Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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"No Cliff Goes Unjumped"
Warning: Contains spoilers!
It has ben noted that in P&P films (and some of the early Powell films) that "No Cliff Goes Unjumped". i.e. there are quite a few cases of people falling from great heights, usually to their deaths.
- 77 Park Lane (1931)
The villain, Sherringham (Malcolm Keen), is arrested by the police but escapes. He runs to the top of the house at 77 Park Lane. The hero, Brent (Dennis Neilson-Terry), chases him and they struggle. Sherringham falls over the bannisters, falls and breaks his neck.
- C.O.D. (1932)
After denouncing Edward (Roland Culver) as the murderer, Peter (Garry Marsh) and Edward fight a revolver duel up to the top of the house, from which Edward falls to his death.
- The Star Reporter (1932)
The hero witnesses a smash-and-grab raid and tracks down the thieves. He recovers the jewel after a roof-top struggle which ends with the villain plunging to his death.
- The Fire Raisers (1933)
In the final sequence, Jim Bronson (Leslie Banks) rescues Twist (Lawrence Anderson) from the burning building by pushing him out of an upper storey window onto the safety net held by the waiting firemen. Jim is then about to jump when the building starts to collapse and he falls back into the flames - thus avoiding the need to face up to his illegal behaviour.
- The Phantom Light (1935)
Rather than be arrested, Dr. Carey (Milton Rosmer) jumps from the platform round the lighthouse.
- The Edge of the World (1937)
Robbie Manson (Eric Berry) falls to his death during the cliff race. As the islanders are getting ready to evacuate the island, Peter Manson (John Laurie) goes to collect some birds eggs to sell on the mainland. But the rope breaks as he is climbing back up the cliff and he falls to his death ("Gone Over").
- The Challenge (1938)
As this is the story of the first conquest of the Matterhorn, of course we have someone falling from a great height. Here there's the added complication that Whymper (Robert Douglas) is accused of cutting a rope to save himself and it's Carrel (Luis Trenker) his rival who used to be his friend, who proves him innocent.
- The Spy in Black (1939)
The car containing Anne Burnett (June Duprez) is pushed over the cliff.
- The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
Jaffar (Conrad Veidt) tries to escape on the mechanical flying horse but Abu the thief (Sabu) shoots the horse with his crossbow and Jaffar falls to his death.
- Black Narcissus (1947)
Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) tries to push Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr) from the bell tower at Mopu but as they struggle, Ruth falls to her death.
- The Red Shoes (1948)
When it all gets too much for Vicky (Moire Shearer), the red shoes dance her down the spiral staircase, down the steps and she leaps from the balcony into the path of a train.
- Gone to Earth (1950)
As she is carrying Foxy and running from the hounds, Hazel (Jennifer Jones) falls down the mineshaft.
- Age of Consent (1969)
Ma Ryan (Neva Carr-Glynn) has a tussle with Cora (Helen Mirren) and the wicked old lady falls over the edge of the cliff to her death.
There are also a few examples of people in high places where they don't fall to their deaths:
- Contraband (1940)
Capt. Anderson (Conrad Veidt) and Mrs. Sorenson (Valerie Hobson) cross between the buildings on a narrow beam as they leave the room with the Chamberlain busts.
- A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
While he is waiting for Peter in the "arrivals lounge", Bob Trubshaw (Robert Coote) and the Angelic Kathleen Byron look down onto the Records Section. The English Pilot (Lord Dicky) thinks it would be heaven to be a clerk. But despite the great height, none of them think of jumping. Maybe because they are already dead :)
And, of course, Peter takes a big tumble from his burning bomber, but he lands safely because of the fog.
- Luna de Miel (1959) [aka Honeymoon]
When Anna (Ludmilla Tcherina) is hallucinating just prior to the ballet "Los amantes de Teruel", she goes out onto the balcony and looks at the statues. She nearly falls over the edge of the balcony but is pulled back by Kit Kelly (Anthony Steel).