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Green For Danger (1946)
A cracking film with a remarkable mixture of sly comedy and genuine thrills and Alastair at the very top of his game. Alastair's dry sardonic humor counterpoints the darkly atmospheric hospital environs. Alastair's voice-over introduces the village postman, Joseph Higgins, in sepulchral tones: "I begin with him, because . . . he was the first to die." The film then becomes a rhythmic whirl of sexual and office tensions all within the atmospheric confines of theatre anesthetics with its rituals of flow-meters, hissing gas cylinders and palpitating rubber bags (all in the middle of the Blitz, too!) The story line is a superb whodunit but is also a sly but affectionate side-swipe at the omniscient detective figure and the clichés of the detective novel. Full synopsis

Inspector Cockrill: Yes, Scotland Yard I'm afraid (chuckles); isn't it sickening.

Dr White: I do hope everything can be arranged discretely.
Inspector Cockrill: Umm, shouldn't think so for a moment.
Dr White: Why not? Press? Do they have to be seen?

Inspector Cockrill: Can't keep 'em out.
Dr. White: Oh, dear.
Inspector Cockrill: I don't mind; they always give me a good write-up.

Dr Barnes: I gave nitrous oxide at first, to get him under.
Inspector Cockrill: Oh yes, stuff the dentist gives you, hmmm - commonly known as "laughing gas".
Dr Barnes: Used to be - actually the impurities cause the laughs.
Inspector Cockrill: Oh, just the same as in our music halls.

Inspector Cockrill: The next morning my presence lay over the hospital like a pall. As I approached voices were hushed and all eyes turned on me . . . . I found it all tremendously enjoyable.

cast list production credits

Inspector Cockrill

Alastair Sim


Sidney Gilliat
Nurse Freddie Linley Sally Gray

Production Company

Individual Pictures
Dr "Barney" Barnes Trevor Howard Producer Launder & Gilliat
Nurse Esther Sanson Rosamund John Screenplay Sidney Gilliat
Mr Eden Leo Genn   Claud(e) Guerney
Nurse Woods Megs Jenkins Original Novel Christianna Brand
Sister Marion Bates Judy Campbell Dir Photography Wilkie Cooper
Joseph Higgins Moore Marriot

Green For Danger Lobby Card

Mr Purdy Henry Edwards
Dr White Ronald Adam
D.S. Hendricks G Woodbridge
Sister Carter Wendy Thompson
The Porter John Rae
Rescue Worker Frank Ling
Uncredited Hattie Jacques
Uncredited Elizabeth Sydney

35mm, black and white, 87 mins

Interesting facts

"Alastair Sim was apparently very down to earth, and would happily chat with cast and crew alike. During the filming of Green for Danger, one scene required Cockrill to hammer on an operating theatre door in the belief that one of the characters was about to kill another. The scene called for him to smash one of the round panes of glass in the theatre doors, and my grandfather had made a fake pane which would break easily upon impact. The cameras started rolling, and Sim duly hammered on the door ... and hammered ... and hammered; unfortunately it was the wrong pane of glass and refused to break! At this point, my grandfather, who had chatted with Sim on many occasions, forgot he was on set and shouted out "You bloody idiot!". Filming halted, and everyone, including Sim, fell about laughing; many actors would have been aloof, but Sim was one of the few who treated everyone as an equal, and didn't have airs and graces."

Grandson of William Creighton ( who worked for many years in the movie industry as a carpenter and model-maker for the Crown Film Unit and subsequently at Pinewood Studios).

Note: It would seem that Alastair never quite got to grips with this prop because in the final version of the film, although Alastair hammers on the door, it is Trevor Howard as Doctor Barnes who smashes through the window with a theatre stool.

"With the exception of two exceedingly brief shots at the beginning, the film was photographed entirely inside the studio, exteriors and all, in three main complexes, the sets taking up the whole of Pinewood and all standing at the same time - delightful , but terribly expensive." Sidney Gilliat from a National Film Theatre programme note.

"There were in fact no operations, the patient being either dead or dying before the surgeon could sharpen his scalpel; but this did not prevent the British Film Censor from bizarrely putting a total ban on the picture on the strange ground that any wounded soldiers who might see the film (there were still plenty of them in 1946) would be so overcome by the fear of being murdered by one of the nurses that it could seriously affect their chance of recovery. . . . A splendid lunch at the best black market restaurant in Soho restored amity and amour propre and he finally passed the picture with only one cut, the reasons for which still totally escape me." Sidney Gilliat from a National Film Theatre programme note.

Claud Gurney, Gilliat's script collaborator was due to join Launder and Gilliat in Individual Pictures, but he died during production after a car accident.