The Cad!

Not George Sanders, this time. Emlyn Williams. In FRIDAY THE 13TH. No, not that one.

This is an all-star multi-story British feature of the ’30s, which uses the same gimmick as the later and superior TRAIN OF EVENTS: we start with a crash, in this case a bus (you can guess what crashes in T.O.E.), after which we flashback to find out the individual stories of the passengers, a couple of who we learn are going to die (but we don’t know which). Well, after the scene above, we have a sneaking idea who one of them might be.

Also in the cast are Jessie Matthews and Ralph Richardson, an unlikely romantic couple, and music hall star Max Miller, who can’t act but can do his enervating “cheeky chappy” routine at his fellow players. I was kind of willing him to be decapitated by a sheet of glass, but no joy.

The trouble with this kind of thing is that interweaving multiple stories — as we can see with the excellent but slow-developing Psychoville on BBC2 just now — can lead to very slow narrative development. The speed gained by jumping from one tale to another is kind of frittered away when each tale is interrupted before it can take more than a single step.

Victor Saville directs, from a script patched together by Sidney Gilliat, GH Moresby-White (?) and Emlyn himself.

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2 Responses to “The Cad!”

  1. Williams was quite a character. His taste for “rough trade” was nearly the end of him. But it did inspire his masterpiece Night Must Fall.

    Also noteworthy — “Beyond Belielf,” his book about the Moors murders.

  2. I’ve been meaning to grab his autobiography. Russell T Davies should write something about him.

    Alex today reminded me of Bender in Futurama’s line: “Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool!”

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