The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

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.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

  Steve's Logo

Missing, Believed Lost - Two Crowded Hours

From Missing, Believed Lost, BFI Publishing, 1992

Michael Powell's first film as a director, this murder mystery featured John Longden (the policeman from Blackmail) as a detective seeking an escaped convict, with Jane Welsh as the tec's girlfriend who is in danger because it was her evidence that put the criminal behind bars. Jerry Verno scored a hit as a taxi driver with a line in Cockney wit and caustic repartee. After one of his fares is murdered, he helps the detective in his search

The film was shot in twelve days in April 1931 and Powell enlivened the story with carefully chosen locations - including a taxi driver's shelter in North London and street scenes in Upper Rathbone Street near Oxford Street - scheduling filming for when the natural light was most suitable.
[Note: He also filmed in Rathbone Street for Peeping Tom]

In his autobiography, A Life in Movies, Powell recalled: 'Two Crowded Hours was obviously influenced by Continental films. There were lots of clever angles and quick-cutting, but it was also obvious that the director meant to entertain first and foremost. The shocks and suspense were of the most primitive kind, but they worked ... The climax of the film comes when the villain tries to murder the heroine, who is rescued by John Longden in the nick of time. The villain runs out into the road and is run down and killed by Jerry Verno's taxi. John Seabourne and I, working hand in hand, achieved a bang-up finish with a kaleidoscopic montage of images inspired by the Soviet cinema.'

Two Crowded Hours was well-received. 'This little picture is a skilful blend of tragedy and comedy.' declared The Bioscope. 'Just a quota quickie, but much better than many more ambitious pictures turned out this side,' reported Variety's London correspondent. The film ran six weeks in the West End, supporting one of Fox's big Hollywood films at the Tivoli in the Strand. For Powell, this was an encouraging start to a succession of low-budget pictures, including several with Jerry Verno.
[Jerry Verno's last appearance for Powell was as the stage door keeper at Covent Garden in The Red Shoes]

This film is "Missing, Believed Lost", please check all achives and attics.

Back to index