For Reel


Green for Danger (1946)
June 18, 2012, 7:41 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sidney Gilliat

Green for Danger begins as a gothic psychological thriller, with the masked nurses in an operating theatre serving as grotesqueries and the bombs overhead providing a palpable sense of dread in every frame. Then, a third of the way into the film, in walks Alastair Sim – most famous as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the 1951 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge – as a sardonic, sometimes childlike inspector who seeks to solve the case of presumed foul play that led to the death of two patients while under anesthesia. What is so startling about Sim’s affable eccentricities is that his character seems better fit for a pre-war British film – in the mid-forties, even zany comedies like Ealing’s Passport to Pimlico or The Man in the White Suit carried with them a certain level of cynicism. Sim’s detective, however, seems to represent a preservation of the status quo in the midst of or in the shadow of unfathomable atrocities. Like the doctors who must work through the bomb strike, Sim is unphased by the terrors around him, instead maintaining a sort of comedic classicism through his wry wit and charm. Strangely, then, for a film that so depends on death and the fear of it in the telling of its narrative, Green for Danger is decidedly more hopeful than many of its contemporaries.

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