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Cherry Pop

'Classic British Thrillers'
(James Mason, Gordon Harker, et al / DVD / NR / 2008 / MPI Home Video)

Overview: This wonderful collection of three British films originally released by Gaumont sister studio Gainsborough Pictures is going to appeal to a lot of cinephiles - if simply for one of the names associated with two of the three films: Michael Powell. The films in question are - 'THE PHANTOM LIGHT,' 'RED ENSIGN,' and 'THE UPTURNED GLASS.'

DVD Verdict: The two Michael Powell directed pictures in 'CLASSIC BRITISH THRILLERS' give good indication of the great work he'd produce later, although they are somewhat hampered by small budgets. The James and Pamela Mason murder mystery is also quite engaging.

In 'THE PHANTOM LIGHT' the lighthouse keeper at a quaint Welsh coast village dies mysteriously, and his lighthouse is now supposedly haunted-- an unexplained light keeps shining on the scene of his death. The story's atmosphere is literal, with lots of blanketing fog, plus a murder mystery that's equally shrouded and obscured. Primarily filmed within a lighthouse, this whodunit has more than its share of ethnic humor.

In 'RED ENSIGN' Leslie Banks plays a somewhat pushy manager of a shipyard whose revolutionary boat design encounters much opposition and skullduggery from the competition and his own financers.

'THE UPTURNED GLASS' is a story told in flashback. Neurosurgeon's affair with a married woman ends with her defenestrated death. Suspecting the woman's sister is involved, the surgeon plots revenge on her. Easily the best of this small collection. Co-written by Pamela Mason this is available on DVD for the first time ever! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) but does not come with any Special Features.