Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another old movie

Just a mention of another old movie we watched the other night. It’s called Hunted, but also has an American title, The Stranger in Between, which isn’t as appropriate as the original.
Dirk Bogarde stars in it, along with a wonderful child actor, Jon Whiteley. Bogarde is a bit too suave and romantic to really play the hunted murderer well, but he’s always a great presence on the screen, and he carries it off. Whiteley, who’d never made a film before, and who was only seven when this film was made (as I was), is just wonderful. There are one or two moments when his concentration isn’t quite there, but in general he brings everything to the screen. He went on to star in four more movies (including The Spanish Gardener, again with Bogarde), an episode of the tv series, Robin Hood, and then gave it all up at the age of twelve. He spent his adult life as an art historian at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
The film is in black and white, and makes great use of the visual contrasts available in that medium. Unfortunately, it runs out of steam some way towards the end: there’s no real climax, only a crisis of conscience on the part of Bogarde’s character, and it’s not enough to satisfy a modern audience any more, I feel. Nevertheless, while it runs, it has some great moments, is visually good to look at, and has a number of well-played minor roles.

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