Green for Danger: Criterion Collection

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In a rural hospital, a routine operation turns tragic, when a postman winds up dead on the table. Although people sometimes die even in routine procedures, there is some suspicion in this case. Dr. Barnes (Trevor Howard) was in charge of the operation, but he is as confused as anyone as to the end result. The failed operation is just the start of his problems however, as he is taken to task by those above him, but that is to be expected. But then his fiancee, a nurse named Linley (Sally Gray) leaves him for another man, a well known jerk no less, Mr. Eden (Leo Genn). As everyone ponders what could have happened, Sister Bates (Judy Campbell) is convinced it was no accident. She claims that not only was it a murder, but she knows who was responsible. Before she can share that information however, she turns up dead herself. Now there is certain cause for concern, so Inspector Cockrill (Alistair Sims) from Scotland Yard is called in to make sure justice is served. As Cockrill makes his rounds and gathers evidence, he seems to be a little off his rocker at times, but can he solve this mystery?

The premise here is one we’ve seen often, but the location and circumstances freshen up the concept a little. Even so, this is still the tried and true murder mystery formula, an inspector and a wealth of suspects. As usual, the suspects all seem to have the potential to turn to the dark side, but the truth is hard to uncover. The premise might be an ancient one, but Green for Danger works it well and delivers across the board. The formula remains in place, but ride is a fun one and the red herrings are well crafted, so there are ample twists and turns. Aside from the unusual location (a hospital instead of an old mansion), Green for Danger is also unique because the fallout of World War II looms over the entire experience. This gives the material the chance to inject added emotion and dimension to the characters, which enhances the end result. Perhaps the best element of Green for Danger is Alastair Sim, who turns in a performance that would be copied and imitated for decades. He gives the definitive performance of this kind, a quirky, but brilliant inspector. Green for Danger has a premise that is well visited, but I found it to be one of the best of its kind, thanks in great deal to Sims’ top notch effort. Criterion’s disc looks great and has some insightful supplements, so if you’re in the mood for a good mystery, Green for Danger is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

Green for Danger is presented in full frame, as intended. As usual, the film has been restored by a digital process, so this looks much cleaner and more refined than the British import release. I wouldn’t say this is a pristine, reference level treatment, but it a marked improved over the other versions I’ve seen, so I am most pleased. The print looks very clean, with minimal debris and other problems, so the image is allowed to shine and that it does. The black & white looks great and shows more sharpness than expected, which is always good news. Another great looking transfer from Criterion, who know how to handle these wonderful pictures.

Audio: How does it sound?

There just isn’t much to discuss here, as the included mono option is good, but won’t turn any heads, of course. This is a dialogue driven movie and that means mono is more than adequate, no real problems seem to surface here. I heard no hiss or distortion of any kind, which is good news with a flick of this age, to be sure. No errors in terms of dialogue either, which is crucial and all, since this is a movie dominated by dialogue, to be sure. Not much else to report to be honest, although optional English subtitles were included, should you need them.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Bruce Eder is back again and as always, he is well prepared and provides a steady stream of information. He covers a lot of ground here and never seems to slow down, talking about how the play was adapted to the screen, background on the cast and crew, and little touches we might miss on our own. A first rate session that fans of the film are sure to be thrilled with. This disc also includes a brief interview with film historian Geoffrey O’Brien, a piece that also has some worthwhile insights, not to mention some cool production photos.

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