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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.

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Submitted by Mark Fuller

The Man Behind the Mask
Monthly Film Bulletin: April 1936

     Nick Barclay is assaulted, on the night he is to elope from a masked ball with June Slade, by a masked man who takes his place, elopes with June and steals the Shield of Kahm, which June's father, Lord Slade, had recently acquired for his famous collection. Nick, under suspicion for the theft, tracks June and her kidnapper and finds the shield, but is then lured with June, now his wife, and Lord Slade to the house of a maniac international crook who had instigated the theft. The police arrive in time to save them and arrest the crook.

     The story is melodramatic and absurd but, technically, the film is excellent. Direction, photography, lighting, acting and sound are all good. The glimpses of the family life of the Slades are extremely realistic, the country scenes are lovely and the final scenes in the crook's house are impressive when they might so easily have been ludicrous. All the acting is competent but Donald Calthrop as the chess-playing Dr Walpole and Kitty Kelly as his American secretary give the most polished performances. Martin Schwartz is good but his part, being so usual, is less difficult. But on the whole, the director is to be congratulated for having made what must be termed a good film out of very unlikely material.

78 mins

H. du P.

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