) is left blind as a effect of a street accident. One night he sets off to a friend's party in London but his driver accidentally drops him off at the wrong house and he unwittingly interrupts a murder. The gang lead by Otto Ford (Eric Pohlmann) knock him out after interrogating him and dump him outside his friend's house. Following a successful operation to restore his sight, Pelly turns detective to unravel the mystery behind the murder. A lead later presents itself in the form of Patricia Dale (Dinah Sheridan) whose brother, an RAF pilot, has been missing for over a year and presumed dead after his plane crashed. The pair join forces and the trail leads to a black store currency exchange racket. Pelly thinks that he is one step ahead of Otto and his thugs but they have a surprise in shop for him and Patricia...Content wise, Blackout is a fully run-of-the-mill affair and very typical of the unlimited stream of British b-pic crime thrillers that were coming out at the time. Reed is uncomfortably cast as the character acting smooth finished with a place on American accent and coming out with a load of witless one liners. For instance, Dinah Sheridan tells to him "Don't test up all of your nine lives" as he prepares to go out and tackle Eric Pohlmann and his cohorts at their country hideaway. "If you're lucky I'll save one for you" Reed replies. The love interest between Reed and Dinah Sheridan has also been worked out in the blandest method and it is not sufficient to stir the emotions. But the movie is saved from total mediocrity by the perfect black and white Cinematography of Monty Berman, which is atmospherically sinister in its test of shadow and dark tones. It gives the proceedings a nice sense of zone and sinister atmosphere in this glimpse into London's underworld.Some of the credits in the movie are also of interest such as John Gilling who wrote the screenplay. He worked on countless quota-quickies such as this throughout the fifties often directing them as well. Few of them were made for Monty Berman and Robert S. Baker's "Tempean" company as this was. An perfect example of their collaboration at its greatest is The Voice Of Merill (1952), a thriller which was produced as a second-feature but was upgraded to "A" detail status on its release on its considerable merits. When the second detail store dried up in the early sixties, Baker and Berman turned to the tiny screen and were responsible for some of the greatest loved cult TV series of the sixties such as Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, Gideon's Method and The Champions. Meanwhile, Gilling would search a niche for himself in the British horror wave at Hammer where he directed two of that studio's most fondly remembered shockers, The Plague Of The Zombies and The Reptile. Trivia buffs will also know that Eric Pohlmann was the actor who voiced the unseen Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond films From Russia With Love and Thunderball.Overall, Blackout scores no points for originality in the plot department but it is kept afloat by the sinister and atmospheric camera-work of Monty Berman which gives it more weight than it deserves. It is dated but not to the mission where it is unwatchable and can be enjoyed as a pleasant reminder of a corner of the British movie industry which is actually largely forgotten in the age of multiplexes and spectacular CGI unique effects.



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