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Bollywood FAQ

Bollywood FAQ

All That’s Left to Know About

the Greatest Film Story Never Told

Piyush Roy

Guilford, Connecticut

Published by Applause Theatre & Cineman Books

An Imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200

Lanham Maryland 20706


Copyright © 2019 by Piyush Roy

The FAQ series was conceived by Robert Rodriguez and developed with Stuart Shea.

All images are from the author’s collection unless otherwise noted.

Printed in the United States of America

Book design by Snow Creative

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic

or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems,

without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote

passages in a review.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available

ISBN 978-1-4950-8230-6 (paperback)

ISBN 978-1-4930-5083-3 (e-book)

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American

National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library

Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992

Printed in the United States of America

Dedicated to

Nari Hira, my most cherished mentor

and abiding influence in my career in film journalism,


Kamal Laxmi Roy, my mother and most consistent film-viewing

companion from childhood to the present.



Introduction: The Greatest Film Story Never Told



Section 1: History and Highlights

1 A Century of Bollywood 3

2 Dadasaheb Phalke and the Birth of Indian Cinema 25

3 The Rise of Bombay Cinema 34

4 Breaking Ground: Significant Firsts in the History of Indian Cinema 52

5 An Indian Way to Film Thinking . . . ! 83

6 Music, Masala, and Melodrama: An Introduction to Genres 93

in Indian Cinema

7 Trend-Spotting Down the Decades 110

Section 2: Stars from Another Sky

8 The First Lady of Indian Cinema 123

9 The “Fearless” Woman with the Whip! 130

10 The Thespian of Good Acting 136

11 A Masterclass in Villainy 143

12 Bollywood’s Monroe (1933–1969) 149

13 The Superstar Phenomenon 155

14 Megastar of a Millennium 161

15 The King of Romance 169

16 The Game Changer 176

17 A Diva for All Seasons 184

18 Crossover Stars: The Bollywood Presence in Hollywood and Beyond 191

19 Gossips, Scandals, and Grand Affairs 203

Section 3: Songs, Dance, and Music Magic

20 A Story About Song and Dance 223

21 Lights, Camera, Music: The Journey of the Bollywood Film Song 227

22 Bollywood’s Greatest Music Albums 241

23 Dancing Stars and Melody Czars 249

24 Singing Around the Globe 269

25 Dancing in the Rain! 275



Section 4: The Lists

26 The Auteurs 287

27 Class Acts 302

28 101 Bollywood Movies and Songs to See! 319

Bibliography 375

Index 379



have often been asked to put an exact date to the beginning of my brush

with the Bollywood film, or cinema per se. Well, it could have been around

any of the following adventures or even a forgotten one. It could have started

in the weekend ritual of watching Hindi/Bollywood blockbusters every Friday

evening and Hollywood films on Saturday evenings at the Audio-Visual Hall

of the Regional Engineering College in Rourkela during my childhood in the


It may have been during one of those heated fan debates on winner lists of

the annual Filmfare and Indian National Film Awards, the eagerness to savour

the latest “breaking gossips” in Stardust and Cine Blitz, that dedicated tuning

to Ameen Sayani’s Binaca Geetmala (a weekly broadcast countdown of popular

Bollywood songs), and the still-retained nostalgia for India’s national television

broadcaster Doordarshan’s film-themed shows like Chitrahaar, Rangoli,

Showtheme, and the Sunday afternoon telecasts of award-winning art-house

films from India’s multiple regional-language cinemas.

The magic of experiencing a Bollywood film was in watching Dilwale

Dulhaniya Le Jayenge from the front stall of Calcutta’s Metro Theatre (now

Kolkata), recurrently bathed under a shower of coins at every song appearance

of its heartthrob lead pair of Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan; savoring superstar

Salman Khan’s Dabangg with a houseful of kids at Mumbai’s iconic people’s

theatre—the G-Complex; surreptitiously jumping the boys hostel boundary

wall on Friday nights to discover the guilty pleasures of an adult film in

Dhenkanal; or curating a Classic Bollywood season, the first-ever at Edinburgh’s

landmark theatre space, the Filmhouse. It was in the bargaining for tickets in

“Black” for sold-out blockbusters most often, until the late 1990s; queuing for

hours before a betel-stained ticket window for a viewing of the “anti-hero” cult

movie Baazigar, or for another serving of Madhuri Dixit’s riotous chartbusting

dance number, Choli ke peeche from Khal Nayak, and then leaving the theatre

en masse with half the audience, at intermission. It was a realization made

firsthand about the timeless standalone attraction of a good song moment

beyond the time-bound pleasures of its hit parent film.

Bollywood became a much-loved calling for me through my every working

day at Bombay’s (now Mumbai) iconic Stardust magazine, first as the features

editor and then as one of its youngest editors. It evolved into a mature affair,

while pursuing my MSc in film studies at the University of Edinburgh, to



eventually become a passionate interest subject as my doctorate’s research

quest—the exploration of ancient aesthetic theories to source new theoretical

frameworks for a fairer appreciation of melodrama on film.

Bollywood, to me, is Gulzar’s Ijaazat, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas,

Anurag Basu’s Barfi, Mehboob Khan’s Mother India, Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa; all the

characters and their familiar lines in Sholay and Bahubali; the vocal intensity

and the sheer screen presence of that veritable textbook on acting, Dilip Kumar;

auteur Raj Kapoor’s timeless, humanist comedies; the haunting innocence in

the eyes of Jugal Hansraj in Masoom; the mayhem in the Mahabharat moment

of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro; the rebellious climax of Mirch Masala; the introduction

scene of Hindi cinema’s most-loved villain character, Gabbar Singh; Amitabh

Bachchan in Silsila, Black, and Nishabd; and Sanjeev Kumar’s every appearance

on celluloid—always!

It is in the beholding of every song moment in Naushad and K. Asif’s

Mughal-e-Azam; the joyful ecstasy, grace, and beauty in the classical dance

competition ushering in the drama of the costume-epic Amrapali; the

Vyjayanthimala-Shammi Kapoor-Helen–performed East-West fusion song

competition Muqabla humse na karo (“Don’t challenge us”) in Prince; Waheeda

Rehman’s enactment of onscreen freedom in Aaj phir jeene ki (“I want to live

again”) in Guide; music composer R. D. Burman’s uncommon experiments at

creating new sounds from unexpected instruments; an aging Naseeruddin

Shah’s youthful awakening to love through the Dil to baccha hai ji (“The heart is

but a kid!”) song in Ishqiya; a broken-hearted Shabana Azmi holding back tears

to heartbreaking impact in the Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho (“What tears your

smiles hide”) moment in Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth; V. K. Krishnamurthy’s visual

ode to loneliness under a ray of revealing light in Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam

(“Oh, what a beautiful tragedy time has wrought”) in Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke

Phool; A. R. Rehman’s Piya Haji Ali (Fiza) qawwali, or the simply divine Kun

fayaa kun (Rockstar) rendition; the essence of Mera Naam Joker’s Jeena yahan

marna yahan (“Living here, dying here”) song; or the choreography of Pehla

nasha pehla khumar (“First love, first infatuation”) from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.

Bollywood, to me, is the lively beauty and uplifting presence of Madhubala

that added color to the black-and-white films; the mere recall of that halo-constructing

introduction shot, languorously panning upwards to reveal a poignantly

gorgeous Meena Kumari, as Choti bahu, in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam; and

studying before a life-sized poster on my study room’s wall to one of those qaatil

adaas (heart-stopping gestures) from Umrao Jaan featuring Rekha, a diva whose

life is Bollywood’s echoes Norma Desmond’s statement from Sunset Boulevard:

“I’m still big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

The memories and inspirations, the joys and triggers, leading to the

Bollywood FAQ book are many, but they might not have come together as a

writing project if not for the proverbial “offer I couldn’t refuse” by my agent,



Robert Lecker, of the Robert Lecker Agency, and his diligent persuasion since,

from beyond seven seas.

Thanks to Marybeth Keating, of Hal Leonard Publishing, and Carol

Flannery, of Rowman & Littlefield, for their patience and guidance through

the editing and submission process respectively. And to my star copy editor,

Lon Davis: Your elaborate, explanatory edits and conversational observations

were an empathetic education in cross-cultural tropes, thought transitions,

and translations. Lon, your letter of appreciation at the end of the editing

process, arguably the book’s first review, is one to cherish forever.

Thanks are due to my fellow film enthusiasts: Prof. Arnab Bhattacharjee,

Elena, Amit Vats, Subhranil Bhadra, Sudhanshu Sharma-Ji, Roshini, and Vikas

Dubey from my days in the Burgh (Edinburgh); friends and journalists Rajiv

Vijayakar, Sonali Chakraborty, Rajesh Naidu, and Ramkamal Mukherjee in

Bollywood’s capital city of Mumbai; and Shubhangi Rastogi Dave, a fan of

everything non-Bollywood, for our many argumentative conversations on perceptions

about good cinema—cheers and disagreements that have consciously

and subconsciously lent themselves to enriching the reviews and observations

in the book.

Abha Sharma Rodrigues, Nandini Sen (Di), and Gaurav Chaudhary, for

your infectiously inspiring love for the Masala Film and being my most adorable,

enjoyable, and stimulating companions for film viewing.

Shaikh Ayaz, for your unwavering friendship and for never turning me

down—either at short or long notice—when it came to providing invaluable critiques

and for proofreading my ideas. Jubin Mishra, for your amazing appetite

for Bollywood binge watching, your eye for detail, and enthusiastic reviewing

of the book’s longest chapters (The Lists). And my first film-buddy from school

years, Susim Mohanty, for also being my first critic, ideator, reader, and onestop

search engine for everything on classic Hindi films and its music, long

before Google happened.

A thank you, also, to all my entertainment, film, and features beat editors

and colleagues at The Asian Age, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Society,

Stardust, and Orissa Post.

Last, but certainly not least, for who they are and what they make me, I

would like to thank my wife, Suratarangini Jena Roy, for sharing and sustaining

my passion for enjoying a diversity of cinema across genres, languages,

and nations, reaffirming that watching a film together could indeed be such

a romantic activity; and my parents, Prof. Gopendra Kishore Roy and Prof.

(Mrs.) Kamal Laxmi Roy, for their constant encouragement and for making

good cinema accessible throughout my childhood and teen years, a time when

going to the cinemas was yet to be a permissible hobby for young people from

middle-class families in India’s suburban towns.


The Greatest Film Story

Never Told

Bollywood, a popular nomenclature for India’s “national” film industry

in the Hindi language, is—along with the Taj Mahal, Yoga, Buddha, and

Mahatma Gandhi—one of the best-known introductions and universally recognized

associations with India across the world today. Despite its predominant

narrative styles not conforming to the First World European and/or American

cinema narrative structure, Indian cinema is acknowledged as highly influential.

Its twenty-first century avatar is increasingly acknowledged as the world’s

second-most important and influential film industry, after Hollywood.

Bollywood FAQ provides a thrilling, entertaining, and informative joy

ride into the vibrant, colorful, and multi-emotional universe of the world’s

most prolific—and most watched—film industry, boasting a cumulative output

of more than fifty thousand films since its modest, early twentieth century


Outside of India, Bollywood films are simultaneously screened in theaters

in over a hundred nations, from the United States to Japan, New Zealand, and

the Netherlands, with an increasing distribution presence in the dubbed film

circuits of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. A rise in its viewership among

local audiences in hitherto-unknown destinations—like Peru or Siberia—has

also been noted. It is no wonder that the popularity barometer of one of its

biggest twenty-first century superstars, global culture icon Shah Rukh Khan,

declares: “Three billion-plus people in the world, or roughly three times the

population of India, and literally one in every second person in the world,

recognizes Shah Rukh Khan!”

India has been the largest movie-making nation in the world for over

three decades. Today, every major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros., Fox Star,

Disney, Sony Pictures, and Viacom 18) since Sony Pictures’ 2007 debut with

Saawariya (The Lover), is either making or distributing films in the Hindi

language, with more than an office presence in Bombay (now Mumbai), the

epicenter of India’s national language cinema in Hindi. Indian film production

companies, such as Reliance Big Pictures, are co-producing Hollywood



films. The Indian International Film Awards, which had its start at London’s

Millennium Dome in 2000, has emerged as the biggest export event of any

national film industry, with an annual Olympics-style bidding for its hosting

by cities across the globe. Numbers had always been Indian cinema’s biggest

edge. The fact that it was acknowledged as the most viewed cinema worldwide

is a post-2000 achievement, peaking at 2.6 billion cinema admissions in 2012,

in contrast to Hollywood’s 1.36 billion (UNESCO-released data based on ticket

sales). Annual ticket sales of Indian cinema releases have now crossed the 3

billion mark!

Indian cinema continues to amuse and confuse audiences and critics

outside of its own country, with its “epico-mythico-tragico-comico-supersexy-high-masala-art

form in which the unifying principle is a techni-colourstoryline,”

as famously stated by Booker of Bookers Prize–winning novelist

Salman Rushdie.

This book will explain and explore the above myths and magic, introduce

India’s maharjah-like stars and their cult-commanding stardom, and, in doing

so, will offer some inspiring stories of human achievement. For movie buffs,

it will provide a handy list of iconic films and performances readily available

in DVD/online rentals, along with a ready reckoner on some of the most spectacular

song-and-dance moments on celluloid that can be enjoyed anytime on

popular online media, particularly YouTube. It will enable both the fans and

the uninitiated to explore and enjoy the pleasures and popularity of a national

cinema that has become a genre in itself.

Bollywood FAQ can be both an informative starting reference and the ultimate

guide to everything this spectacular, robust, humongous, colorful, and

dramatic multi-generic cinematic entity has to offer. The information has been

enriched with insider insights culled from my more than two decades as a film

writer and critic in the city of Bollywood, Mumbai.

The book is divided into four sections. The first provides a historical overview

and introduction to Bollywood in all its milestone moments, genres,

trends, and signature attributes. Section two is dedicated to introducing the

stars and legends whose colorful and inspiring life journeys make for some

compelling reading. The singular attraction and a universal expectation from

a Bollywood movie experience is the promise of some hummable and magical

moments of song and dance. This, the third section, indulgently navigates

through the journey of the Hindi film song, with ample trivia titbits to soothe

and tickle. And, as no cinema book is complete without recommendations

of what (and why) to watch, the fourth section is a veritable list of everything

Bollywood. For diehard fans, it offers concise information on the best

Bollywood films, soundtracks, directorial achievements, and performances.

Each section will thus probe and prescribe aspects of Bollywood that will give

readers a well-rounded overview, while answering the most obvious to the



seemingly silly (yet necessary) queries that are fundamental to any informed

appreciation of the stars and the styles in the crowded universe of Indian

cinema’s galaxy of more than fifty thousand films.

“Namaste and Welcome” to a joyful read about the world’s greatest film

story never told!

Section 1

History and Highlights


A Century of Bollywood

In 1910, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (1870–1944) happened by chance to

attend a screening of an American film, The Life of Christ in Bombay (now

Mumbai) in the Christmas of 1910. Instantly, an idea took shape that led to the

birth of the Indian film industry. Phalke, who went on to become the founding

father of Indian cinema, had noted, “While The Life of Christ was rolling fast

before my physical eyes, I was mentally visualizing the Gods, Shri Krishna,

Shri Ramachandra, their Gokul and Ayodhya. . . . Could we, the sons of India,

ever be able to see Indian images on the screen?” Phalke’s ambition has been

realized as a prolific, living,

breathing, and constantly expanding

industry, with its fair share of

highs and quirks, magic and

mayhem, loves and losses. Here’s

looking at the Bollywood’s century,

through one hundred landmark

dates, events, and exciting

moments of movie-making magic,

along with entertaining anecdotes

about some of its most influential


1. 1913—The release of

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke’s

Raja Harishchandra (King

Harishchandra), India’s first

indigenously made feature

film with an all-Indian cast

and crew. The four-reel long

film would be remade by

Phalke in 1917. He also produced

a behind-the-scenes

An advertisement in the Bombay Chronicle calling audiences

to the first screening of Raja Harishchandra in

1913. Courtesy of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI).


Bollywood FAQ

short, featuring vignettes from Raja Harishchandra, titled How Films are


2. 1914—Phalke releases his third film, Satyavan Savitri, which is based on

a Hindu legend. A commercial success, it leads to prolific filmmaking

in India. His films become popular enough for distributors to demand

twenty prints of each title, as opposed to just one. Phalke’s first three

films—Raja Harishchandra (King Harishchandra), Mohini Bhasmasur (The

Beauty and Demon Bhasmasur), and Satyavan Savitri—are exhibited in

London. Critics of the time offer praise for the self-taught filmmaker’s

technical achievements.

3. 1918—Film censorship comes to India by means of the Indian

Cinematograph Act. In 1920, censor boards are set up in Bombay, Calcutta,

Madras, and Rangoon, important metros in then-British India. S. N.

Patankar directs the first Indian film series, the four-part Ram Vanwas (The

Exile of Rama).

4. 1925—The Light of Asia, an Indo-German co-production of Himanshu Rai

directed by Franz Osten, based on landmark events in the life of Buddha,

starts a series of international ventures of reputed artistic merit. Along

with Phalke, Osten emerges as one of the most important filmmakers of

India’s silent era.

Himanshu Rai (seated second from right) along with the cast and crew of The Light of Asia, including

director Franz Osten.

Photo courtesy of NFAI

A Century of Bollywood


5. 1925—Chubby, petite, and browneyed

Sulochana (a Jewish girl

whose real name was Ruby Myers)

makes her debut with Veer Bala

(The Brave Girl) to become the

“First Sex Symbol of Indian

Cinema.” She becomes the highest-paid

actor of India’s silent era,

famously earning a salary more

than the governor of the Bombay

state. Her hit films include Typist

Girl (1926), Balidaan (Sacrifice,

1927), Wildcat of Bombay (1927),

Madhuri (1928), Anarkali (1928),

and Indira B. A. (1929). As the

titles suggest, the stories revolve

primarily around the female protagonist.

She displayed her versatility

in Wildcat of Bombay (1927)

by playing eight characters,

including a gardener, a policeman,

a Hyderabadi gentleman, a

street urchin, a banana seller, and

a European blonde.

Actress Ruby Myers, popularly known by the

screen name of Sulochana. Courtesy of NFAI

6. 1927—The Indian Cinematograph Committee is formed to study the

cinema in India, and the feasibility of making and furthering Empire

Films (those made within the territories of the British Empire) to counter

American dominance. The real purpose of the committee, however, is

to censor politically objectionable subject matter critical of the British

government, and to preserve English morals and codes.

7. 1930—The British government initiates the ban of newsreels featuring

speeches, activities, and demonstrations of emerging Indian leader

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

8. 1931—The talkie era begins with a bang, with Alam Ara (Ornament of the

World). The film’s first song, “De khuda ke naam par pyare . . .” (“Give

alms in the name of the lord”), becomes an instant hit; it is still sung as a

“professional anthem” by beggars seeking alms at holy places across the

nation. Most silent film companies collapse, and many Anglo-Indian/

English-speaking artists are forced into sudden, premature retirement

due to their inability to speak proficiently in Hindustani. Nearly thirteen

hundred silent feature films were made between 1913 and 1934, peaking

at two hundred in 1931. Their number drops to only seven films in 1934.


Bollywood FAQ

9. 1932—J. J. Madan’s spectacular musical, Indrasabha (The Court of the King

of Heavens, Indra), featuring more than seventy songs, has a mammoth

running time of 211 minutes. Madan Theatres emerges as a major production

studio with the success of Indrasabha, making eight of the thirty talking

pictures released throughout the year. Owning 126 cinema theaters by

the 1930s, the Madans enjoy a monopoly over the film distribution chain

across the Indian subcontinent, up to Burma.

10. 1933—Four bhajans (devotional songs), sung by Kundan Lal Saigal for the

film Puran Bhagat (Devotee Puran), create a sensation throughout India,

as the film industry get its first singing star. He goes on to become its

most influential actor until his untimely death at the age of forty-two

in 1947, making his work-city, Calcutta, the nation’s temporary numberone

filmmaking center before Bombay. Saigal’s first film, Mohabbat Ke

Aanshu (Tears of Love), followed by two others, are released in 1932; they

fail at the box office. Saigal drops his screen name of Saigal Kashmiri

and reverts to his own. Most of his memorable blockbusters—Chandidas

(1934), Devdas (1935), President (1937), Street Singer (1938), Jiban Maran

(Life and Death, 1939), Zindagi (Life, the highest grossing Indian film of

1940), and Shahjehan (1946)—have stood the test of time due to his hummable

vocals. A huge singing influence on the playback industry and its

two greatest icons, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar, Saigal became

the subject of the first biopic on an Indian film star when, in 1955, New

Theatres’ B. N. Sircar releases Amar Saigal (Immortal Saigal). This musical

tribute features nineteen of his hit songs.

11. 1933—Devika Rani enacts a controversial, four-minute-long kissing scene

with her co-star (and real-life husband), Himanshu Rai, in the bilingual

film Karma. Although a hit abroad, it fails to excite the public, despite its

kissing sequence, the longest in any Indian film to date.

12. 1935—Playback singing is introduced in director Nitin Bose’s Dhoop

Chaon (Light and Shade), under the baton of music director R. C. Boral,

bringing “folksy, full-throated” singing by women singers to the fore. The

film’s hit song, “Main khush hona chahun” (“I want to be happy”), features

an unprecedented all-female chorus, led by Parul Ghosh, Suprova Sarkar,

and Harimati.

13. 1935—The Bengali and Hindi versions of P. C. Barua’s Devdas is successfully

released, establishing a template for the Hindi romantic hero as a

tragic character pining in unrequited love, who drinks himself to death.

Seventeen-year-old Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Devdas (written

in 1917) becomes the most adapted literary source in Indian cinema, with

more than twenty adaptations—official and otherwise—featuring leading

actors of multiple generations. The prominent Bollywood adaptations

include various versions of Devdas, across the decades, directed by P. C.

A Century of Bollywood


Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai in Karma.

Photo courtesy of NFAI

Barua (1935), Bimal Roy (1955), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (2002), and Anurag

Kashyap (2009), featuring such stars as K. L. Saigal, Dilip Kumar, Shah

Rukh Khan, and Abhay Deol playing the character of Devdas, respectively.

Each of these films remain landmark achievements.

14. 1935—The Fearless Nadia franchise of stunt-adventure films is launched

with an unusual action hero in Hunterwali (The Lady with a Whip), a

feminist heroine who thrashes man after man in film after film, each

with more or less the same storyline. A noted sex symbol, her onscreen

exercising while wearing gym shorts is an erotic highlight for her many


15. 1936—Bollywood’s first iconic love duet is crooned by two star-crossed

lovers, an upper-class Brahmin boy (the dapper Ashok Kumar) and a

village girl belonging to the “untouchable” working class (the exquisite

beauty Devika Rani). The actors may appear too posh to portray their

underprivileged characters, but their sincere interpretation of “Main ban

ki chidiya” (“I am a jungle bird”) in the Bombay blockbuster Achhut Kanya

(The Untouchable Girl, 1936) remains a timeless romantic melody. The song

was composed by Saraswati Devi (a.k.a. Khorshed Minocher-Homji), one

of the few female songwriters to make a mark in film.

16. 1938—The Indian film industry celebrates its Silver Jubilee with the convening

of a Motion Picture Congress, with conferences and a screening


Bollywood FAQ

of Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1913) as the starting reference.

Ironically, Phalke attended the convention as an ignored and unrecognized

commoner, while leading film celebrities paid glowing tributes to

his contribution. He was eventually recognized and brought onstage by

emerging auteur V. Shantaram.

17. 1940—In one of the first work-stress-related tragedies to strike the film

industry, Himanshu Rai, pioneer filmmaker and founder of Bombay

Talkies, dies at the age of forty-eight, following an on-set nervous


18. 1941—Mehtaab, in a daring first for a leading Indian actress, does a nude

bathing sequence in the costume drama Chitralekha. But Sohrab Modi,

the film’s director and Mehtaab’s fiancé, insists that the scene was “gracefully

and aesthetically done.”

19. 1942—There is a shortage of raw film stock, which has been diverted

towards the making of war propaganda films. Producers are therefore

limited to a maximum of eleven thousand feet of raw stock for feature

films, and four hundred feet for trailers. Three of Bollywood’s most influential

producer-directors of the 1940s—V. Shantaram, Mehboob Khan,

and A. R. Kardar—break from their parent studios to set up independent

film-production units.

20. 1943—Freedom fighter and India’s national leader, Mahatma Gandhi,

known for his conservative views on the “harmful” social influence of

films, makes an exception to watch Vijay Bhatt’s Ram Rajya (King Rama’s

Kingdom). It was the only film the “Father of the Nation of India” would

ever see and sanction.

21. 1944—The year brings to the fore two icons who would make a stylealtering

impact on Bollywood. Music director Naushad, known for his

fine continuation of classical Indian music influences in the shaping of

orchestrated popular film music, has his first musical success with the

top-grossing Rattan (1944). (The film is remembered today only because

of its music.) Naushad follows Rattan with thirty-five silver jubilee hit

films, twelve golden jubilees, and three diamond jubilee mega-successes.

Dilip Kumar makes an inconsequential box-office debut in a film ironically

titled High Tide (Jwar Bhata). He goes on to star in sixty blockbuster

films, with an equal number of acting achievements, in a career spanning

six decades.

22. 1946—Playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, the “Nightingale of Indian Film

Music,” and Indian cinema’s most venerable singing/film-singer screen

icon, records her first Bollywood song, “Paon lagu . . .” (“Offering prayers

with folded hands”), in the film Aap Ki Sewa Mein (In Your Service).

Mangeshkar goes on to become a much sought-after playback singer artist

A Century of Bollywood


and an influential singing voice for four generations of leading ladies/


23. 1947—India wins independence, but the Indian subcontinent is partitioned

into two nations, India and Pakistan. Partition reshuffles the population,

especially in the border states of Punjab and Bengal, and their

leading film industry centers. Bombay emerges as the biggest, while

Calcutta is reduced to a regional-language cinema center, making Bengali

films. The Lahore film industry is shattered, giving way to Karachi as the

filmmaking capital of Pakistan. Thousands of South Asians also migrate

to Britain and East Africa, leading to the creation of specialist cinemas in

those countries showing Bollywood films.

24. 1948—Bollywood’s most influential post-Independence auteur, Raj

Kapoor, establishes his RK Films banner at the age of twenty-four, with

the release of Aag (Fire). In 1950, he builds the iconic RK Studio, which

becomes the most influential hub in the film industry, while establishing

Kapoor and his extended family of actors as Bollywood’s “First Family of

Film.” The RK Studio logo is inspired from a pose featuring Raj Kapoor

Shobhana Samarth as Queen Sita coloring an image of King Rama, in a still from Vijay Bhatt’s Ram


Photo courtesy of NFAI


Bollywood FAQ

and Nargis, his leading lady of sixteen films, from their second film,

Barsaat (Rains, 1949).

25. 1949—The Films Division of India is established in Bombay. A countrywide

closure of movie theaters takes place against the governments taxation


26. 1950—French film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, and author Jean

Renoir comes to India to film The River (1951), a coming-of-age love story.

Then ad-industry professional Satyajit Ray meets and observes Renoir

at work. The interaction leads to the next burst of creativity in Indian


27. 1951—The S. K. Patil Film Enquiry Committee reports on all aspects of

cinema, noting the emerging shift from the studio system to individual

ownership. The Central Board of Film Censors is established, with the

New Theatres’ founder, B. N. Sircar, representing the film industry. A year

later, the Cinematograph Act is established, ruling that onscreen kissing

be deemed indecent. Filmmakers start showing intimacy through puerile

symbolism, including lovers running behind trees with two flowers

touching. The Supreme Court of India rules:

Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates

thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and

retention as compared to the printed word. The combination of

act and speech, sight and sound in semi-darkness of the theater

with elimination of all distracting ideas will have a strong impact

on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore, it

has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal

potential to instill or cultivate violent or bad behaviour. It cannot

be equated with other modes of communication.

Thirteen thousand Indian women in Delhi in 1954 send a petition to

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, urging him to address the cinema’s wild

potential to encourage “precocious sex habits.”

28. 1951—Raj Kapoor’s Awara (The Vagabond) is released to critical and commercial

acclaim. The first Bollywood film to be a global success, it was the

second-highest-grossing film of 1951. It goes on to be a hit in the erstwhile

Soviet Union, East Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The

film’s leads, Raj Kapoor and Nargis, became instant icons in Russia, and

the title song, “Awara hoon. . . “ (“I am a vagabond”), is hugely popular

across the Indian subcontinent, in the USSR, Turkey, Romania, and was

a favorite of Chairman Mao Zedong of China. The film also established

what was and what was not permissible regarding Bollywood’s depiction

of lust. The scene in which the film’s hero, played by Raj Kapoor, expresses

his desire for the swimsuit-clad heroine, played by Nargis, in one of its

A Century of Bollywood


pre-song moments, resulted in some unprecedented rough onscreen


29. 1952—Pakistan bans the importation of Indian films to protect its fledgling

motion picture industry.

30. 1952—Actor Jagdish Raj dons the police uniform for the first time, in CID.

He goes on to wear this costume in a record-breaking 144 films.

31. 1954—Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen (Two Acres of Land) wins the

International Prize at the Seventh Cannes Film Festival, and the Social

Progress Award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Back home,

it wins the Best Director award for Bimal Roy at the first Filmfare Awards

(the Bollywood “Oscars”), starting Roy’s consecutive winning streak from

1953–1955. Inspired by Italian neo-realist cinema, the critical and commercial

success Do Bigha Zameen paves the way for other Indian filmmakers

to attempt similar films in the 1950s.

32. 1955—New Theatres releases its last feature film. Prabhat Film Company

had ceased production in 1953, and Bombay Talkies in 1954. With the

shutting down of New Theatres, the curtain falls on Indian cinema’s first

Big Three studios.

33. 1955—Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (Song on the Little Road), the first of

a trilogy of films to follow the life of a poor village kid, Apu, from childhood

to parenthood, is released. Its world premiere at the Museum of

Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Awara.

Photo courtesy of NFAI


Bollywood FAQ

Modern Art in New York City, on May 3, 1955, is celebrated by Western

media for its “authentic representation of realities.”

34. 1957—India’s first Academy Award entry, Mother India, picks up a Best

Foreign Language Film nomination in 1958. Indian cinema’s global felicitation

continues with Raj Kapoor’s Jagte Raho (Keep Awake) winning the

Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito

(The Unvanquished) winning the Golden Lion (first prize) at the Venice

Film Festival, and Tapan Sinha’s Kabuliwala picking up the Silver Bear

Extraordinary Prize of the jury at the Seventh Berlin Film Festival.

35. 1958—Bimal Roy’s Madhumati sweeps the Filmfare Awards, picking up

nine of the fifteen honors, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best

Music. The record is held for thirty-seven years until Dilwale Dulhaniya

Le Jayenge (The Big-Hearted Will Take Away the Bride, 1995) scores the first

Perfect Ten. Madhumati marked its director Bimal Roy’s second hattrick

at winning the Best Director trophy for the years 1958–1960.

36. 1959—A new record for foreign films is created in the United States when

Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road, 1955) runs for over

seven months at the New York’s 5th Avenue Playhouse.

37. 1960—Featuring a cast of thousands, Bollywood’s grand historical epic,

K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (The Great Mughal), shot over a period of twelve

years, is the costliest Indian film made up to that time, with a budget

exceeding three million dollars. It is released on August 5, 1960, an event

so highly anticipated that patrons line up for days in advance to purchase

a ticket. It breaks the box-office record, remaining the highest-grossing

Bollywood film for fifteen years. In 2004, it became the first black-andwhite

Hindi film to be digitally colorized.

38. 1961—The Dilip Kumar–starring dacoit film, Gunga Jumna (Gunga and

Jumna), becomes the first successful Bollywood film to be made in a

regional dialect, Bhojpuri, instead of the preferred Hindustani language.

39. 1962—Meena Kumari becomes the first actor in the history of award ceremonies

to garner all the nominations in a single category. She picks up

all the nominations in the Best Actress category at the Tenth Filmfare

Awards, and wins the honor for the critically acclaimed tragedy Sahib Bibi

Aur Ghulam (The Master, Wife and Servant), portraying an alcoholic pining

for her husband’s love in a crumbling aristocratic household.

40. 1963—An inebriated Leela Naidu, in the role of the beautiful housewife of

a handsome naval officer (Sunil Dutt), succumbs to the seductions of a

socialite playboy (Rehman). Adultery becomes big-screen fodder with Yeh

Raaste Hain Pyar Ke (These Paths of Love). It was inspired by the

Commander K. M. Nanavati vs. the State of Maharashtra case of 1959, in

which Nanavati, a naval officer, was tried for the murder of his wife’s

lover, Prem Ahuja. The case attracted unprecedented media coverage for

A Century of Bollywood


Portraits of lead stars Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala on a poster of


Photo courtesy of NFAI

the jury’s acquittal of Nanavati, leading to the abolition of the jury system

in India. Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke was one of the first Indian movies to be

based on a contemporary news story.

41. 1964—Actor and auteur Guru Dutt commits suicide in Bombay at the age

of thirty-nine.

42. 1965—Guide becomes the first film to sweep the top four Filmfare

awards in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and

Best Actress. A bilingual production—a Hindi version directed by Dev

Anand’s younger brother, Vijay Anand, and an English-language version

by American writer-novelist Pearl S. Buck, directed by Tad Danielewski,

it introduces India’s first matinee idol, Dev Anand, to Western audiences.

While the Hindi Guide went on the become a game-changer in Indian


Bollywood FAQ

cinema for its “grey” leading lady, who opts for choice over confirmation,

the English version failed to make much of an impact. Incidentally, the

English Guide shows Dev Anand zipping up his fly after making love to

the heroine, played by Waheeda Rehman. Predictably, the scene was left

out in the Indian version which caters to more conservative audiences.

43. 1965—Shaheed (The Martyr), based on the inspiring life of Bhagat Singh

(1907–1931), a young revolutionary of the Indian freedom struggle, serves

as an introduction of Manoj Kumar as Indian cinema’s first “patriotic

hero.” His reputation as the ideal actor to play Mr. India onscreen was

established after the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, when Prime Minister

Lal Bahadur Shastri requested Kumar to create a film based on his slogan

“Jai jawan jai kissan” (“Hail the soldier, hail the farmer”). The result was

Kumar’s directorial debut Upkaar (Benefit, 1967), which firmly established

him as Mr. Bharat (Mr. India). The actor deliberately opted for the screen

name of Bharat (or India) in all the subsequent patriotism-themed films

for which he served as producer, director, and star.

44. 1967—Hindustan Photo Film makes India self-sufficient concerning

black-and-white sound film. All color film is still imported and locally


45. 1968—Writer-journalist, K. A. Abbas’s independent short film, Char

Shahar Ek Kahani (Four Cities, One Story), sparks a major controversy by

implying that censorship violates a creative person’s right to free speech

as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

46. 1969— Art-house auteur Mrinal Sen and Kashmiri screenwriter-filmmaker

Arun Kaul launch a manifesto, advocating for a “New Indian

Cinema Movement.” It argues the case for a state-sponsored alternative to

popular cinema. This New Indian Cinema, financed by the Film Finance

Corporation, establishes itself by rejecting the storytelling style and

substance of popular Bollywood cinema. The outcome is a new wave of

realism-celebrating films opting for performative restraint over melodrama,

pioneered by Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (Mr. Bhuvan Shome) and

Mani Kaul’s Uski Roti (Other’s Bread). Films made within this format come

to establish the parallel—or the Indian art-house cinema—as a distinct

style and sensibility alternative to popular Bollywood.

47. 1969—The Rajesh Khanna phenomenon hits the Indian screen, as female

fans go crazy across the country following the spectacular success of

Aradhana (Devotion). Khanna plays both the father and son in this tale

about the trials of an unwed mother. The film’s highlight is the sexually

charged love song featuring a hairy, bare-chested Khanna and a rainsoaked

Sharmila Tagore, as Kishore Kumar sings the intoxicating “Roop

tera mastana . . .” (“Your exciting beauty . . . ”). Leaving little to the imagination,

this becomes the steamiest scene featuring two leading actors ever

A Century of Bollywood


to hit the Hindi film industry. Khanna follows the success of Aradhana

with fifteen subsequent blockbusters in the romance and social drama

genres, becoming Bollywood’s first superstar.

48. 1970—The publication of the English-language magazine Stardust, by

Nari Hira, featuring bold interviews and scandalous revelations about

stars’ lives and activities, introduces tabloid journalism in India, elevating

magazines to a previously unheard-of popularity. Its cover story on

the reigning star of the day—“Was Rajesh Khanna Secretly Married?”—

shocked readers. While other magazines were priced at Rs. 1, Stardust

launched itself with a pricing of Rs. 2. An estimated twenty-five thousand

copies were sold in the issue’s first three days of publication, necessitating

multiple reprints.

49. 1971—India makes 433 feature films, becoming the world’s biggest film


50. 1972—Black-and-white films are gradually relegated to the past as more

than 90 percent of films are made in color. In a radical role-reversal,

dancer-actress Helen tries to win her man through cave-woman tactics in

Mere Jeevan Saathi (My Life Companion). In one torrid scene, she ties up

the film’s hero, Rajesh Khanna, and threatens to rape him.

51. 1973—Bobby, featuring an attractive pair of teenage leads, Rishi Kapoor

and Dimple Kapadia, becomes India’s biggest romantic hit thus far, due to

its realistic ode to pubescent love

at a time when other stars—many

now over the age of thirty—were

trying desperately to carry on

as romantic icons. Zanjeer (The

Chain) brought to the national

limelight Amitabh Bachchan, a

brooding young star with thirteen

box-office flops to his credit.

Playing an honest police inspector,

Bachchan’s bottled-up anger

against a corrupt system explodes

onscreen, giving birth to India’s

answer to the “angry young man”

genre. These action films make a

bold statement, with limited, contextual

usage of Bollywood’s traditional

song-and-dance element.

52. 1974—Shyam Benegal, Indian cinema’s

second-most influential arthouse

auteur since Satyajit Ray,

The October 1971 cover of the inaugural issue of

Stardust priced for Rs. 2.

Photo courtesy of Stardust magazine.


Bollywood FAQ

achieves a memorable debut with Ankur (The Seedling), a seething social

critique on class- and gender-based exploitation in a conservative, rural

milieu. Consistently ranked among the “most influential Bollywood classics,”

Ankur, along with Ardh Satya (1983’s Half-Truth, which was made by

Benegal’s protégé Govind Nihalani) remain the only two song-less films

to achieve blockbuster status. Made at a budget of only half-a-million

rupees, Ankur went on to gross more than ten million. Benegal’s debut

paved the way for realistic cinema’s commercial viability while giving

Indian cinema one of its greatest acting talents, Shabana Azmi, an actress

often compared favorably with Meryl Streep.

53. 1974—Under the guise of sex education, Gupt Gyan (Secret Knowledge),

passed by the censor board after a long tussle, unflincingly covers several

hitherto-taboo topics onscreen, with animated visuals of the male and

female anatomy. The film becomes a major box-office hit, spawning similarly

explicit, “educative” films as Stree Purush (Man-Woman), Adi Manav

(Primal Man), Kaam Shastra (The Sex Manual).

54. 1975—Ramesh Sippy’s multi-star, dacoit-revenge drama Sholay (Embers)

is initially met with lukewarm audience response, but picks up within

a week to break all pre-existing box-office records; it will be described

in retrospect as “the most-loved, most-watched, and most-referenced”

Bollywood movie of all time. It becomes the first Indian film to celebrate

a silver jubilee in more than a hundred cinemas, and runs for over five

years at Mumbai’s Minerva Theatre. Interestingly, Sholay’s dream run is

closely contested by a small film, with no stars, based on a local lore, Jai

Santoshi Maa (Hail Goddess Santoshi). The success of the film generates

a cult following for the little-known goddess Santoshi, with pan-Indian

devotees replicating in daily life the rituals shown in the film.

55. 1976—Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares a state of national emergency

in 1975, leading to strict censorship of various media, including

films. Original copies of Member of Indian Parliament and politicianturned-filmmaker

Amrit Nahata’s political satire, Kissa Kursi Ka (The Tale

of the Throne) are destroyed by agents of the ruling Congress Party for

being critical of the politics of Prime Minister Gandhi and her son Sanjay

Gandhi. Nahata reshoots the film after the emergency is lifted and the

Congress Party is voted out of power in 1977.

56. 1978—Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Love Sublime), starring his

brother, the dapper Shakespearean actor Shashi Kapoor, features Hindi

cinema’s first controversial kiss, the recipient being Miss Asia Zeenat

Aman. New boundaries of onscreen licentiousness are crossed with

Zeenat wearing a band-sized choli (blouse) throughout, and bathing a

Shiva Lingam (a phallus-like representation of Lord Shiva) in a very suggestive


A Century of Bollywood


57. 1978—Bollywood superstars share celluloid space with Hollywood star

power in Krishna Shah’s thriller-caper Shalimar (The Precious Stone).

Leading Bollywood stars of the 1970s—Dharmendra, Zeenat Aman,

Shammi Kapoor, and Prem Nath—acted alongside Rex Harrison, John

Saxon, and Sylvia Miles in their first and only Bollywood outing. The

English version of the film, titled Raiders of the Sacred Stone, was unsuccessfully

released in theaters, but gained cult status when it came out in

a home video format.

58. 1980—Auteur of reformist social dramas, B. R. Chopra’s Insaaf Ka Tarazu

(The Scales of Justice), plumbs new depths of depravity with two long and

graphic rape sequences, the latter featuring a fifteen-year-old Padmini

Kolhapure. Irrespective of the declared intentions of the director to

the contrary, the critical consensus is that the outcome is unabashedly


59. 1982—The nation’s collective heart skips a beat and fans line up for continuous

prayers at churches, temples, mosques, and gurudwaras when

India’s biggest superstar of the day, Amitabh Bachchan, has a near-fatal

accident on the set of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie (1983). Prime Minister

Indira Gandhi flies down from Delhi to Bombay to visit him. Puneet Issar,

the young actor who had been playing opposite him in a fight sequence—

and had inadvertently delivered the killer punch—becomes an instant

national pariah with the film industry treating the struggler with a barge

pole, in an illogical reaction to the mass hysteria. Issar’s acting career is

later revived on television towards the end of the decade as the lead villain

Duryodhana in a popular TV series based on the epic Mahabharata.

60. 1983—Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi becomes the most popular foreignlanguage

film at the Indian box-office, proving as popular as the domestic


61. 1983—The last of the golden era’s movie moguls Kamal Amrohi’s costume

drama, Razia Sultan, is released. The film is about a Muslim empress,

Delhi’s first lady ruler. A ruler with bisexual leanings, she sings a suggestive

lullaby, ending with actress Hema Malini (as Razia) and her onscreen

confidant/bodyguard Parveen Babi in an embrace. It marked the first

time sapphic love had been depicted in a Bollywood film. In the middle

of the lullaby, the duo disappears behind a fan for a mysterious interlude

with the hint of a kiss. “LESBIANISM,” screams the headlines, but director

Amrohi insists that this is not so. The song is eventually cut for the home

video release.

62. 1983—Southern superstar Rajnikanth makes his Bollywood debut in a

social-drama-cum-crime-thriller Andha Kanoon (The Law is Blind), opposite

the biggest stars of the day, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. He,

however, has to wait for nearly decades to extend the frenzy surrounding


Bollywood FAQ

his movies in his home state, Tamil Nadu, to a pan-Indian craze with

Enthiran, dubbed in Hindi as Robot (2010). During that interval, he

emerges as a popular star in Japan with the release of his 1995 film Muthu,

dubbed as Dancing Maharajah (1997), attracting a cult following in the

country’s underground cine-circuit.

63. 1985—Bollywood’s leading men finally attempt to show some skin,

with the heroes appearing bare-chested in such films as Tarzan, Ram

Teri Ganga Maili (Oh Rama, Your Ganges Has Become Dirty), Saagar (The

Sea), and Arjun. The trend in male semi-nudity doesn’t really catch on

until the handsome Hrithik Roshan reached his peak, two decades later.

Meanwhile, at 912 feature-length film releases, India achieves a world

record for maximum films by any country in a single year.

64. 1986—A shining star of art-house cinema and the Indian new wave, Smita

Patil, dies at thirty-one as a result of complications following child birth.

Winner of two Best Actress National Awards, she made more than eighty

films in a comparatively brief, decade-long career. Patil becomes the

youngest Indian actress to be the focus of film festival retrospectives

across the world.

65. 1987—A record number of a million-plus people, the highest for any film

celebrity, attend the funeral of film star-turned-politician and chief minister

of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran

(a.k.a. MGR, 1917–1987). More than twenty citizens are killed during a

riot in response to the public mourning that grips the Tamil Nadu state

after his demise, while another twenty-plus fans commit suicide, unable

to bear their loss. Millions across the state tonsure their heads in a Hindu

ritual of mourning. The reaction to MGR’s passing triggers a trend, at

least by certain fans in south India, of idolization and deification of stars

as gods.

66. 1988—Zakhmee Aurat (The Wounded Woman) triggers national debate,

with its heroine, Dimple Kapadia, emerging as a feminist icon (by default)

for the film’s novel, but violent, way of dealing with rapists—castration.

67. 1989—Mira Nair’s gritty, heart-wrenching account of life in Mumbai’s

slums, Salaam Bombay!, becomes the second Indian film to make it to the

Oscars’ Best Foreign Language category.

68. 1989—Sooraj Barjatya’s class-crossed rebel love story, Maine Pyar Kiya

(I Fell in Love) soars to the top of the box-office to become the decade’s

biggest hit, marking the ascendancy of its hero, Salman Khan, as a Gen

Next Bollywood superstar. The film keeps conveniently returning to the

theaters every few months, re-cut and re-edited, and then re-released.

69. 1991—Bollywood defends the use of gay characters, albeit keeping them

on the the fringes. In Sadak (The Road), the villain is a freak, while in Mast

Qalandar (Happy Go Lucky!) and Veeru Dada (Master Veeru), popular

A Century of Bollywood


actors Anupam Kher and Shakti Kapoor play the first unabashedly open

homosexuals in a Bollywood film.

70. 1992—Satyajit Ray, one of the twentieth century cinema’s greatest legends

and a pioneer auteur of India’s art-house cinema, is awarded the Honorary

Oscar for Lifetime Achievement “in recognition of his mastery of the art

of motion pictures . . .” In the same year, he is also awarded India’s highest

civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India). On April 23, 1992, just

days after receiving the Academy Award, Ray passes away at his Calcutta

home at the age of seventy-one.

71. 1992—Majrooh Sultanpuri (1919–2000) becomes Bollywood’s first songwriter

and lyricist to win the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the longestlasting,

most notable songwriting career in the film industry. Sultanpuri

had penned his first song for Shahjehan (1946), performed by the talkie

era’s first singing star, K. L. Saigal, and received his last Filmfare Best

Lyricist nomination for Aaj main upar (Khamoshi: The Musical, 1996) picturized

by Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala. In 1992, Sultanpuri had

penned an ode to first love, “Pehla nasha, pehla khumar . . .” (“The first

intoxication, the first hangover”) for the Archie comics–inspired school

sports-drama Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (The Winner Takes All). He wrote an

estimated eight thousand songs for over 350 films during his five-decadelong


72. 1993—Hindu-Muslim riots break out in Bombay in January, followed by

a series of twelve bomb blasts across the city on March 12, 1993, with a

reported three hundred casualties. Leading film star Sanjay Dutt, who

owned an AK-56 assault rifle, is arrested for illegal weapon possession

under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act. His arrest

causes a crisis in the Bombay film industry as production of twelve of his

films is suspended.

73. 1993—The raunchy lyrics and risqué choreography of the song “Choli

ke peeche kya hai . . .” (“What is beneath the blouse?”) from Khalnayak

(The Villain), make it the most controversial Indian film song of all time.

Morality debates abound concerning the song’s presence on primetime

radio and television as it rises in popularity, becoming a chartbuster.

Repeat audiences throng the theaters just to see the song and walk out

during the interval.

74. 1993—Two films—Darr (Fear) and Baazigar (The Gambler)—rejected by

most image-conscious stars for their anti-hero protagonists—are lapped

up by Shah Rukh Khan, an ordinary-looking TV actor with tremendous

energy and an infectious charm. Following the film’s release, Khan

becomes an instant national heartthrob and begins his two-decade journey

to becoming the world’s most-recognized star. But the film that keeps

the media buzzing about him, Maya Memsaab (Madam Maya, an Indian


Bollywood FAQ

adaptation of Madam Bovary), is due to a nude bedroom scene featuring

Khan and his co-star Deepa Saahi. Saahi, incidentally, is the film’s titular

star and the wife of its director Ketan Mehta.

75. 1993—While starring in Junoon (Obsession), Rahul Roy becomes the first

Indian film hero to bare his bottom onscreen. As he rhetorically asked: “I

don’t know how much the censors will keep, but I didn’t mind mooning.

An animal can’t wear clothes—can it?”

76. 1994—India gets its first film to cross the rupees 100-crore box-office

record, and Hollywood get its first pan-Indian blockbuster in its century-long

history. The fourteen-song romantic musical “Hum aapke

hain koun . . . !” (“Who am I to you?”) becomes the biggest hit in the history

of Indian cinema, until then, collecting over 1,000-million rupees.

Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic Park is dubbed into Hindi and grosses

120 million rupees, beginning a trend for dubbing and releasing new

Hollywood movies. Its success, however, isn’t repeated until the release

of Titanic (1997).

77. 1995—In the centenary year of world cinema, Bollywood makes Dilwale

Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The Big-Hearted Will Take Away the Bride), its

longest-ever, continuously running film, revolving around protagonists

from the Indian Diaspora in London. The film sets the precedent for a

subgenre called NRI (non-resident Indian) films. It sweeps the forty-first

Filmfare Awards with a still-unbeaten record of ten wins from fourteen

nominations, and holds an ongoing world record for being continuously

shown at a theater for over two decades, from its October 20, 1995 release

to the present, at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir.

78. 1996—The BAFTA–nominated Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994)

becomes the most controversial film of the twentieth century, with direct

intervention by Indian courts to prevent its release. Two years following

production, the film is finally released in January, and then banned in

March by the Delhi High Court in favor of a defamation suit filed by a

member of the Gujjar community. The Supreme Court eventually lifts

the ban.

79. 1997—Music baron and owner of the largest record label, T-Series,

Gulshan Kumar, is gunned down in broad daylight by hired assassins

outside a Mumbai temple. Leading music director Nadeem Khan is

accused of conspiring to kill Kumar, along with fugitive Mumbai don

Dawood Ibrahim. The media openly speculates on the extent to which the

Mumbai Mafia has an invisible hold on, and an unstated nexus with, the

“who’s who” of Bollywood.

80. 1998—The film industry is declared a legitimate industry by the government

of India, thus making it eligible for institutional financing.

A Century of Bollywood


81. 1998—The state of Pakistan

honors Dilip Kumar with

its highest civilian honor,

the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order

of Excellence). He remains

the only Indian film personality—and

only the

second Indian—to be so

honored by a nation that

has fought four wars with


82. 1999—In a global

online poll by the BBC,

Amitabh Bachchan is

voted—by a large margin

—the Superstar of the

Millennium. (Runners-up

were Sir Laurence Olivier

and Sir Alec Guinness.) A

year later, he becomes the

first Indian actor to have

a waxwork made in his

likeness by the Madame

Tussauds wax museum in


83. 2001—Ashutosh

Gowariker’s 224-minutelong,

British period drama

magnum opus Lagaan

(Land Tax), revolv i ng

Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit become national heartthrobs wi

Hum Aapke Hain Koun . . . !

Authors collecti

around a fictitious cricket match set in British India between a motley

team of peasants and their rulers, is the third Indian film to receive a Best

Foreign Language Film nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture

Arts and Sciences.

84. 2002—Bollywood captures and inspires the popular imagination of the

U.K. in the new millennium. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bollywood-inspired

musical, Bombay Dreams, opens to packed houses in London’s Apollo

Victoria Theatre. An exhibition of posters representing Hindi film history

titled, “Cinema India—The Art of Bollywood,” is held at London’s

Victoria and Albert Museum. The Selfridges’ chain of department? stores

in England hosts a “Bollywood Season,” at one of its London stores, where


Bollywood FAQ

film sets are recreated in the store premises, with one replicating actress

Dimple Kapadia’s entire Bombay home!

85. 2004—A German television channel, RTL2-TV, shows the Germandubbed

version of Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes

Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow) for the first time. Germany’s fascination

with Shah Rukh Khan begins.

86. 2003—Actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai becomes the first

Indian actress to join the jury of the Cannes Film festival. A year prior,

Aishwarya’s opulent musical, Devdas, was the first mainstream Hindi film

to premiere at Cannes.

87. 2003—Prince Charles gives the ceremonial clap at the inaugural shot

of historical biopic, Mangal Pandey: The Rising. Interestingly, the heir to

the British throne was launching an Indo-British joint venture featuring

Aamir Khan and Toby Stephens, which was based on an Indian sepoy (soldier)

who triggered India’s first war of independence against the British

Empire’s East India Company in 1857.

88. 2008—Film production in India comes to a halt as approximately 147,000

workers belonging to a federation of twenty-two unions go on a three-day

strike, demanding better working conditions and basic benefits, such as a

twelve-hour-maximum work day, improved safety, and on-time payment.

89. 2009—Slumdog Millionaire’s Academy Awards sweep brings three Oscars

to India, won by A. R. Rahman, Resul Pookutty, and Gulzar. However,

several hundred protestors rampage through a cinema in Patna to protest

Danny Boyle’s use of the word dog to describe slum dwellers. Meanwhile,

one of the film’s child actors, Rubina Ali, becomes a subject of controversy

after a British tabloid alleges her father had tried to sell the nine-year-old

to an undercover reporter. Slumdog Millionaire opens to lukewarm boxoffice

response in India.

90. 2009—20th Century Fox launches a lawsuit against BR Films, the producer

of Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai (This Guy is Fearless), claiming it to be

an unauthorized remake of their 1992 film My Cousin Vinny. BR Films is

ordered by the courts to pay $200,000 to 20th Century Fox for copyright


91. 2009—In a first-of-its-kind partnership between Hollywood and

Bollywood production companies, Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks

Studios and Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group strike a threeyear,

$825 million pact to fund up to six films a year. Indian billionaire

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, of Reliance ADAG, picks up a 50 percent stake

in Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG, starting with an initial investment of

$325 million.

A Century of Bollywood


92. 2009—Six decades after the global success of Awara (The Vagabond, 1951),

Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots experiences similar box-office success outside

of India, especially in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan, and China. The

film’s hero, Aamir Khan, commands an instant following across China,

where his subsequent releases only increase box-office records. It is

ranked as the twelfth “All-Time Favorite” film of Chinese audiences on the

popular review site Douban. In India, the film’s reformist message

towards inculcating a competition-free education culture inspires a legislation

towards an examination-free education system for upper primary

level in schools. 3 Idiots makes history by becoming the first film to enter

the 200-crore (2,000 million) rupee club of domestic box-office earners,

ending with an overall global lifetime take of 5,000-million rupees.

93. 2010—The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the

University of Vienna, Austria, hosts “Shah Rukh Khan and Global

“Superstar of the Millennium” Amitabh Bachchan on a promotional poster for

his 2011 film Bbuddah . . .Hoga Terra Baap.

Author’s collection


Bollywood FAQ

Bollywood,” the first-ever international conference dedicated to an Indian

film star. The conference features more than forty speakers from more

than twenty global universities.

94. 2010—Dunno Y . . . Na Jaane Kyun becomes the first mainstream

Bollywood film to show a kiss between two gay characters. The film is

reflective of a more liberal attitude among Indian filmmakers towards

same-sex relationships, following a temporary legalization of homosexuality

in 2009.

95. 2011—Playback singing legend Asha Bhosle enters The Guinness Book of

World Records for having made the largest number of single studio recordings.

The seventy-eight-year-old has sung over eleven thousand solos,

duets, and chorus-backed songs in twenty Indian languages since 1947.

96. 2011—A “making of” video of a yet-to-be-shot film song, “Why This

Kolaveridi?,” goes viral on the YouTube, generating more than five million

hits in a week and crossing the ten-million mark in a ten-day period!

97. 2012—The Indian Censor Board passes the unedited, 3-D version of James

Cameron’s Titanic. When originally released in late 1997, audiences were

prevented from seeing Rose (Kate Winslet) posing in the nude for the

film’s famous portrait-drawing scene.

98. 2012—Walt Disney Pictures acquires one of the largest and most prolific

modern Indian production companies, UTV, paying $454 million to

expand its reach in the world’s fastest-growing film and television market.

99. 2012—Canadian-born Indian-American actress Sunny Leone becomes the

first-ever porn star to debut as a Bollywood heroine in writer-filmmaker

Mahesh Bhatt’s erotic-thriller franchise Jism 2 (Body 2). The commercially

successful film is critically panned, and Leone has to wait another five

years to be featured in a film helmed by an A-lister star, when she gets

to do a guest appearance in an item song sequence in Shah Rukh Khan’s

Raees (2017).

100. 2012—Bollywood’s Megastar of the Millennium, Amitabh Bachchan,

finally succumbs to the Hollywood bait at age sixty-nine! He shoots

a one-scene appearance in Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of F. Scott

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (2013) at Sydney “for free, as a friendly gesture.”

Bachchan portrays one of literature’s most colorful Mafia characters,

Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish figure from New York’s seedy underworld of

organized crime, who helps Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) make his money.

Dadasaheb Phalke and

the Birth of Indian Cinema


I will make films on selected portions from old Sanskrit plays and new

Marathi plays, on manners and customs in different regions of India,

on genuine Indian humor, on holy places and pilgrimages, on social

functions as well as on scientific and educational subjects. . . . Moving

pictures are a means of entertainment; but are in addition an excellent

means for spreading knowledge.

—Dadasaheb Phalke

Cinema came to India within six months of its landmark first “paid”

showcase in public with ten short films by Auguste Marie Louis

Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumière at the Le Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris

on December 28, 1895. On July 7, 1896, the Lumière Brothers screened six of

those films at Bombay’s Watson Hotel. The films were subsequently shown

in Calcutta and Madras, the largest metropolitan cities in the eastern and

southern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

Local creativity and entrepreneurship immediately engaged with the new

opportunity, starting with Hiralal Sen in Calcutta (in 1898) and Harishchandra

Sakharam Bhatwadekar in Mumbai, who made the first-ever Indian film,

The Wrestlers (1899). This was a recording of a wrestling match in Mumbai.

Documentary was therefore the first Indian movie genre—pioneered by the

prolific Sen and Bhatwadekar, and nurtured by the contributions of their

enterprising Indian successors, European professional filmmakers, and amateur

British officials keen on recording their experiences of India.

The Indian experience of movie making, as a recording-on-film activity,

began almost coincidentally with the birth of world cinema. Its first feature—

or story—film, Pundalik (Sage Pundalik), was released a decade later, on May

18, 1912, made by Ramchandra Gopal Torney, who was from the western

Indian state of Maharashtra. It gave birth to the Indian silent era’s second

major film genre—the devotional film. These were primarily biographical

films, usually about a local seer or a saint-poet. Pundalik’s pioneer status has

been renegotiated over time, with critics and historians arguing that it was

only a photographic recording of a stage play and not a properly shot film. The


Bollywood FAQ

film’s cameraman was an Englishman (named Johnson), and its processing had

been outsourced to London.

Made-in-India Swadeshi Films

India in the early twentieth century was the jewel among the colonies in the

crown of the British empire. It also was the period when the ideas of swaraj

(self-rule) and swadeshi (made in India/one’s own country) first inspired

popular motivations in the socio-political space of British India. The cultural

space, too, was not alien to these ideas. The era’s most prolific and seminal

genre, which went on to become one of Indian cinema’s signature genres—the

mythological—was introduced a year later by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. Also

known as Dadasaheb Phalke or the “Father of Indian Cinema,” his debut, Raja

Harishchandra (King Harishchandra), released in 1913, is considered Indian

cinema’s first “truly indigenous” swadeshi film. Unlike Torney’s Pundalik, it

was made with Indian capital by an Indian filmmaker, shot at Indian locations

with an Indian-only cast and technicians, and told a very Indian story.

Phalke proudly asserted in an article in 1918, “My films are swadeshi in

the sense that the capital, ownership, employees and the stories are swadeshi.”

It was no mere coincidence that the film’s choice of story affirmed another

foundational element of Indian cinema—a conscious, convenient, and recurrent

referencing of its two epic poems, the Ramayana (The Story of Rama) and

the Mahabharata (The Great War), for ideas, stories, character reference, and

drama. For a predominantly illiterate audience, the plot- and dialogue-description

slides of silent films were meaningless. They had to be told a familiar

story, and the epics were the Indian subcontinent’s most frequently told and

known tales.

Phalke’s Context and Concerns

Phalke was a man of strong impulses and rigid convictions. He was not used

to being dictated to and frequently left many a prosperous project, often after

starting it, when his ideas and attitude towards his projects clashed with his

colleagues, financiers, or co-entrepreneurs. Phalke’s great-grandniece Sharayu

Phalke Summanwar in her biography of Phalke, The Silent Film (2012), writes,

“His spirit always rebelled against being anyone’s slave; he was an artist and

artists needed their freedom.” She traces this attitude to his being raised

according to the traditions of orthodox Brahmins (upper-caste Hindus) from

the Chitpavan community of Maharashtra, for whom an “uncompromised

righteous living,” inspired by the Hindu scriptures, defined the way of life.

Dadasaheb Phalke and the Birth of Indian Cinema


Dhundiraj Govind Phalke.

Photo courtesy of NFAI

Phalke’s father, Dajishastri Phalke, was an equally inflexible man of principles.

Summanwar writes:

Daji was a renowned Sanskrit scholar. He was a puranic (a scholar

of Indian history and religious myths) and a Vedasampana shastri

(a master of the oldest Hindu religious texts, the Vedas). And it

was because of this that Dhundiraj and his brother Bapu knew the

Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita (one of the holiest

Hindu scriptures) and the Vedas by heart—a fact that surprised his

friends in later years. But for the Phalkes it was commonplace; their

family performed all the Hindu rites except those connected with

death. . . . The lullabies that Dhundiraj’s mother and grandmother

sang to him were in fact musical narrations of the great Hindu epics.

It was no wonder that by the age of seven he could recite good parts

of them by heart, in Sanskrit. At some level, he seemed to interpret

life itself through these epics, a fact that is almost incomprehensible

to most people today. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were not mere

household names but dominant influences in Dhundiraj’s life. They

were to greatly impact his work in later years.


Bollywood FAQ

The Role of Christ in the Birth of Bollywood

Phalke’s first trigger to make movies came after a chance viewing of The Life of

Christ during Christmas of 1910. He became obsessed with the idea of pioneering

an Indian film industry. In a newspaper column in Kesari, on May 6, 1913,

he writes:

While The Life of Christ was rolling fast before my physical eyes I was

mentally visualizing the Gods, Shri Krishna, Shri Ramachandra, their

Gokul and Ayodhya. I was gripped by a strange spell . . . I felt my

imagination taking shape on the screen. Could this really happen?

Could we, the sons of India, ever be able to see Indian images on the


A Tool for Revolution Called Cinema

The urge to show and see Indian images onscreen that would soon consume

Phalke as a life obsession was no isolated articulation, but a product of the

Indian identity-seeking, independence-minded spirit of his times. Phalke’s

mythological films also helped stir submerged feelings of national pride and

identity by reminding Indians of their glorious heritage. A review of Raja

Harishchandra, published three days after the film’s release on May 6, 1913, in

Kesari, a weekly paper founded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (also called the “Father

of the Indian Unrest” by British authorities), celebrated Phalke’s arrival as a

pioneering influence in Indian cinema. It reads: “Most of the films shown in

the cinematographs in Bombay were foreign and they had foreign images in

them. But Mr. Phalke has changed all this in making his films. The images in

his films are Indian and are drawn from the Puranas and are thus familiar to

us all.”

When Phalke went through a crisis of resources and lack of funds in his

filmmaking career during World War 1 (July 28, 1914–November 11, 1918),

Tilak’s paper, Kesari, supported his pleas for public funding and the need for

his continuance for the survival of swadeshi cinema, through liberal reviews,

interviews, and printing of fundraising advertisements. For Phalke, Tilak, who

was fourteen years older, remained a lifelong mentor, supporter, respected

guide, and trusted critic of his films and plays. For Tilak, also a Sanskrit

scholar, teacher, reformist, and journalist, Phalke was an Indian entrepreneur

to be encouraged and enlisted. Tilak’s idea of swaraj (self-rule) was not limited

to political freedom alone. It was conjoined to an overall revival of everything

“made in India,” in every sphere of life—economic, social, religious, and cultural.

To this end, his clarion calls were as much for young patriots as young

Dadasaheb Phalke and the Birth of Indian Cinema


entrepreneurs in all walks of life. It was in this climate of an all-inclusive

swadeshi movement that inspired Phalke to make “films on Indian subjects by

the Indians, for the Indians.” Phalke, in his forties, left a comfortable government

job to attempt a new career of which he had no knowledge, beyond an

all-consuming passion and a motivation reflective of the super-charged times.

The self-taught Phalke even refused lucrative offers by London-based producers

to work in the U.K., at a princely sum of 300 pounds a month, following

the enthusiastic reception of his first set of films on a screening visit to London

in 1917. He had instead opted to struggle with an unpredictable career at home,

attempting to nurture and establish what he then saw as a still-fledgling

swadeshi (Indian) film industry. Perhaps it was this uncompromising equating

of swadeshi with Indian-only stories and storytelling styles that Phalke’s

choice of feature film subjects never went beyond the epic and Sanskrit drama

sources, even when popular taste had begun veering towards other themes

and genres, like the Parsi theater-inspired fantasy films, or family socials

and comedies inspired by Shakespearean dramas and European films, this

despite the fact that Phalke had played few minor Shakespearean characters

in his earlier tryst with professional theater as a student actor. Also, given

the unavailability of female actors agreeing to act onscreen, Phalke preferred

casting young Indian boys in women’s parts (as was prevalent in many local

Indian dance and theater traditions), instead of casting British, Anglo-Indian,

or Western actresses with Indian screen names as Indian characters, as was

common in Indian films of the silent era.

Phalke’s selections and motivations went far beyond the personal. He saw

the establishment of an Indian film industry as a pioneer’s responsibility,

even if it came at the cost of his survival, sanity, and financial security. He was

driven by a firm and spirited conviction that “the Indian people would get an

occasion to see Indian images on the screen and people abroad would get a

true picture of India.”

The Phalke Film Shastra

Phalke’s idea of swadeshi was not limited to telling Indian stories with an

Indian-only cast and crew. It was also about re-introducing his creative fraternity

and successors to the traditional Indian style of storytelling and performance,

and its appreciation as postulated in the Nātyaśāstra (the Indian

classical Sanskrit text on drama). Despite a decline in public performances of

Sanskrit-language dramas in the medieval century, critics and commentators

consistently engaged with the Nātyaśāstra as a dramatic treatise.

Phalke’s exhaustive oeuvre of more than one hundred films sourced all

its stories from the puranas, the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Sanskrit


Bollywood FAQ

drama. Of the 138 silent films that were issued censor certificates for release in

the first decade of Indian cinema (1913–1922), ninety-five were mythologicals,

fourteen were devotionals, fourteen were socials (starting in 1920), eight were

historicals (starting in 1915), five were classical or Sanskrit-drama adaptations

(starting in 1920), and there was only one documentary (1918) and one fantasy

film (1922). Among these, twenty-five mythologicals and four devotionals

were made by Phalke; first under his debut company, Phalke & Company

Ltd., and subsequently under the Hindustan Cinema Film Company. Phalke’s

pioneering role was, thus, not only in initiating the film industry in India, but

in setting the agenda for its narrative choices, style, and identity, especially in

its first, formative decade.

Based on genres, a breakdown of the 133 films released in 1929 indicates a

decisive shift in trends from the 1913–1922 figures. Previously, mythologicals

overwhelmingly led the tally, but by 1929 socials and fantasy/costume actioners

led the list, with forty-plus releases in each category, followed by fourteen

historicals, twelve mythologicals, three devotionals, and five classical-dramas.

Barring two features—Raja Harishchandra (1913) and Kaliya Mardan (The

Killing of Snake Kaliya, 1919) and a few scenes from other films—none of

Phalke’s films survive today, but his four elaborate essays on the art and craft

of cinema in the Kesari newspaper leave little doubt that the greatest influence

on the “Phalke School of Filmmaking” was the classical Sanskrit drama and


The Méliès of Indian Cinema

Phalke’s first film, Raja Harishchandra, contains a trick-based scene, where the

hero, King Harishchandra, is conned into saving three vices being burned on

a sacred altar of sacrifice by the sage Vishwamitra. The vices are interestingly

portrayed as three hyperactive girls in flames from the waist-up, with the rest

of their bodies strategically covered by the sage’s silhouette. The other “trick of

camera” that can be seen in the salvaged remnants of the film is the sudden

appearance and disappearance of Lord Shiva in the film’s climax. When Indian

cinema’s first auteur took his films—especially scenes like these—to the United

Kingdom as an international showcase, the foreign press in London noted that

“from a technical point of view, Phalke’s films are excellent.” These special

effects may not seem awe-inspiring today, but for audiences of the time these

were the biggest attractions of a Phalke film. Prominent studio owner and the

pioneer of the effects-driven “stunt” genre of action films, J. B. H. Wadia, recalls

his own experience of watching Phalke’s first blockbuster, Lanka Dahan (The

Destruction of Lanka, 1917): “Lanka Dahan was a minor masterpiece of its time.

The spectacle of Hanuman’s figure becoming progressively diminutive as he

Dadasaheb Phalke and the Birth of Indian Cinema


Dadasaheb Phalke’s daughter Mandakini Phalke (center) plays baby Krishna in Kaliya Mardan.

Photo courtesy of NFAI

flew higher and higher in the clouds and the burning of the city of Lanka in

table-top photography were simply awe-inspiring.” Thus, Phalke has also been

called the Georges Méliès of Indian cinema.

Georges Mêliés, the father of special effects in French cinema, had a studio

and trained hands to aid him in realizing his vision; Phalke had just himself

and his imagination. And yet, the real-life magician-turned-filmmaker never

tired of introducing new “tricks,” as cinematic special effects were called then,

bettering their promise and scale of ambition with every subsequent film.

Phalke’s lifelong wish around his filmmaking journey was that he “remain

a child forever!” In a 1918 column, he had written, “As I grow my beard and

moustaches, let my inner heart always have the purity of a child!” A childlike

wonder pervades Phalke’s films, in which the attraction of a spectacle often

defines the climax or the core drama of a narrative (The Destruction of Lanka,

The Killing of Snake Kaliya, The Killing of King Jarasandha, A Quarrel Game of

Narada, The Fight Between Rama and Ravana, The Disrobing of Draupadi, etc.).

The story thus becomes a vehicle for creating a sense of awe and wonder. This

is quite evident in the delineation of the drama in both of his available films.


Bollywood FAQ

Even in a tale of loss and deep pathos like King Harishchandra, the focus is on

the possibilities for adventure or surprise in the journey of the protagonists.

A Talkie That Became a Talking Point

Phalke’s filmmaking career was forever driven by an urge to create a bigger

spectacle than before. His last two film projects—a sound film, Setu Bandhan

(The Bridge on the Sea, 1932), and Phalke’s first talkie, Gangavataran (The Descent

of Ganga, 1937)—both carved their drama around events of grand spectacle

from the epics. They rode in on advertising that pitched them as “a spectacle

to beat all spectacles.” For Gangavataran, Phalke famously got his art direction

team to paint an entire existing hill in white to recreate the effect of the snowcapped

Himalayan mountains on his tropical location backdrop of Kolhapur

in western India. Ironically, it rained heavily all night, leaving the painted

hill green again. Since, it was impossible to repaint the soaked backdrop, the

Himalayas had to be recreated in the studio.

The Father of Indian Cinema

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke honed his cinema skills on a diet of Bioscope, but

for his suggestions on filmmaking he referenced and contextualized the

Nātyaśāstra. He learned his craft from the Western film, but used it to express

Indian themes and impulses. He let himself be shaped in the interaction of the

West and the East, but the values he sought to establish were of the classical

Sanskrit theater.

In his tone of assertive prescription and his inclination towards revelation

and codification, it could well be argued that Phalke saw himself as the sage

Bharata (the writer of Nātyaśāstra) of Indian cinema. A figure who, in the

context of filmmaking in India, almost assigned to himself the responsibility

of recording a film shastra (a guide text or book of codes) for his successors.

His was a pioneer’s impact; he went on to become the box-office leader in the

first decade of Indian cinema, while influencing most of the genre, plot, and

performance style choices of the country’s silent era. Most actors and technicians

in the early years of Indian cinema were discoveries or dropouts from

the Phalke Film Factory, as noted by Phalke in his deposition to the Indian

Cinematograph Enquiry Committee of 1927–1928. The “Father of South Indian

Cinema,” J. C. Daniel, had sought guidance and training at Phalke’s Nasikbased

studio before venturing out to make Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child,

1928), just as Phalke had visited Cecil Hepworth’s studio near London for his

education in filmmaking before making Raja Harishchandra.

Dadasaheb Phalke and the Birth of Indian Cinema


Phalke’s vision was achieved by his opting to re-engage and re-introduce

his countrymen and fellow filmmakers to India’s continuing aesthetic traditions

and postulates on performance, drama, and narration. He disseminated

his ideas on the purpose and nature of film appreciation through extensive

commentaries in the press and in public lectures. Simultaneously, he encouraged

an entire generation of actors, technicians, and filmmakers to be mindful

of “entertainment with enlightenment,” a tenet that would guide narrative

concerns in popular Indian cinema.

A grateful nation and the Indian film industry acknowledged Phalke’s

contribution by naming its highest lifetime achievement honor for film personalities

presented by the government of India after him: the Dadasaheb

Phalke Award. This is presented every year by the president of India on the

third of May, the date Phalke first screened his indigenous Indian film Raja

Harishchandra at Bombay’s Coronation Cinematograph in 1913.


The Rise of Bombay Cinema

In a nation that’s home to a sixth of the global population, and has a culturolinguistic

diversity equal to that of Europe, where each of the twenty-eight

Indian states enjoy an ethno-religious regional identity as distinct—yet

overlapping—as the communities within Asia, of one moviemaking center

to emerge as a national cinema is one of the most intriguing industrial success

stories of the modern era. Bombay may be known as Mumbai today, but

the rise and consolidation of its movie industry as the most-watched cinema

across the Indian subcontinent and beyond—and the most influential film

industry, after Hollywood—is a story that Bollywood has never told. Indeed, it

must be experienced to believe.


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Why Mughal-e-Azam will never die

Did you know Nargis was to have played the Madhubala role, but opted out because she has reservations about working with Dilip Kumar?
Do you know how Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni came up with the words for the immortal Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya?


IMAGE: Dilip Kumar, who played Prince Salim, and Madhubala, who played Anarkali, in Mughal-e-Azam.

Classics never die. They are immortal.

And so 1960's Mughal-e-Azam lives on, and still carries a lot of interest.

Bhopal-based author, poet and journalist Rajkumar Keswani has now decided to enrich our knowledge more about the K Asif film by releasing a book on it, Dastan-e-Mughal-e-Azam.

There was so much that went into the making of the film that younger generations don't know about, and Keswani brings all that to the fore.

"Since Nargis had reservations about working with Dilip Kumar, she refused to be the Anarkali of this new Prince Salim. Thus, Madhubala came to replace her," Keswani tells strong>Syed Firdaus Ashraf/


In 2004, four films were released during Diwali: Veer-Zara, Aitbaar, Naach and the colourised version of Mughal-e-Azam.
In spite of tough competition, it was the Dilip Kumar-Madhubala love story that did well at the box office.
And now, you are coming out with a book on the film. Do you feel Mughal-e-Azam will find takers in contemporary India?

The original Mughal-e-Azam released on August 5,1960 and the colour version in 2004.

You acknowledge that it did well at the box office, 44 years later, with almost the third generation from its original release.

It hasn't lost an iota of charm.

Certain things, you would agree, in this world are forever. Mughal-e-Azam is one such creation.

The grand success of the recent play Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical, based on the movie, emboldens me to make such a claim.


IMAGE: Prithviraj Kapoor, who played Emperor Akbar, and Dilip Kumar in Mughal-e-Azam.

What is it that appeals you as an author about Mughal-e-Azam? Can you share your experience when you watched the film for the first time?

Without hesitation, the maker of the movie: K Asif.

He, as a maker, ensured that every aspect of the movie is compatible with the other.

Writers gave the best of chiseled words as dialogues and actors brought these words to life.

If you look at this the other way round, these dialogues made the actors look better, feel better and perform better.

Look at the music. Each and every song takes the story forward.

It worked like colour in the original black and white movie.

The voice of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, representing the legendary Tansen, creates a world lost in time.

Applaud the vision of K Asif, who replaced dialogues with background singing for the great love scene between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala.

How can you forget the sets and the camera, working like a magic wand and creating the required ambience at the director's indications?


There are books on Mughal-e-Azam already. Why did you think of writing another one on it?

Well, I would say look at history.

Nearly half a dozen films were made on the same story, like Imtiaz Ali Taj's Anarkali in 1922. But that did not deter Asifsaab to retract from his decision to make Mughal-e-Azam on the similar story.

Can you tell us about Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's love story while making Mughal-e-Azam? The film took nine years to make. What was their relationship like during this time?

I am afraid that is going to be a long answer.

The affair had started on the sets of the 1951 movie Tarana.

They worked as a pair in Sangdil (1952) and Amar(1954) too.

This relationship, however, was unacceptable to Madhubala's father, Attaullah Khan.

There are several theories behind the disapproval of this alliance.

To Madhubala, her father was the Supreme Being in her life. She would not cross the line set by him.

This always remained an issue between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala.

And then came the final blow.

Madhubala was signed by B R Chopra opposite Dilip Kumar for his venture Naya Daur(1956).

The script required an outdoor location for the shoot.

Budhni, a small village near Bhopal, was chosen for the purpose.

The tough Pathan, Attaullah Khan, was not prepared to allow Madhu to be with Yusuf (Dilip Kumar) for such a long time without his surveillance. He wanted Chopra to erect a village set in a studio, which was totally unacceptable to the maker.

This dispute took an ugly turn, when Chopra replaced Madhu with Vyjayanthimala. He did this with an announcement in a newspaper ad.

The ad showed a cross mark on Madhubala's photograph and the smiling face of the new heroine in her place.

This insulting ad angered the Pathan beyond rapprochement.

He refused to return the signing amount of Rs 30,000 to B R Chopra. Hence, Chopra filed a court case for the recovery of his money.

During the hearing of the case, Dilip Kumar sided with Chopra and even called Attaullah Khan a 'dictator'.

The exchange of accusations between the two love birds in an open court destroyed everything.

However, as true professionals, they carried on with the shooting of Mughal-e-Azam.

The other reason, unexplained in those years, was the heart ailment of Madhubala. It was kept as a closely guarded secret in the family for the fear of losing new film offers.


Why did K Asif take so many years to make a film?
What was he like a director?
Was the delay because he gave a lot of attention to detail?

More than a director, Asif was a dreamer.

He wanted to recreate those dreams on the sets of a studio -- the deserts of Arabia or whatever it was.

He was quite uncompromising on this.

The shooting was halted several times for something authentic and the financier was unwilling to spend. These hassles would create the reasons for delay.

A lot is written about the sets of Mughal-e-Azam, especially where the song Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya was shot. Is it true people were in tears when they dismantled Mughal-e-Azam sets?

No idea about tears, but yes, the very thought of demolition of such a beautiful creation itches my heart even on this day.

It was created at the Mohan Studio.

Let me share an interesting story related to this Sheesh Mahal. Some pillars and a few other things were borrowed by Guru Dutt for his film Chaudhavin Ka Chand. Both films released in 1960.

Filmfare (awards) ignored Mughal-e-Azam and Chaudhavin Ka Chand was given the award for Best Art Direction.


The phrase Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, written by lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, is the soul of any love story. Can you tell us how it originated?

This song proved to be a severe test for veteran poet Shakeel Badayuni.

Burning the midnight oil, the team of Naushad and Shakeel would go on writing the opening mukhda after mukhda of the song, without any satisfaction.

Naushad, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, suddenly remembered a folk song he heard as a child -- Prem kiya ka chori kari.

That cracked the puzzle for the team as to how to make Anarkali's open declaration of love for Prince Salim.

Shakeel Badayuni made it: 'Pyar kiya to darna kya, pyar kiya koi chori nahin ki, chhup aahen bharna kya.'Mughal-E-Azam

How did K Asif convince businessmen Shapoorji Pallonji to invest Rs 1 crore to make Mughal-e-Azam?

At the outset, let me clarify that on Day One, it was not a one crore project.

As the film progressed, the budget kept increasing and reaching the one crore mark.

Why did he put in the money? That's a long story, and I have narrated it in full detail in the book.

In short, I can tell you that he (Pallonji) was impressed by K Asif and his way of convincing him.


Is it true that Shapoorji Pallonji was impressed with Akbar and that's why he put in the money?

Yes. Emperor Akbar was his favourite character from history.

To make the things a little easier for Asif, he was a great fan of Prithviraj Kapoor too.

Shapoorji was a regular at the Prithvi theatre shows held at theRoyal Opera House in those years.

Also, give some credit to Asif's skill in story narration, applauded by no less than the literary giant of our times: Manto.

Was there any tension between producer and director as the film took so long to make?

There was tension between them only when there was an issue of increase in the film's budget.

Otherwise, Shapoorji was a great fan of Asif and loved him like a son.

One more reason for the prolonged shooting of the movie is that it was made in three languages -- Hindustani, Tamil and English -- simultaneously.


What is in Mughal-e-Azam that you want younger generations to know?

To be honest, I have not put in 15 years in writing the book just to tell the young generation of Indians what they must know.

It was my passion which would not allow me to rest with the information available about the movie and its maker.

The more I dug, the more interested I got. It went on like a mad man's quest for his beloved.

One day, the realisation dawned upon me that I have amassed a lot of information not only about the maker and his movie, but also about everyone else involved in it. That's when I decided to share it with everyone.

The result is this book Dastan-e-Mughal-e-Azam.

As regards the younger generation, I tend to believe that they are very much in love with the movie, even without my book. If the book can help them know, rather realise, how the impossible tasks were accomplished, I should be a happy man.


Is it true that the original Anarakali was to be Nargis? Why was she replaced by Madhubala? I believe it was because of Partition of India that the original Mughal-e-Azam was shelved.

Yes. Nargis was the original Anarkali.

K Asif had launched the movie Mughal-e-Azam in 1945.

His star cast then was Chandramohan, Nargis, Sapru and Veena. This one was produced by Shiraz Ali Hakim.

Almost one third of the shoot was completed when came the Partition of 1947.

Shiraz Ali Hakim, a great supporter of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was left with no other option but to leave for Pakistan. He left behind an incomplete cine building at Mahalaxmi, his production company and a chain of studios, all by the name Famous.

This huge setback could have been a destroyer of any other maker, but K Asif.

He pursued his long cherished dream to the hilt and made it possible with a new star cast and new set up.

Since Nargis had reservations about working with Dilip Kumar, she refused to be the Anarkali of this new Prince Salim. Thus, Madhubala came to replace her.

Though I am cutting short a long story with this sentence.

K Asif lived 11 years after Mughal-e-Azam, which was his last film. Why did he take so long to make Love & God, which remained incomplete?
Was he disillusioned in the last days of his life?
Did he get his due as a film-maker?

Perfection, they say, is unattainable but Asif was one, who refused the theory and defied it to prove his passion right.

Love & God was another long journey of patience and perseverance for him.

The sudden death of Guru Dutt, his hero in the movie, was the first roadblock.

He gave it up for a while since he wasn't able to find a suitable actor to play his Majnu.

He discovered Sanjeev Kumar when he was shooting another movie, Sasta Khoon Mahnga Paani.

He immediately shelved Sasta Khoon to restart his pet project Love & God with Sanjeev Kumar.

Earlier, he was short of money, which was somehow organised. But then he fell short of his life, and there was no option to organise that.


Print this article


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Here are some surviving programmes with my reviews Sherlock HolmesFabian of the Yard The Big Man Third Man Zero One Scotland Yard Edgar Wallace . . Studio Series Colonel March Martin Kane Dial 999 International Detective Crime Club The Pursuers Mark Saber Man from InterpolThe Cheaters Charlie Chan The Invisible Man 4 Just Men Interpol Calling Danger Man African Patrol Stryker of the Yard Inspector Morley 1960's Filmed Series

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A contemporary report: "well constructed with occasional good characterisations, but 50 minutes is too long for cameos held together by gimmicks. Above all, this lacked suspense. The script claims "no attempt at reality," and in this it succeeded, but I couldn't help feeling the writer was emulating The Avengers- unfortunately without the slickness and punch which makes the absurd seem real. There was talk about cricket, the upper classes, and patriotic symbolism laid on two inches thick. Scott's poem that ends "...unwept, unhonoured and unsung," was intoned, couplet by couplet from each member of a vast assembly of actors who appeared at first to have been on loan from Madame Tussauds. Clive Morton gave a polished account of Sir Wilfred Templar, chairman of a cosmetic firm whose fate depended on the ownership of one share. Gary Cockrell as Scrotty, a dubious private eye who operates from a dingy office with dustbins (off), and a blown up photo of Humphrey Bogart on his wall, gave cool depth to his performance. Elizabeth Shepherd as Syrie van Epp, the arch villainess who is after that share, breathed enchantingly down her victim's neck. But with lines like, "I've always been a bit of a hoarder," to which her assistant replied, "there's one syllable too many in that sentence," there wasn't much scope. Two policemen identically dressed in raincoat and trilby, looking like twin Max Millers, cavorted in and out of the CID office. I thought they were going to break into a dance routine at any moment. Director David Boisseau handled his super colossal cast expertly, and all things considered, kept up the pace reasonably well. In fact, here lies the perfect example of how a good director can gloss over a script's shortcomings- but what a waste of talent!" Picture Question: Identify this studio made series. Roland Culver, the star of this story is on the right. Here's the answer

Main menu





Stryker of The Yard

These were cinema second features made by Republic at Nettlefold Studios in 1953/4. The star was Clifford Evans who played Chief Inspector Robert Stryker, and his assistant was the genial George Woodbridge. Narrator was ex policeman Tom Fallon, who went on to be adviser on Dial 999. ITV bought the films and screened them in the 1960's.
My reviews of 3 The Case of Canary Jones, 8 The Case of The Black Falcon, 9 The Case of The Bogus Count
Details of the thirteen 35 minute stories:
1 The Case of The Studio Payroll (Cinema release date, with #2, Jan 18th 1954)- with Jack Watling and Susan Stephen. An unpremeditated crime on the part of a young man who takes �10,000.
2 The Case of Uncle Henry- with Elliot Makeham, Edwin Richfield and Desmond Llewelyn. The story of an old man whose good heart leads him to steal cash to help others.
3 The Case of Canary Jones- with Patricia Burke, Belinda Lee, Peter Hammond, and Bruce Seton.
4 The Case of Gracie Budd- The sad tale of seventeen year old blonde and petite Gracie, a typical juvenile delinquent whose parents were killed in the war. With no loving hands to guide her, the lure of easy money leads her into bad company.
5 The Case of Soho Red- with Sebastian Cabot and Esma Cannon. Stryker investigates The Kataro Marriage Bureau in London. Kathy O'Hara, a lovely orphaned Irish girl, had answered one of their advertisements. The boss had embarked on an evil plan, after reading her letter which gave her complete financial details.
6 The Case of The Burnt Alibi- with Joss Ambler, John Chandos and Avis Scott. Written by Lester Powell. Directed by Arthur Crabtree. An explosion in a deserted barn- and Stryker finds the charred remains of an unidentified man.
7 The Case of the Two Brothers- (Cinema release, 1954 with #8 as 'Companions in Crime.') with Maurice Kaufmann and Kenneth Haigh. Also in cast- Gaylord Cavallaro, Ian Fleming, Jack Lambert, Fred Griffiths, Russell Napier, Billie Whitelaw, Christine Silver, Patrick Jordan, Gillian Lutyens, Cyril Chamberlain. Arnold helps his young brother to find a job with a haulage company. But John Kendall (KH) soon realises the company is just a cover for a more sinister business, and he is framed for the murder of his employer. Sentenced to prison for ten years, he escapes from a working party on the moors, determined to bring the killer to justice
8 The Case of The Black Falcon- with Tim Turner, Dorothy Alison, David Perrin, Guy Deghy, Elliot Makeham and Philo Hauser.
9 The Case of the Bogus Count- with Elwyn Brooke-Jones, Harold Lang, Kenneth Haig, Leonard Sachs, Eunice Gayson and also Anthony Newley.
10 The Case of The Express Delivery- with Sandra Dorne, a bad time girl who leads astray a once reliable mechanic Wally Ross.
11 The Case of Diamond Annie- with Hugh Moxey, and Marjorie Rhodes in the title role. Also with Vida Hope, Harold Lang and Peter Swanwick. Inspector Susan Bond starts work as a shoplifter in order to help Stryker catch Diamond Annie who runs a junk shop, where stolen goods are bought and sold
12 The Case of the Pearl Payroll- with Mary Merrall, Joan Newell and Russell Waters. Written by Lester Powell. Directed by Arthur Crabtree. Stryker chases a gang of bank robbers- and the final showdown comes in a lonely warehouse....
13 The Case of the Second Shot- with Irene Handl. To pay for his wife's medical treatment, Joe turns to crime.
Crime Menu






The Case of Canary Jones

Anita (Patricia Burke) is known professionally as Canary Jones, singer at the Cafe Colombo, run by the manager (Bruce Seton), who is in love with her. But she has another admirer in Jack (Harold Goodwin), plus another, Henry, both of whom get the brush off.
Undercover policeman (Peter Hammond) chats to her before she leaves the club after her act. He is enjoying his time here with hostess Lola (Belinda Lee).
Anita reaches her flat, but an intruder shoots her dead. The gunshot brings our policeman and Lola to the scene. Hurriedly they lock the door on the porter. He summons the police, and Inspector Stryker investigates. The gun by the corpse is an obvious clue. He questions Jack, then the manager, and search is made for the missing policeman.
The manager accuses Jack of the killing, and gets him arrested, though he protests his innocence.
Lola has taken our policeman to Morley Mansions, where Henry lives. Inside, he is busy destroying his love letters to Anita. But police spot the fugitive and it is left to Lola to confront Henry alone. As they talk, he is shot dead. Lola runs away, the murderer in pursuit, closely followed by the police. Shots are fired, and a struggle over a ledge before an arrest is made.
Lola sings while Stryker celebrates at the club

Stryker of the Yard Menu
















The Case of The Black Falcon
Interpol requests the help of Scotland Yard in tracing diamond smuggler Gustave Clement, who has eluded police after a chase.
A hulking man (Guy Deghy) approaches the owner of The Black Falcon boat, Philip Marsden (Tim Turner), who is short of money. That night Marsden makes for France leaving behind his worried wife Sheila and small son, who live near the River Thames.
At the rendezvous, a rowing boat brings Clement and his purse of diamonds to The Black Falcon. Having safely returned up the Thames, however, the crook does not hand the diamonds over to his boss, Sandford (Eliot Makeham). It's the double cross.
Inspector Stryker is pursuing his inquiries over the diamonds. Having interviewed Sandford in his wheelchair, he talks to Marsden, who does admit he had recently crossed the Channel. Yes, he had given a lift to someone, but he didn't know the man's identity. As he searches the boat, Stryker opens a cupboard, and out pops Clement's corpse! Marsden panics and runs away.
Stryker questions Mrs Marsden in her home. When he's gone, she takes some food to her husband who is hiding in a boatshed. Then she boards The Black Falcon and removes the purse of diamonds that Clement had secreted. Sandford's henchman however is watching her, and demands the diamonds. She runs off.
So the Marsden's son is taken captive, that's too much for Marsden and he fights with the crook boathooks flying everywhere, boats overturned. The struggle moves dangerously on to a bridge over a weir in the river. The watching Sandford shoots. But he hits his own man!
Stryker moves in to arrest Sandford, who neatly leaps from his wheelchair, out of his upper storey window. The story ends with some comedy from Sergeant Hawker (George Woodbridge) attempting to ride a very wobbly old bicycle
Stryker of the Yard Menu






The Case of the Bogus Count

Lew (Harold Lang) is a jewel thief working for Count Kudos who runs a night club. Singer Gerry Barnes goes undercover to work here and comes to blows with Lew over a hostess (Eunice Gayson).
Stryker questions Kudos and takes away his books for examination. But nothing is revealed.
Lew attempts a spot of blackmail, "�1,000 or else." Kudos with his two henchmen wait for Lew when he returns to his flat. He is duffed up and killed. Kudos and his men beat a hasty retreat, and Gerry is found by the corpse. The hostess helps him elude police. He searches Kudos' office but is caught there. Kudos shoots, but kills his own henchman. Next for a bullet is Gerry, but Stryker arrives in the nick of time.
To finish Stryker and Hawker dine at the club, and Hawker gets to dance happily with Eunice Gayson

Stryker of the Yard Menu


















Fabian of the Yard (made in 1954 and 1955)

with Bruce Seton as "one of England's greatest detectives." Remarks one character of him: "I never saw such a single-minded man in all my days."
4 Bombs in Piccadilly 9 Brides of the Fire 11 Nell Gwynn's Tear 19 The Executioner 24 Robbery in the Museum 37 Moral Murder
An archive in Canada holds prints of many of this series, and it really is past time for some enterprising business to release it on to dvd. It's no masterpiece, but it does have the distinction of being the first British made filmed crime series shown in Britain.

The book Fabian of the Yard, published in 1955, described cases of the great Fabian, though it's unclear whether all cases described in this, were ever filmed. At the end of each episode, the real Inspector Robert Fabian adds an epilogue to provide a touch of authenticity.

The series was made by independent producer Charles Wick, and shown on BBC Television, starting in 1954.
A splendid five minute tribute to the series was shown in C4's TV Heaven in the 1990s, with Shaw Taylor linking clips from the series, included were scenes from 26 Hand of Terror, and 29 The Jade Blade.

Picture: #9 with Michael Shepley (left)

Here are cast lists and synopses of many of the stories.
Crime Menu








FABIAN OF THE YARD - Episode Details (incomplete)
For the cast lists and synopses, I am extremely indebted to Jean-Claude Michel who has gathered this data.
The series was screened on the BBC in 1954-6, with episodes repeated later in the decade.
Fabian of the Yard
This is a cinema compilation (Bombs in Piccadilly, The Actress and the Kidnap, Death on the Portsmouth Road).
Handcuffs, London
This was a second compilation of three stories, one of which was Nell Gwynn's Tear.

1 The Extra Bullet (Saturday November 13th 1954 8.45pm, first repeated Monday April 4th 1955, 3pm)
A murderer made the mistake of firing an extra bullet at the time of the crime, providing Fabian with a clue to a double murder. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Michael Kelly (sergeant) Donald Eccles (ballistics expert) Gordon Bell (police surgeon) Jane Barrett (Mona Proudly) Melissa Stribling (Vera Proudly) Michael Alexander (Arthur Carlton) Isabel Dean (Mrs. Regis) Elsie Wagstaff (Mrs. Wilkins)
2 The Unwanted Man (Nov 20th 1054)
A gypsy provides a clue to the year-old murder of an unrecognisable corpse found in the Thames. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergeant) Frank Sieman (police superintendant) Philip Lennard (forgery expert) Jack Melford (wood expert) Ursula Howells (Ellie Stafford) David Oxley (Dan Stafford) Gwen Bacon (Aunt Bess)
3 The Skeleton in the Closet aka The Skeleton in the Cupboard
The discovery of a skeleton walled up in a closet brings to light a murder that may have been committed a century ago. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Genine Grahame (Rose Pool) Sylvia Marriott (Mollie Boldero) Peter Dyneley (Captain Pool) Edmund Willard (Colonel Ledbetter) Ewen Solon (Elstead) Allan Jeayes (Hagben) Gordon Bell (pathologist)
4 Bombs in Piccadilly (this was one of the pilots that were made)
London is terrorized by a gang of fanatical bombers. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Ann Hanlip (Policewoman Wetherby) Richard Pearson (Sergeant MacKenzie) Jack Crowley (Paxton, first terrorist) James Raglan (Assistant Commissioner) Reg Hearne (Charlie)
5 Death on the Portsmouth Road aka The Wrotham Hill Murder
A lorry driver strangles a hitchhiker.
6 The Actress and the Kidnap Racket aka The Snatch Racket aka Four A.M. Phone Call (Dec 18th 1954)
Unless �250 in notes are left in a telephone directory, Benny threatens to kidnap the son of an actress. He collects the cash from a kiosk and speeds away in a taxi, not knowing Fabian is hiding in it. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Sarah Churchill (the actress) Victor Maddern (Chick) Margaret Boyd (Nanny)
7 Against the Evidence (Saturday Jan 8th 1955, 8.15pm)
A necklace is stolen from a jewellery shop and an innocent customer is accused of the crime. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Richard Warner (detective sergeant) Peter Copley (Brownlove and Audley) Stuart Saunders (Heathrow) Betty Cooper (Mrs. Brownlove) Wilfred Caithness (Dr. Cardwell) Nicolas Tannar (Pinkley) Toke Townley (Popes) James Thomason (Minlane) Philip Lennard (forgery expert)
8 Murder in Soho aka The Antiquis Murder
Fabian tracks down three hoodlums who run down a motorcyclist Alec de Antqiuis who had attempted to stop them as they fled from their jewel robbery. They shoot him, but they leave behind a raincoat, which Fabian is able to trace back to them. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Ian Whittaker (Cox) Lew Harris (Coker) Eric Corrie (Turner) and Graham Ashley (Spicer)
9 The Brides of Fire aka Brides of the Fire
Three women have died in allegedly accidental fires. They all had the same husband. Now he is courting another lady. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Stephen Vercoe (Robert Morley) Shirley Cooklin (Peggy Drayton) Michael Shepley (Mr. Thrale) Arnold Diamond (Inspector Kelson) Sheila Burrell (Helen Russell) Hugh Munroe (Andrews) Cicely Paget-Bowman (Mrs. Dove) Lillemor Knudsen (Lois Russell)
10 The Troubled Wife
A bank manager claims he shot a burglar in self-defence but his wife tells a different story. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (Detective Sergeant Sims - or Wyatt ?) Trevor Reid (George Hubble, the bank manager) Sylvia Marriott (Kate Hubble) Betty MacDowell (Sara Milne) Gordon Bell (pathologist) Victor Adams (policeman) Michael Kelly (detective sergeant)
11 Nell Gwynn's Tear
Scotland Yard is called to investigate a report that a famous diamond on exhibition is a fake. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Isabel Dean (Doris Tedford) Kathleen Byron (Janet Tedford) Alexander Gauge (Bardwell) Noel Howlett (Jeremiah Rugeley) Jack Melford (expert)
12 The Vanishing Cat (rpt Nov 14th 1955, 4.15pm)
A newspaper ad is used to recruit a cat burglar into a crime syndicate. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Jean Ireland (Monica Ridley) Tim Turner (James Ridley) Ruth Gower (robbed woman) Robert Sydney (Yard expert)
13 Written in the Dust
A psychopathic housemaid responsible for many murders has gone to London - to buy poison for her next victims. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Edwin Richfield (sergeant) Noel Dyson (Cora) Mary Kenton (Mrs. Apsley) Margaret McCourt (Ellen) John Boxer (micrologist) Patrick Boxill (Mr. Throgget) Helen Hurst (chemist's assistant) Charles Mortimer (Mr. Wimpole)
14 The Purple Mouse
Fabian investigates the case of a wealthy dowager who was committed to a mental institution - for seeing a non-existent mouse. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (detective sergeant) Colette Wilde (Lily Ransome) Cecily Paget-Bowman (Tessa Oakman) Seymour Green (Dr. Horn) Gladys Boot (Mrs. Ransome) Roy Dean (Eddie Carmen) Max Brimmell (pathologist)
15 The King's Hat
A rare coin provides the only clue to a mysterious archer's attacks on tourists visiting a 15th-century castle. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Dorinda Stevens (Lady Edith Garvam) Derek Aylward (Sir Michael Garvam) Michael Craig (Roger Garvam) Alexander Gauge (Nicholas Bardwell) C. Denier Warren (Robert Meekers) Noel Howlett (Jeremiah Rugeley) Jack Melford (expert) Charles Lepper (Edmund Burrows) Ian Fleming (Sir Digby Button)
16 Little Girl
An unknown woman's face powder is the only clue to a private secretary's murder. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Gillian Maude (Rita) Peter Stanwick (Vale) Arthur Howard (Trew) Mary Jones (Ruth) Gordon Morrison (Baines)
17 The Coward
Did a young student try to commit suicide by poison or is she the victim of attempted murder? Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Barry Lowe (Andy Wagner) Jill Raymond (Frieda Barnes) Anthony Rea (Ed Seddon) Ann Stephens (Sylvia Parker) Betty Cooper (Mrs. Wagner) John Boxer (pathologist) Paul Daneman (doctor)
18 Lost Boy
Fabian investigates the Edwardians, a gang of juvenile delinquents on a rampage. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Ian Whittaker (Ginger) Sheldon Allen (Nobby)
19 The Executioner (Wednesday April 6th 1955, 8.15pm, rpt Apr 23rd 1956)
London is terrified by a mysterious killer who murders people in their bathtubs. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (detective sergeant) Peter Swannick (Mr. Porter) Elspet Gray (Marian Courtland) Noel Howlett (vicar) William Abney (Jim Keyes) Tottie Truman Taylor (Miss Langley, schoolmistress) Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Boody) Geoffrey Denys (doctor) Peter Cellier (uncredited, as an expert at the Yard)
20 The Poison Machine (rpt Mar 26th 1956, 7.30pm)
In London, poison-pen letters drive one man to insanity and another to attempted murder. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Patricia Driscoll (Agatha) Richard Gale (Peter Lancefort) Brenda Hogan (Deborah) John Salew (Mr. Pontifex) Nicolas Tannar (Mr. Kinney) Alan Rolfe (police superintendent) Jack Melford (typewriter expert)
21 The Golden Peacock
A young dock worker is suspected of murdering a beautiful French dancer. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Kieron Moore (dock worker) Pascale (French dancer) John Gabriel (night-club owner) June Rodney (girl) Martin Boddey (police surgeon) Basil Lord, and Wensley Pithey
22 The Lover's Knot
Love letters may be the death of a salesman - who's suspected of murdering his wife. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergeant) Thomas Heathcote (Selby) Shelagh Fraser (Emma Horton) Jessica Dunning (Mrs. Addison) Douglas Muir (doctor) Larry Cross (Fleddon) Jennifer Browne (waitress) John Boxer (laboratory expert) Martin Boddey (graphologist) George Woodbrige (supervisor)
23 The Man from Blackpool
Victims of a gambling syndicate are taught the virtue of silence - by acid-throwing teachers. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Elspet Gray (Lady Jane Shaw) Alexander Gauge (Harry Disbrow) John Trevor (Hon. Victor Leggett) John Orchard (Big Fred)
24 Robbery in the Museum
Fabian searches for a poor young poet who has stolen jewels from a London museum. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Ian Sampson (superintendent Forbes) Emris Leyshon (Masters) Josephine Griffin (Mrs. Masters) Charles Lloyd Pack (Prof. Wynn Jones, the curator) John Stuart (Jarvis) Jacqueline Con (child) Menhardt Mauer (Dutchy) Charles Wade (Nick)
25 Deadly Pocket Handkerchief
Police seek a thief who chloroforms and robs women on the streets of London. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Richard Pearson (MacKenzie) Dagmar Wynter (Susan) Fanny Carby (Mary) Brian Haines (Quailes)
26 Hand of Terror (Wednesday May 28th 1955, 7.45pm, rpt Aug 17th 1955)
A politician's fear of scandal prevents him from taking action when his wife is kidnapped by an escaped convict. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Colette Wilde (Cynthia Barker) Arthur Young (Mr. Barker) Michael Craig (Ted Enfield) Patrick Westwood (Larry Redman) James Gilbert (expert) Betty Cooper (Mrs. Barker) Allan Jones (Reedy) Christina Forrest (BOAC clerk) Jessica Cairns (maid)
27 Pinpoint Signature
Five men are suspected of terrorizing an actress. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Jean Ireland (Edna Kent) Madge Brindley (Mrs. Daisy) Maurice Kaufman (Jerry Strong) Allen Sheldon (Arthur Flagg) Harry Fine (Bill Beckford) Jack Melford (expert) Max Brimmell (psychiatrist)
28 Innocent Victims (June 8th 1955, 8.15pm)
Fabian investigates the involvement of two teachers in a theft that seems to be an inside job. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Dorothy Allison (Mary Walton) Arthur Howard (Jim Graham) Philip Ray (Dr. Walton) Joan Newell (Mrs. Mortlake) Robert Sandford (Peter) Victor Wood (expert)
29 The Jade Blade
The mysterious death of a young Chinese man is linked to an ancient law that sometimes justifies murder. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Reginald Hearne (detective sergeant) Alan Tilvern (Sen Shan) Betty MacDowall (Mary Soong) Martin Boddey (Fat Harry) Wanda Balcon (Lotus Yung) Charles Mortimer (Professor Hughes)
30 April Fool (June 22nd 1955, 7.45pm)
Four people are implicated in a puzzling April fool joke - the near- fatal shooting of a man. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Betty McDowall (Angela Hollis) Garard Green (Major Randall) Jean Wilkinson (Barbara James) William Mervyn (Ronald James) Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Flinge) Gaylord Cavallaro (Jack Hollis) Jack Melford (ballistics expert) Elaine Dundy (chorus girl)
31 No Alibi (the series returned after a break with this story on Saturday Nov 12th 1955 3.45pm. Repeated Fri March 8th 1957, 3.15pm)
The murder of a fashion model is linked to a man with a good alibi - he is serving a prison sentence. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Robert Raglan (det sgt Wyatt) Sylvia Marriott (Mary Sedney) Tim Turner (Bill Jaggers) Myrtle Reed (Miss Janes) Patrick Connor (Madden) James Raglan (prison governor) John Boxer (pathologist) Dermot McMahon (Dalton)
32 Escort for Death aka Escort to Death (rpt Sept 6th 1956)
Three people are marked for death when one of them discovers a state secret in a foreign embassy's code room. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Colette Wilde (Silvara) Gerard Heinz (ambassador) Alan Tilvern (Carlac) Cecile Chevreau (Teresa) Kenneth Edwards (Carter)
33 The Sixth Dagger (Nov 26th 1955)
The works of Shakespeare are linked to five mysterious stabbings - all committed with the same dagger. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergeant) James Drake (city sergeant) Avice Landone (Amanda Malloy) Kenneth Griffiths (Heywood) Michael McKeog (student) Roddy Hughes (pawnbroker) Jack Melford (metal expert) Lloyd Lamble (Dr. Brighton) Martin Boddey (graphologist) Max Brimmell (psychiatrist)
34 The Ribbon Trap (Tues Jan 17th 1956, 9.30pm)
Fabian pursues an elusive gang of railway freight-yard thieves. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergent) George Woodbridge (supervisor) Valerie Jene (Julie) Patrick Jordan (Sandy Evans) Marjorie Stewart (Mrs. Manners) Margot Van Der Burgh (Madame Amata) Frederick Piper (railway foreman) John Witty (map expert)
35 Cocktail Girl (Mon Jan 30th 1956, 7.30pm)
Fabian defends a prominent businessman accused of murder. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergeant) Kathleen Byron (Helen Kervan) Ewan Roberts (Galney) Wensley Pithey (Jerry Watson) Conrad Phillips (Raynel) Jack Melford (wood expert) Frank Forsyth (museum custodian)
36 The Masterpiece (Tues Feb 6th 1956, 7.30pm)
Scotland Yard sets a trap for a master counterfeiter-turned- kidnapper. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Philip Dale (detective sergeant) Anna Turner (Kitty Penley) Antoinette Cellier (Magda) Ivan Craig (Bateman) John Cazabon (chemist) Patrick MacJordan, Frank Forsyth (museum custodian) John Witty (map expert) John Boxer (laboratory expert) George Woodbridge (supervisor) David Yates (radio operator)

Synopses of other stories.
No transmission dates on the BBC, it is possible that they may have been screened as alternatives to the scheduled programme.
37 Moral Murder aka Blackmail
A rich businessman, a candidate for Parliament, confides to Fabian that he is being blackmailed. He is becoming desperate. Fabian lays a trap for the blackmailer in the lounge of an hotel. The brain behind the crime turns out to be an actor. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Tod Slaughter (Palmer) Hugh Latimer (Mitchell) Richard Pearson (MacKenzie) Marjorie Stewart (Mrs. Mitchell) Harry Lane (Lester) Al Burnett (Club Manager)
38 The Witches of Wednesday
Superstitious villagers are led to believe that a doctor's housekeeper is a witch. Cast: Bruce Seton (Fabian) Renee Goddard (Trudi) John Boxer (Lomas) Keith Davies (Reg) Daphne Maddox (Sybil) Gladys Boot (Miss Isles)
39 One Way of Learning the Charleston
Fabian arrests a dancing instructor who robs the wallets of his clients.
40 The Black Butterfly
A nightclub singer is murdered. Her sister identifies the killer from a picture in the Scotland Yard files.
41 The Beer Bottle Murder
A thief in a hotel leaves a suitcase full of beer bottles, a sufficient clue for Fabian to catch him.
42 Marita and the Count
The daughter of an American millionaire elopes with a foreign count, but Fabian stops the wedding.when he proves he is a con man.
43 Celluloid Alf
Fabian tracks down a series of thefts in Chelsea flats to the commissionaire.

The final two episodes on this list were found in a 2005 archive. They may be alternative titles. One other unknown story was in this archive: 44 The Samba Case.

That is a list of 44 stories. As five pilots were made, a series of 39 films is quite likely a number- but this is informed speculation.

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Bombs in Piccadilly
At times this pilot is almost a silent film, with reliance on narration rather overdone.
It begins with Inspector Fabian at Pepper's Bottle Room being presented with a medal by 'the boys.' This story explains why.

Outside a cigar shop in Piccadilly Circus, a terrorist plants some sticks of dynamite. There's an explosion and Fabian and his assistant Sergeant MacKenzie are soon sifting through the debris. In the rubble Fabian uncovers a parcel "ready to go off now." Gingerly he puts it down, and with a bystander Charlie happily at his elbow, the inspector defuses the bomb himself. But more bombs follow and some explode, twenty innocent people injured.
A phone call from fanatics demands World Peace or perversely London will face more bombs. Fabian gets a lucky break when he spots a known terrorist Carl Paxton in the street, and the man is followed, past a playground with young children, before Paxton senses he's being followed and manages to shake Fabian off.
A nark, Frankie (probably uncredited Robert Raglan) informs the police that Paxton's men have been meeting in a stable in Hoxton. Police swoop on the building in Nunnery Lane, but the terrorists have cleared out. However in a smouldering fire, Fabian pulls out a charred piece of paper, which is sent to the lab.
Another tip leads him to a bombed out house. "I'll kill to stop war," is how Paxton explains his misguided philosophy to Fabian. Again Paxton eludes the police.
The charred paper shows Harry's Cafe is the meeting place for the gang. PC Wetherby ("I can look after myself"- Ann Haslip sic) goes undercover to the cramped cafe in Soho to keep an eye on Harry (Howard Lang, not credited). There she is picked up by the bombers and learns some useful secrets, which she can then phone through to Fabian.
Unarmed police raid the addresses she has provided, and the villains are chased along a canal. They leap on a barge and there's a punchup on board the moving boat. Several splash into the water of course, though Paxton escapes, Fabian in hot pursuit, tackling him on a steep railway embankment.
At the conclusion Bob Fabian tells us his medal was inscribed "for bravery." The late King gave him a medal too

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Brides of the Fire

My review coming

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The Executioner

A bobby on the beat just misses spotting the Bath Tub Murderer (Peter Swannick), who has just executed his fifth murder in eighteen days, that of Andrew Haggerty.
What�s his motive? �Even a psycho has to have a motive.� Until Fabian and his assistant (Robert Raglan) can work that one out, the police are at a dead end.
Now we move to Jim and Marian (Elspet Gray). She was a friend of Andrew�s when they had been children. This is the link between all the murders. But the killer, Mr Porter, is confident he won�t be caught, as he confides to his late son Robert. He tells the photo of his boy that he now has only one to trace and then kill, Marian Courtland. And there in the parish magazine are details of her forthcoming wedding to James Keyes.
Fabian is getting warm as he questions teacher Miss Langley. She remembers the victims, and one of their friends Bobby Porter. Fabian even questions Bobby�s father, not yet suspecting him. Porter tells the detective that his son is currently working in Brazil.
Next, to the church, where the chatty vicar (Noel Howlett) recalls all the murdered people had years ago been involved in a tragedy whilst on a Sunday School picnic, during which a young lad was accidentally drowned. His name? Robert Porter. His father had, quite unfairly, held the youngsters to blame.
Along a dark street, The Executioner walks towards his victim�s rooms. �Robert�s giving a party,� he tells Marian. �You left Robert to die in the river.� He knocks her down. Then switches on the bath water. Just as he is dragging her into the bath, Fabian arrives. The two struggle, and just in time, Marian is saved from being The Executioner�s final victim.
Bob Fabian himself rounds off the story, reminding us that it was routine police work that solved this crime.
Note- appearing uncredited as an expert (�Peter�) at the Yard, is Peter Cellier

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Robbery in the Museum
Arising, Dracula-like, at dead of night from a coffin in the Egyptian Room of the Warwick Museum, a thief helps himself to uncut diamonds on display. �A very tired and frightened man,� poet Ken Masters (Emrys Leyshon) catches the bus home where his wife (Josephine Griffin) and young daughter Jane, penniless, await his return.
Fabian and his assistant Sgt Jim Jarvis (John Stone) work out �this joker did not break in.� Thus suspicion falls on members of staff, much to the disgust of the owner Wynn-Jones (a nice comedy cameo from Charles Lloyd Pack). The hiding place used, the sarcophagus, yields a clue- a piece of tweed fibre from an old coat. �You better find the owner,� is the rather obvious order Fabian is given by his superior, who tries some detective work of his own, not at all cleverly.
Fabian questions all the gem cutters in London without success until an informer Nick tells of a barmy fellow who spouts poetry, and who wears a rough tweed jacket.
To Bayswater, where Fabian poses as an unemployed person, where he spots his man at the Unemployment Exchange. Having learned where he lives, Fabian turns into a building inspector to search Masters� house. �My heart went out to Mrs Masters and the child,� when he sees the squalour in which they have to live. In the toilet cistern he finds the stones.
When did you last have a square meal?� he asks. He obliges by providing the family with a nice meal in a very chummy way.
Concludes the real Fabian �He wasn�t a criminal at heart.� His sentence was a light one. Fabian menu










Moral Murder
Made in 1954. Script: Max Kester. Director: Alfred Travers.

The first scene shows a man attempting to jump in front of a tube train. He is Walter Mitchell, a prospective MP.
In the dingy Stork Room, as an American singer renders the famous number from Pagliacci, Mitchell downs another drink, and is introduced to Robert Fabian. "I was a fool," he admits. He is being blackmailed and has to make his next payment at 4pm tomorrow.
Fabian suggests Mitchell changes the venue to the Imperial Palace Hotel, where he will deploy men to keep watch in the restaurant. After rehearsing what they will do, they watch and wait.
Enter the blackmailer, demanding �100. Fabian pounces. The man is an actor, John Palmer (Tod Slaughter) and is surprisingly calm under arrest. He is obviously merely a messenger boy for the real blackmailer.
This villain is tracked down. The star of a theatre production named Lester Davenport, After a struggle, he gets away from Fabian, "come back, the curtain's going up!" Along wet streets, past Trafagar Square and finally into Fabian's clutches.
Fabian himself informs us that Mitchell was known as Mr X at the trial, thus preserving his anonymity.

In the Fabian of the Yard book, this case is simply titled Blackmail. This story follows the general plot though some licence is taken with the detail. For instance in the book, Lester's arrest is in Bournemouth

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Nell Gwynn's Tear
At an exhibition of Royal and Historic Jewels at Pym Art Galleries, a visitor denounces the star attraction, Nell Gwynn's Tear, once presented by King Charles to Nell herself, as a fake.
She claims to possess the original, purchased from a Jeremiah Rugeley (Noel Howlett). The woman is Janet Tedford (Kathleen Byron), who lives with her sister Doris (Isabel Dean), who is a girl friend of Nicholas Bardwell (Alexander Gauge), who had authenticated the diamond as genuine when their late father had purchased it many years ago. Though Bardwell is an expert, he claims he hasn't seen this "exquisite" diamond since 1930, and anyway "it's too well known for agents to attempt to sell imitations under the counter."
Doris complains to Inspector Fabian about Bardwell, and entrusts him with her diamond, which is examined by an expert (Jack Melford). He declares it a fake, even though he values it at �10,000.
Fabian can see the sisters are trying "to take Bardwell to the cleaners," and Bardwell and Rugeley deny ever being involved with the sale of a fake. But in the latter's shop, Sgt Wyatt (Robert Raglan) finds machinery that will create forgeries: "a windfall for us," he smiles. It is indeed, for Bardwell's fingerprints are found on one fake, and that's the cue for Bardwell to disappear, having succumbed to blackmail from Janet and Doris, to buy back the fake diamond.
However he sends a message that he will meet Fabian at his solicitor's, but gets nervy and runs off. Fabian gives chase and Bardwell takes refuge on a Thames pleasure cruise, but at Tower Pier, the "biggest art forger of modern times" is arrested: "the things of beauty that meant so much to him could never be his again"
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Adventures of the Big Man (1956)

starring Wayne Morris as Bill Pierce, a detective attached to a large London store.
Pamela Thomas played Bill's secretary Sheila in several stories.
This series was the new production from the makers of Fabian of the Yard (Charles Wick), but it proved to be an utter flop. Wayne Morris in the lead role might have US-appeal, but he was hardly a charismatic star.

16 stories were filmed and screened by BBC Television: 1 The Bomb (May 7th 1956), 2 The Amazon Bandit, 3 Baby Sitter, 4 The Runaways , 5 The Magenta Box, 6 Secret Enemy, 7 Rich Girl (June 26th 1956, 7.30pm), 8 The Gun Runners, 9 Say Hello (July 9th 1956), 10 Lady Killer (July 30th 1956), 11 The Thief (Aug 13th 1956), 12 The Door of Gold (Aug 20th 1956), 13 Edge of Darkness (Sept 3rd 1956), 14 The Frightened Angels (Sept 17th 1956), 15 The Accomplice (Sept 24th 1956), 16 The Smugglers (Oct 2nd 1956).

My review of a surviving story:
3 Baby Sitter (May 21st 1956, BBC). Directed by Charles Saunders.
Man With Hammer Attacks Housewife are the headlines after Mrs Alice Judson is knocked unconscious by an intruder. Jane Ramsden (Margaret McGrath), a buyer in the Infants department had been babysitting nearby for her sister Lois, and she notices the man. After newspaper publicity she gets scared she might be "silenced" and her fears are compounded when she's phoned at home and warned "you talk too much. If you don't learn to keep your mouth shut, you're not going to be around very long." But her boyfriend Harry (a young Nicholas Parsons) advises her not to start "imagining" things! But who could blame her for these fears when she receives a written note- I'm Watching You.
Bill Pierce is concerned for the store's valued employee and arranges a police tail for her. He and Inspector Gregg (John Harvey) visit Mr Albert Judson who's worried that he himself has no alibi for the time of the attack. Yet suspicion seems to fall on their handyman Fred Hall (Laurence James) who has done various odd jobs for the family in the past.
Now we meet Hall. His wife Doris (Helen Christie) suspects he's been up to something as he's in the money. He's been writing forged cheques, stolen from Mrs Judson, one of which Doris unwisely gets cashed at the store. Seeing the net closing after a visit from Bill, they realise there's only one thing to do, "leave town."
With Mrs Judson now dead, Bill chases after Fred Hall in an exciting chase in which Fred temporarily eludes capture by jumping on a number 14 bus. But Bill follows by taxi straight to Jane's room. Fred's sworn to silence her ("if it's the last thing I ever do...") but just as he's about to throttle the poor babysitter, Bill leaps to her rescue
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The Third Man with Michael Rennie as Harry Lime

The Beeb's most prolific, most awful filmed series. Jonathan Harris as Lime's right hand man Brad, was the only redeeming feature: "I am supposed to have an adding machine mind," he explained of his role, "and I guard Harry Lime and his business with complete devotion." Note * means an American made story 1* Confessions of an Honest Man
2* A Question of Price
3* Hollywood Incident
4* Death of an Overlord
5* Sparks from a Dead Fire
6* Trouble at Drill Hall
7* The Man Who Died Twice
8* The Angry Young Man
9* Dark Island
10* The Girl Who Didn't Know
11* The Third Medallion
12* Castle in Spain 14* Listen to the Sound of a Witch
16* A Pocketful of Sin
17* How To Buy a Country
18* As the Twig is Bent
19* Broken Strings
21 The Best Policy
22 One Kind Word
23 Three Dancing Turtles
26 Barcelona Passage
27 Collectors Item
29 High Finance
30 Toys of the Dead 31 The Man with Two Left Hands
32 The Man Who Wouldn't Talk
35 Experiment with Money
36 Harry Lime and the King
39 Death in Small Installments
40 A Question of Libel
41* Mishka
42* Cross of Candos
43* Happy Birthday
44* Queen of the Nile
45* Calculated Risk
47* Diamond in the Rough 48 King's Ransom
49 Hamburg Shakedown
50 Unexpected Mr Lime
52 Portrait of Harry Lime
53* Man in Power
54* Meeting of the Board
55* Hansel and Son
56* Act of Atonement
57* Ghost Town
58* The Gold Napoleons
60 The Way of McEagle
61* Who Killed Harry Lime? 62 A Question in Ice
63 I.O.U.
64 Crisis in Crocodiles
65* Judas Goat
66 A Little Knowledge
67* Day of the Bullfighter
69* The Big Kill
70* The Frame Up
71 House of Bon Bons
73* The Luck of Harry Lime
74 The Trial of Harry Lime
76/7 Members Only (last story) It's incredible that despite this series of 39 films of "mid Atlantic nothingness" proving a flop, a second series of 38 films was also made. A contemporary account was spot on, when it claimed, "Michael Rennie walks through these films like a man in a trance. He hardly permits himself to smile, he hardly opens his mouth to talk, and the only bit of action he allows himself to make is when he dodges a bullet.The trap the makers have fallen into is they haven't made up their minds whether their lead is a hero or villain. He is not black, he is not white. You cannot hate him. You cannot like him." Personally, I quickly got sick of him.
Some films were made in America, others in Britain. The first British series was made at Shepperton. Associate producer Bernard Coote claimed, "I have chosen technicians who are off-beat," but the shooting of these early British films was dogged by union disputes. After an enthusiastic reception marking the start of shooting of the British films at the Dorchester on 18th June 1959, production finally commenced on 6th July only for NATKE to stage a one day strike on 20th July, and ETU two days later. An overtime ban added to the acrimonious dispute. Original UK backroom staff included Fred Oughton (publicity), Douglas Barnett (sound camera), Peter Handford (sound mixer), Charles Wheeler (boom), Alan Harris (art director), Geoffrey Tozer (asst art director), Ted Brister (scenic artist), Peter Allwork (camera operator), Reg Wyer (director photography), Ray Hearne (stills), Richard Marden (editor), Roy Hyde (dubbing), J Workman (production manager), Jack Finberg (production secretary), Phil Leakey (make-up), Doreen Lewis (casting).
After various changes in personnel and working practices, shooting began in earnest in late August with An Offering of Pearls. The second series of British films saw production move to AB Elstree Studios. Producer Felix Jackson optimistically stated, "we hope the series will bring back the lost art of story telling." All that The Third Man did was to curtail what became the lost art of these joint US/UK ventures. Never again, in the black and white era were the two countries to embark on a joint tv venture.
Footnote- 1958 publicity suggested originally James Mason was to have played Harry Lime. I don't think it's recorded why he didn't do the series, though he was a very wise man.
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The Best Policy

The first British made story of this series starts at New York airport, with Harry and Brad booked on to Flight 920 to London. Harry however seems more interested in a posh lady and her poodle.
The sycophancy continues on the plane as Harry chats up the stewardess Susan, and even promises to remember her in his will. His mind wanders to the lady and the poodle. He tells Brad about how he first met her in Lucerne... Harry had been entrusted by a Viennese baron to bring his daughter Martha (Venetia Stevenson) to him. He'd not seen her for many years, but his interest in her seems to have revived now she is of age, and to inherit 8 million.
Harry finds her at the Hotel du Lac, and sort of kidnaps her, driving her back to her daddy. But she snatches the car keys and leaps out. Harry catches her and the two face a long trek through the snowy mountains. She is frightened, she says, though she never sounds it. Shelter is found in a well furnished but empty hut.
This not being the swinging sixties, all they do is reminisce over her past, Harry being remarkably perceptive when he tells her, "it doesn't sound like too happy a life," adding that he thinks her father "is a bad type."
Next day is her birthday. She isn't afraid now, help- I think she loves her kidnapper. She has the chance to get away when a visitor drops in, but she don't want to leave dear Harry. Must be mad. At least he realises he shouldn't have kidnapped her. But that realisation comes too late, for the Baron has found them. "You're very like your mother," he tells his surly child. But Harry springs one shock, he tells the baron he is going to marry Martha. There's a fight and the Baron is shot, accidentally. End of kidnap.
Back in Lucerne, Harry has renoucned the marriage idea. "I'm not the sort of man for you." At least he's honest.
But Harry gets a cheque for $50,000 from one Cyrus Proctor, for reasons I won't bother to explain. That money was used to set up Harry in legitimate business. "I've been honest ever since," he tells Brad. So that gives Harry the cred to enter Britain legit. Instead of being turned away as an undesirable

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Three Dancing Turtles
Blame John Kruse for writing this hokum. Blame Michael Rennie for such deadpan monotony.
Harry Lime is taken by donkey (no comment) to a mountain fortress in Sicily at the invitation of on-the-run Gaby (Bill Nagy). "When I climb higher than a bar stool, I usually get danger money," is his corny line as Gaby offers him $85,000 to prove him innocent of jumping bail after being accused of smuggling narcotics which had been found by customs in his 'boat.' (However when we see his ship Andromeda it's clearly an outsize in boats.)
Mary Halliday (Louise Collins) is a tourist Harry picks up in the Italian seaport where the boat lies in dock. However finding it proves very difficult, and Harry is distracted, not for the last time, by a corpse in his hotel bath. It is actually Gaby's brother. The police find the corpse, but Harry has by now fled via the balcony.
He follows a hearse to the docks and stumbles on the sign Tre Tartarughe Ballerine, a sign that the Andromeda is nearby. It's found in a very poor state. Oddly, Miss Halliday is there taking photos. Inside the hull of the ship, all is a mess. The bulkhead has been removed. Miss Halliday, who proves to be a reporter, explains it had been made of platinum. Clearly Gaby and his brother had fallen out over the platinum. If you care, the stuff has been hidden in a coffin. Obvious really. Senseless too. In another coffin lies Gaby. Harry punches the undertaker whose heart is pierced by a jagged edge of platinum. No real logic or cohesion to the whole adventure.

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Barcelona Passage
A typically convoluted storyline, with several fine actors sadly wasted.
But at least Harry is absolutely silent for once! He listens patiently as an insurance investigator persuades him to buy a ship that's sailing to Barcelona. As no legal powers can enable a bank robber who's on board to be arrested, by pretending to buy the ship Harry will be able to get on the ship. Thus in mid ocean, Harry and Brad come on board, ostensibly to inspect their proposed purchase. Brad immediately feels seasick and is able to contribute little to all the excitement, or should I say nonsense.
Look- there is the bank robber, Jan, who has nicked $500,000 from the National Exchange Bank. He cuts an odd figure, an ex-professor, and seemingly gloating in his reputation as a robber who cannot be arrested. Harry makes a beeline for his girl friend Eva (Dawn Addams), of course. He is less happy however, when someone bangs him on the nut. At least there's nothing in it to damage. When he comes to, Eva is proposing a 50-50 share of the loot. "What are you going to bring to the partnership?" asks Harry naively. What a daft question. She kisses him, that's her answer.
Harry's tactics become clear. Jan is an inveterate gambler and Harry fixes a game of poker with him. Eva also joins in, as does the Marquesa (Ferdy Mayne). However the latter is a notorious card sharp, and a suspicious Jan backs out. He's rumbled Harry, "what are you going to try next?" Harry tries playing head to head with Jan at Vingt Et Un. But there's no need for such subtlety now as Eva has found where Jan has hidden the cash- in the hold. Of course, it turns out to be her trickery. The real Jan is dead in the hold, now it's Harry's turn. But he's rescued by the purser, alias a secret agent (Jack Hedley). "I got suspicious because everything seemed too easy," explains Harry blandly
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Collectors Item
The late Earl of Barset has disposed of his available property to avoid inheritance tax, so his four heirs are left only a Ming jar each. One is for his son Mark, another for Arletta his 'companion,' a third for nephew Charles and the last for his granddaughter Diane (Eileen Moore). She's the only one who ever cared for the earl, according to the solicitor, and she is given an extra letter: "contact Harry Lime" it reads.
Harry meanwhile is elsewhere and rather puzzled why the earl hasn't mentioned a rare necklace in his will, that Harry had sold him. He wants to buy it back- it must be hidden in one of the jars since only three are known to exist. The fourth must be a fake, made to conceal the necklace.
Arlette is first to be asked. "Am I collector's item?" she enigmatically asks Harry, whose response is to kiss her. "You must go now," she warns, but hands him her front door key. But no jar.
Charles is broke and keen to sell however, but the new Earl of Barset, Mark, is keen on buying the rare Ming vases himself.
Arlette is found murdered, lying beside a smashed jar. It's actually Mark's jar which she had smashed in a rage. Arrest of new Lord Barset.
All this time Diane has been trying in vain to meet the elusive Mr Lime. As Brad watches in growing surprise, he offers her �216,000 17/- for the jar. "Sheer lunacy. It can't be worth that." Worse is to follow- Harry then smashes the jar! Even more shock horror. But then the reason for Harry's seeming madness- inside was the Collector's Item, the beautiful necklace. Whilst Brad continues his baffled look, Harry escorts Diane off to Paris.
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Toys of the Dead

Note- An uncredited Oliver Reed is in the cast as Dame Lavinia's secretary.

Dame Lavinia (Isabel Jeans) has a task for Harry Lime- "our minds dance to the same preposterous music," is her absurd line.
Today, she brings him an oriental necklace, 1250 years old, from Ceylon. Harry is required to talk to Toni, who sent it, and who claims he has lots more of the same.
Deep in Ceylon's interior, Harry and Brad check in to the Grand Hotel. "Hotel is closed," claims the terse manager Mookajee. Yet a young girl called Shani, who proves to be Toni's sister, has better news- they can stay. She seems to run the hotel, as her father is paralysed. She's frightened. The guests are taking the place over, she tells Harry, who is ever willing to provide a listening ear, especially to an attractive lady. One guest is a local jewel expert, Batlivenga.
Harry hands Toni Dame Lavinia's payment for the necklace, but he is scared and says he knows nothing about it.
That night there's an explosion in the nearby temple. Mookajee shoots at Harry, as ever missing his mark, though Harry is just slightly injured.
But next day he's well enough to explore the temple and finds a horde of jewels, like the one Toni had sent Dame Lavinia. In fact Toni had already discovered this treasure, but has been tied up by Batlivenga and his cronies, since they have also discovered Toni's secret. Brad is also forced into the cave by Mookajee, "the man with the dreadful name." Batlivenga plants explosives at the temple entrance, Toni, Brad and Harry still inside, but of course Harry turns the tables, and it's Batlivenga who is trapped inside, the valuable treasure buried for ever in the rubble.
"The toys of the dead are safe once more." What a shame. What a shame, I mean, that this story was ever filmed

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The Man Who Wouldn't Talk

A woman claiming to be Harry Lime's secretary cancels an appointment made to see Harry, so she can see him herself. However Jackie (Moira Redmond) is not actually Harry's proper secretary, she just wants to see the great man urgently. Any chance of �1,000 she asks. Inevitable really, she is an old friend of Harry's though he hardly recognises her, for he last knew her as a fourteen year old with glasses. He prefers the newer version.
Her father is an important Foreign Office offical in line for promotion. She explains she needs the money to find Martin, her fiance, whom her father has forbidden her to ever see again. Martin had been due to fly in to London from Zurich, but though she had waited for hours at the airport, he failed to come. "I nearly went out of my mind." Then she had received a note telling her to go to 23 Leyman Street Fulham. A man there had promised to tell her where Martin is, for �1,000.
Brad stumps up the cash. "Not tax deductible," he warns Harry. Jackie hands it to the man who is called Talbot. The information is not really value for money- Martin is in prison.
Jackie goes straight there, and meets the insalubrious character. He's not at all communicative. "Martin, say something." All he says is "I don't know you."
Next day, Harry accompanies Jackie to Leyman Street. They find Talbot, dead. He worked for detective Arthur Schillings (Rupert Davies), but according to his boss, he was earning extra cash on the side.
Harry consults yet another underworld pal, "you know who pulled the strings." Harry gets his �1,000 back and learns "Talbot was a rat who was killed by mistake." Anyway, "the deal's washed up." It is all to do with Jackie's dad and his work at the FO. Martin was a spy, so no wonder Jackie can never see him again.
This review from a 16mm film

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An Experiment With Money

Brad enters Mr Lime's office- a man is slumped in Harry's chair. Is it Harry? Is he dead? Let's hope so.
No it's not Harry sadly. He is dining with yet another beautiful woman, this one named Griselda (Delphi Lawrence). After the usual corny chat up lines, an interruption. Brad phones wth news of the corpse.
Harry returns to his office, no clue as to who the dead man was, or why he was killed. Or perhaps there is. A Greek banknote is found stuffed in Harry's phone. Also the tape recorder had been running.
Back to Griselda Harry goes. Her butler looks suspicious. He's no butler. He's Mario, a stockbroker. He had forced Griselda to date Harry tonight. She didn't seem to need much forcing! It's apparently a plot to do with Greek banknotes.
The dead man worked for a printing firm which printed foreign banknotes. Very calmly, Harry smashes a window in this firm's offices and sits in the boss' chair to await the arrival of Mr Grinling (John Warwick). A crook had tricked Grinling into printing 200,000 genuine Greek banknotes. Brad plays the tape recording, which he has actually deviously doctored, to expose the killer

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Harry Lime and the King

"I don't like foreign places," announces Brad, as he lands with Harry Lime at Hamsing airport, only to be escorted by a colonel, the chief of police (Sydney Tafler) to jail. Harry is suspected of planning to assassinate the king. The allegation has been made by the unusual Fawzia (Marla Landi), who claims Harry had once jilted her. Harry however has never seen her ever before. More to the point, she's a government agent.
"It's dreadful," cries Brad, who has shown solidarity with his boss by also opting for the jail, which is actually a pleasant hotel suite, if barred and guarded. Brad turns in for the night, but Harry gets out of his room when he finds his guard has been knocked out. But then he is overpowered. He comes to, in the arms of Fawzia, but then up marches the colonel to accuse the bewildered Harry of murdering his guard. However Fawzia extricates Harry, taking the blame herself. Harry is put back in his barred room.
Here, Harry has another visitor, you'll never guess... Fawzia. Naturally, Harry wants to know what she's up to. he knows really, of course, but he just wants to hear her explanation. So do we.
Harry is taken to the Prime Minister (John le Mesurier) who discusses the oil concession that was Harry's reason for coming to the country. There had been an agreement of 50-50, but the arrival of international crook Martin Clearwater (Philip Friend) had persuaded the PM to get himself a more favourable deal.
But into this game of bluff walks the young king, soft spoken but firm, eager to meet his "would be assassin." Harry attempts his own bluff, confessing to trying to kill the king, but implicating the colonel.
"Not a bad story," concedes the king, "sounds quite convincing." The king is evidently wise beyond his years and can see Harry for what he really is (or maybe foolish beyond his years...) and he orders Clearwater to be deported.
The witness against Harry, Fawzia, is produced for the king to examine. But a quick gunshot from the colonel exposes the real villain behind it all, and he is captured. The oil concession is sorted out. All ends well.
Brad has slept through it all. When he awakes, there is Fawzia cooing Harry's name, in his arms

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Death in Small Installments
Brad is on the phone to Muriel when there's a knock at the door. In falls a stranger, dead.
"Not very satisfactory," concludes Inspector Newton, when he's spun this unlikely tale. The only clue to the dead man's identity is that his clothing is French.
It so happens that Harry and Brad are flying to Paris next day, at the request of old Nick (a Frenchman that is, not the devil). However the old man is too ill to see them, his junior partner Paul March (Laurence Payne) explains. Ten years ago Nick's son Victor was killed, and though police decided it was not murder, Nick has worn himself out trying to find the man whom he holds responsible, Pierre. Nick's daughter Roxane (Lisa Gastoni), asks Harry not to join the fruitless quest, for she's been "living with the dead" for too long.
But Harry gets to see bedridden old Nick, who wants Harry to promise to kill Pierre himself.
Harry does examine the reports of the numerous private detectives who have sought Pierre in vain. Roxane tells Harry more about Victor who was "no good," though his father could not see it. But shrewd old Harry spots she must know where Pierre is. And does he also guess that it is Pierre who is trying now to poison Nick? For Nick is now delirious and has to be treated by the family doctor.
Harry has a heart-to-heart with this Pierre who has taken a false identity in Nick's household. Pierre and his accomplice make steps to make Harry "disappear," though I regret to tell you this fails and Inspector Newton pounces, even though he's on foreign soil, to arrest Pierre, who had killed the first detective to spot his identity, and this he was going to reveal to Harry, which is where we came in. Perhaps Brad should never have opened that door
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A Question of Libel

This is one of the better Third Man scripts, written by John Warwick.

On page 12 of Pride and County magazine is an article by the editor Gerald Black on the low moral fibre of England. To back up his point, in a village near Winchester, the editor alleges the following all live: 1) a blonde habitual shoplifer, 2) a titled lady who writes poison pen letters, and 3) a hotel keeper who has been embezzling hunt club funds. Though noone is named and the village not specified, Harry Lime, as owner of the magazine, is being sued for �100,000 each by the three people who feel they have been libelled.
The editor (Ralph Michael) insists what he has written is the truth, even though he cannot prove it. If Harry can prove it is true, he's in the clear, so he takes Brad to the village of Highfield to visit the owner of the inn George Freeman (Sydney Tafler). The lawyer acting for him, Diana Barrett (Barbara Shelley) is chatted up by Harry in his inimitably awful manner. As is another of her clients Miss Wyvern (Nyree Dawn Porter), an actress. Lady Millicent Bridges (Athene Seyler) is the other member of the trio sueing Harry. She takes in every stray dog in the district ("a handful of trouble" she confides to Mr Lime), and even apologies for her part in the libel action. But she does deny the charge of writing poison pen letters.
All three seem to have lost something as a result of this article: Freeman the local council election, Miss Wyvern a good acting chance and Lady Millicent the opportunity to open her house to the public.
Black asks Harry to meet him urgently, but before this can take place he is pushed out of the window (Black that is, not unfortunately, Harry). Worse is to come, when Brad's investigations only show that nothing in the editor's article was true.
So Harry calls a meeting of the three and their lawyer. He hands them each a special edition of Pride and County. Is it a retraction? Not so, there's a revealing account of a libel suit fraud! The clever Mr Lime has worked out that Gerald Black had written the original article in collusion with the three, so they could sue poor Harry. Freeman is the brains behind the scheme but when he had "found his conscience," Black had needed to be silenced. Case closed.
Magnaminously Harry dates Diana Barrett.

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King's Ransom

Liz discovers the dead body of her uncle in his bookshop. The last words scribbled on his notepad read 'Harry Lime.'
Harry is mugging up on the English Civil War, when Inspector Stephens of Oxford City Police arrives to question him about the dead man, Geoffrey Ormesby (Mervyn Johns). Last February Harry had given him money.
"This is terrible, Mr Lime, "cries a wide eyed Brad. Harry's story is that Ormesby had told him about a "lost treasure," made of gold, worth about half a million pounds. Apparently King Charles, of Civil War fame, had entrusted Ormesby's ancestor with this treasure. Now Geoffrey has inherited a book in code, which may yield a clue to its whereabouts. The philanthropist in Harry had given Ormesby �500 to buy a decoding machine.
Recently Ormesby had contacted Harry again, giving the key to the code, "I now know where the treasure lies."
Harry learns from Liz that her uncle had had two appointments on the day of his death.
Dr Parkin (Barry Jones) is the author of the definitive book on the Civil War, and he poo-poos the treasure theory. He forgot he was supposed to see Ormesby, so they had never met that day.
Prof Lionel 'Beastly' Beasley also claims not to have seen Ormesby that day. He identifies Robert, Liz' boyfriend as being seen running away from Ormesby's house the night of his death. Robert admits he owed the man a lot of money and that "I found him dead with a knife in him."
Bradford finds a notepad with the name Parkins on it, not Parkin. He phones everyone in Oxford with that name. He's Rev PJ Parkin (Brian Oulton) who had been asked by Ormesby for permission to open up his ancestor's vault in the family church. Harry speeds there and has no difficulty prising open the lid of the tomb. "Light please, vicar." But it's empty.
Harry leaves the key to the code with Dr Parkin, who that night enters the church for the treasure. He's the murderer of Ormesby, killing him because his book would have been discredited. Harry then reveals that though the coffin is bare, the gold had been melted down, for underneath the leaden surface of the lid, it's solid gold.
Liz is going to be "terribly rich." Harry does quite well out of it too.

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Hamburg Shakedown

Harry is commisssioning a sculptor to make an unusual statue carved out of butter to commemorate an event five years ago. This is the ungripping tale of why.
Harry had been travellling with Brad from Denmark to Hamburg on a "museum piece" of a train. Fellow passengers in their compartment were Mr Lloyd, a large scale custard manufacturer, and young Susie (Annie Farge).
When the train reaches the border, she hides her ring in a package of butter. The customs officer, however, confiscates it for hygienic reasons and she gets in rather a flap about it, part of her elaborate con trick. Kind Harry despatches Brad to retrieve her ring while Harry continues on the train with Susie, who spins Harry her transparent tale about her kidnapped father, for whom she is to raise his ransom by pawning her ring. "All I want is papa back."
Brad, in Denmark, chases the butter which has been donated as part of a large food parcel to an orphanage. He has to melt down a huge amount of butter, to the bemusement of the owner, before he gets hold of the ring.
In Hamburg, Harry and Susie book into a one star dump of a hotel. The 'blackmailer' phones, ordering Susie to pay 50,000 marks. Come alone. Her father speaks to her, only we see that the voice is a tape recording.
Harry supplies the cash from his own pocket. She takes it to pay the ransom.
Brad brings Harry the ring, "a most unusual ring," worthless in fact. Harry thinks it very funny.
At the police station, Susie admits that rich Mr Lloyd had been her original target for the scam. She'd changed however to Harry, her "dearest, nicest.... favourite goof." The police chief thinks it very funny.
That was five years ago. Now Harry is preparing a celebratory meal with that statue of butter. It's for the charming but mildly sickly Susie, just out of jail. She thinks the statue is very funny. Well, so long as everyone is happy, except me perhaps

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The Unexpected Mr Lime
The SS Demetrio Bay is nearing its destination, Beirut. Lopez, a sailor, starts to send a cable to Harry Lime in New York, but is thrown overboard.
Kuvati (Peter Illing) is in charge of Lime's Beirut operations, and with his daughter Anna welcomes Harry and Brad to their country, and arranges for them to look round the ship which belongs to Harry, as soon as it is in port. But in their hotel room at the Royal, they watch the ship catch fire. On board had been a cargo of cars, sewing machines, and even dynamite.
"Deliberate arson," concludes the local police chief (Peter Arne). If the insurance company concurs, Harry stands to lose $730,000, enough to make even Brad worried. "It's just money," is Harry's attitude.
First officer Nicholas Shearer is in league with Kuvati, but gets cold feet and offers to tell all to Harry. For $10,000. But Shearer is knifed in the back. However Harry is soon on to the truth, that Kuvati is behind a gun smuggling racket. Kuvati admits it, adding he has only a short while to live, and had been trying to leave his daughter a reasonable inheritance. But he didn't kill Shearer, so who did?
Anna was the last to have seen Shearer alive- she had been begging him to leave Beirut, but he had been alive when she left him. In fact, the captain of the vessel (George Colouris) is the guilty man, and though he attempts to kill Harry, he is drugged and handed over to the police.
For once Brad gets the girl at the end, well in a way he does. Barmaid Gina (Catherine Woodville) is taking Brad out, on a tour of a camel saddle factory.
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Portrait of Harry Lime

A collector has died at the age of 95. He had purchased a painting back in 1903 from Renoir himself, Dejeuner Dans La Foret. "I want that painting," Meyrick (Bernard Lee) informs Harry Lime, who agrees to try and buy it for him from the executors.
"That's the only millionaire I don't like," notes Brad of the scheming Meyrick. As Brad distastefully suffers French cuisine and other abominations of the land, Harry is enjoying the local pleasures with an artist, Veronique (Delphi Lawrence). Oh, and he does buy that Renoir, for $600,000 too.
"That's very good," he says of the picture she has been sketching of the lugubrious Brad. It's Brad's, and he takes it back to the hotel, leaving Harry to chat with "talented, beautiful" Veronique in her studio.
When he rejoins Brad, he gets the bad news, the Renoir has been stolen. Not insured either.
Veronique is now painting Harry's portrait. "This painting is you," declares Brad, rather untruthfully I felt, for it bears only a passing resemblance to the attractive but wooden features of Mr Lime.
However she is actually painting two pictures of the great Harry (as if one weren't enough!), the second is for Meyrick. Behind one is hidden the stolen Renoir.
The police seem no nearer to recovering Harry's property. Brad is questioned by the French police chief, who sourly comments that Brad isn't like Harry Lime who enjoys "the wines, womens and chantings." This is a rather well acted scene, if awfully hackneyed, by Jonathan Harris with George Pravda.
Back to London, where Harry has to advise Meyrick the Renoir is still missing. "There's something wrong, Brad," Harry confides later to Brad, for Meyrick seeks hardly concerned about the theft. Or was Harry talking about the actual picture of himself, which is such a poor likeness? However Brad seems to have taken an inexplicable liking to it, and hangs it in his office admiringly. It takes all sorts.
But the picture has to be taken down again, as Veronique requests it is loaned for an exhibition of her talent, sponsored by Meyrick. At the gallery there's a fight and Harry is shot, or rather a bullet hits him in his portrait. You see, Harry has been cleverer than I and has worked out what has been going on, and has retrieved his picture, plus of course that Renoir hidden in the back. Not that Harry seems that concerned, he's busy kissing Veronique

To the Third Man Menu






The Way of McEagle
Prospects of "an excellent business deal" have lured Harry and Brad in a rickety car to the Scottish Highlands, any contract to be signed "by midnight tonight, or not at all." But the locals are out to spot 'em: "they'll repent the day they came to Strathclyde."
Apparently the road to their destination, the castle of the laird Tim McCriach (Laurence Naismith) is impassable, so Harry rests at the Eagle Arms where Helen McEagle (Eileen Moore) welcomes Harry. "It's a strange country," she tells him.
It is for Brad! In search of a phone, he's taken on a wild goose chase: "I'm being kidnapped!" For unexplained reasons, he's taken to the laird who, despite protest, takes him for Harry Lime. Both he and Harry separately hear of the typically Scottish family feud between the McCriachs and the McEagles. Whilst Brad tries to digest haggis, Harry is kept away by Helen's charms. He tells her at twenty to midnight, "I'm not really a fool." No comment.
Helen explains it's her birthday tomorrow, the day she comes into property, currently being held in trust by McCriach. (Why him, if there's a feud on?) She wants to keep her land. Harry's response is to take the whole bunch of McEagles to face the McCriachs. Brad is suffering to the sound of the bagpipes when the clan burst in.
There's a lot of Scottish ballyhoo, ended when the wise Harry scolds the lot of 'em: "why don't you stop fighting like children?" And so it all ends happily ever after

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A Question in Ice

Brad is looking apprehensive, as Miss Muffin (Vanda Godsell) is flying in to demonstrate her wide variety of pancake mixes, for a new business venture that Brad has urged on Harry. When Harry is called away urgently by a phone call from Luigi in Italy, poor Brad is left to taste pancakes alone.
Harry has been paying Luigi for the past 18 years to keep his eye on a glacier. Major Harry Lime had been delivering $50,000 to one Alberto to aid the French resistance, who had tragically fallen into this glacier. Harry is alleged to have stolen the money, but now Alberto's corpse has finally drifted to the foot of the glacier, Harry knows he will be able to prove his innocence. Not that he was convicted of any wrongdoing, but Alberto's father, ex-partisan General Dino (Marius Goring) is certain of Harry's guilt. At the hotel where Harry checks in, the General has arranged for a military style court, attended also by the hotel manager, the cashier Pepi (Oliver Reed), and Simon, a journalist from America. The result seems predetermined, "it's Harry Lime who's going to die here... Harry must pay according to partisan law." Indeed the guard rail on the balcony in Harry's room has been removed. But Alberto's daughter Nina (Joanna Dunham) is unhappy with her grandfather's high handed actions. The suave Mr Lime however assures her the money will prove he has been telling the truth. As a precaution, he has asked Luigi to keep guard by the glacier, but during the night an unseen figure attacks him and removes the knapsack with the cash...
Back in London, Brad is tasting such delights as Bacon Pancake ("I knew you'd like it!"), but, worried for his employer's safety, rushes off to Italy.
The trial of Lime. Nina cannot believe nice Harry could have killed her father. "There are some people you do believe." Well, she is pretty gullible. But by a clever application of logic, Mr Lime is able to show who attacked Luigi and stole the money. Pepi "is the only one who could have done it." Pepi confesses, adding he had burned the money as it was all in Italian lire, now completely valueless.
As Brad dashes to the rescue, he finds Harry kissing Nina, "thank you for worrying about me, Brad." But Brad ends up pleased, since Miss Muffin's pancakes have not gone down well in England, and "the English haven't done anything terrible to the United States since the war of 1812"

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Vienna 1945, and Max saved Harry's life. Now Max Kruse (Theodore Marcuse) is offering Harry "the opportunity of a lifetime," a coffee plantation in the quaintly named Costa Semana. Some coffee tasting with Brad proves it's good coffee but the unstable political situation is worrying, with the country under the thumb of aged and hated El Presidente.
The plantation is only a ruse however, as when they meet Max explains he "wants out" as he's a virtual prisoner in his own mansion. He holds Harry to that favour he owes him. As a "man of honour" good old Harry must help him get out of the country.
Enemies of El Presidente, who are planning his overthrow warn Harry that it has only been Max's ill gotten money that has kept the president in power for so long: "he swindled our people." What can the wonderful Mr Lime do? He decides to help both and asks Max for half a million dollars: "you drive a hard bargain, Harry!" Brad sums it all up: "Mr Kruse doesn't deserve to escape after what he's done to this country."
Night, and Max Kruse is driven out of the country in a coffin. The hearse is stopped, but it's a decoy enabling Harry to succeed in his mission. But there's a poetic end, as the half a million is used to bring about the downfall of El Pres, and safely away in Rio, Max meets a poetic end, well rather a messy one actually

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Crisis in Crocodiles
"My zip is stuck- would you like to help me?" That's the greeting Brad gets from model Arlette as he enters Mr Lime's office. "I shall dine alone tonight, monsieur," she adds. Brad makes no response.
Harry is told he's inherited 20% of Australian Enterprises from the late Julian Roper of Sydney. 18 years ago, this Australian had been daft enough to save Harry's life, but why has he left part of his business to Mr Lime? His two children inherit 40% each.
Down under, Julie (Jill Ireland) and Bill (John Meillon) are running the crocodile skin business. Their only rival is one Rankin (John Barrie), who winds Harry up the wrong way: "get out of Australia- now," he orders Harry, though for what reasons is not clear.
Harry doesn't seem that popular with Bill either: "lay off" my sister he warns Harry. Harry's not that popular with me either, though I wasn't the one shooting at Harry, because I wouldn't have missed. Who tried to shoot him? "Do you really think I want to see you dead?" asks Julia, very unconvincingly.
A phone call tips them off that Rankin has planted a fire bomb in their office. "There's a great deal more to this than you think," Harry tells Bill and Julia. So the wise Harry amazingly agrees to Bill taking the ticking bomb (!) and planting it in Rankin's warehouse. "This is extremely unwise," warns Brad, rather unnecessarily. But it's part of Harry's master plan. He tails Bill, defuses the bomb, and exposes Rankin, who had been attempting to get Bill caught placing the bomb. In fact Rankin's warehouse is full of waste products for he's all but bankrupt. So Julia and Bill have a nice monopoly in crocodile skins. For me, it's perhaps a pity that bomb didn't detonate
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71 House of Bon Bons

A Swiss sweet factory unexpectedly makes a profit of over 76,000 dollars. The trouble is, Harry had only bought it for the sake of an old friend Heinrich Miren (an effusive Martin Miller) as a "dud," a loss maker.
So it's to Zurich for Harry and Brad to inspect the factory, the House of Bons Bons. They meet a happy staff: "your ugly duckling investment turned out to be a beautiful swan," the poetic Miren confides to Harry.
But what is the secret of their success? It's all down to sales manager Leon Kruger. "We never appointed him," says Brad. So how did he get the job there? Harry questions the chief accountant Blodin (Paul Whitsun-Jones) who is feigning illness to avoid meeting Harry. He's got some secret to hide, but Harry will never learn it now, as Blodin is stabbed to death. The reason: a lot of smuggled goods are found in his room.
Returning to the factory, Brad and Harry find nothing suspicious in a search, except their rather awful tasting chocs. But the truth slowly dawns on Harry, with the emphasis on the Slowly. When he's realised how smuggled goods are being taken from the place, a giant eight foot man (on stilts) attacks him. He's easily foiled (it's unclear how such an ungainly person could possibly hope to succeed) and it's left to Harry to explain that the chocs had been wrapped in "solid gold foil," a neat smuggling racket.

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The Trial of Harry Lime
Justice has at last caught up with Harry Lime for he's in the dock at the Central Criminal Court, charged with income tax evasion to the tune of �800,000. His plea is not guilty.
His alleged partner in crime is Theodore Ratteau (Esmond Knight) of International Nitrates, his third wife Madga (Margit Saad) had begged Harry to help her dying husband, even though they were sworn enemies. The wheelchair-bound Ratteau had entrusted Harry with a valuable collection of diamonds, which he wanted to return to his old prospecting partner Jack Tanner. Some suggestion that the ruthless Ratteau might have diddled him. Jack is now dead, so his son Michael (Peter Reynolds) is to be the beneficiary of Theodore's generosity. He runs a theatrical shop in the Charing Cross Road, and Harry hands him the diamonds, which Michael suspects are fakes. They are not, insists Harry, they must be worth a million!
Inspector Brace (Duncan Lamont) questions Harry about the diamonds now that Ratteau has died. Tanner is dead too, stabbed in the back. Missing are the diamonds, of course. Further probing uncovers the surprising news that this Michael Tanner was unrelated to Jack Tanner.
It seems a clear case of Ratteau trying to avoid inheritance tax, and Harry has colluded with him. But Harry, out on bail, accuses Magda of lying at the trial. She is alone in her house and admits sacking her loyal chauffeur, Charles Martin, who she says, had been insolent.
Harry plays a hunch, "a long shot," and Martin is arrested trying to get out of the country with his red headed girl friend Corinne, and the diamonds.
Thus the case against Harry collapses. Politely, the judge asks Harry why he really gave Michael the diamonds. Harry explains they were actually fakes he had made up, as he had never really trusted Ratteau. But he promises he will return the real diamonds to the undeserving Magda
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Members Only (a 2 part tale)

The exclusive Palm Bay Club is run by the countess (Margaretta Scott) and is so exclusive no outsiders even know who are the members, who live their lives in solitary exclusion from the world.
Paul Clark wants to buy a beach on the island where the club is situated. His nephew James, sent to negotiate the deal, has failed to report back, so Harry Lime is engaged.
He and Brad book into the only hotel on the isle, run by Mr Parker- "I don't trust that man," Brad observes to his boss. Brad also dislikes his room as there's a lizard there, and he is unimpressed by Parker's explanation that it's there to eat mosquitoes.
Only other guest is Sara (Betta St John) who is up to something, though the biggest mystery is why this last story of the series was extended to fifty minutes, since the storyline is so thin it could have filled just one programme length. But it does mean Harry has bags of time to dance with Sara, and kiss her.
Harry and Brad are vetted for membership at Palm Bay. Some 'friends' from the old days are members. But Harry turns down their offer. He and Brad are locked in. End of Part One.

Part two: "this is ridiculous Mr Lime, and I refuse to remain here for the rest of our lives." For all members of the club are millionaire crooks, hiding from the law. "Some kind of accident" awaits Harry and Brad, though Aldrina (Nadja Regin), only daughter of a crook to be born in the place, is making eyes at Harry. She explains that James had tried to escape and was executed.
"There's always a way out of every place," Harry confidently asserts, and he promises to take her with them. She shows how to switch off the electrified fence that guards the grounds of the club. Off that night creep Harry, Brad and Aldrina, unaware that the countess has got wind of their escape, and has ordered the current to be switched on again as they climb the fencing. But her plan mysteriously fails, and she ends up electrocuted herself. The other crooks emerge from their lair to try and prevent the three escaping, but they run straight into the arms of the FBI, guided by Sara.
There's a frosty moment as Sara and Aldrina vie for Harry. Myself, I really had been hoping that as it was the final throes of this abysmal series, they'd have allowed Harry to have been frazzled on that fence

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Zero One

Starring Nigel Patrick as Alan Garnett, head of airport security. Bill Smith played Garnett's assistant, Jimmy Delaney. Katya Douglas was Maya his secretary- originally her name had been going to be Sari.
Garnett's car: Daimler 3251HP
The series was based on reminiscences of Donald Fish, a security officer at BOAC. Shooting commenced on November 13th 1961 at MGM Boreham Wood Studios. The official blurb described this BBC series thus: "Activities of International Airline Crime Detection." Anyway, arguably this the BBC's best effort to imitate ITV! By recruiting ITC personnel such as Aida Young, perhaps that is not surprising! However, in 1961 commercial TV had moved to the hour long format, in effect making this 1962 made series obsolete. Despite this, some early episodes screened starting October 3rd 1962 reached the national Top 10 in the TAM ratings. So why did it end up as 'competition' for Coronation Street, not a recipe for success? Its ignominy was complete when it extraordinarily was shown for a short period in the Children's slot at 5.25pm on Saturdays. The final stories were only first screened in summer 1965. Sad that such an ambitious series has been so seriously neglected. Critics at the time were uncompromisingly scathing: wrote one, "uninspired acting, drab situations, no laughs or excitement... how MGM and the BBC could have got this thing on to tv is a puzzle."

26 stories have appeared on 2 dvd reissues, unfortunately (for some of us) only with a German soundtrack.
These German language episodes in Volume 1 are: 2 Glidepath 3 The Liar 4 The Contender 7 Fly Away Peter 9 The Marriage Broker 10 Gunpoint to Shannon 11 Million Dollar Lift 13 Deadly Angels 14 Everybody's Uncle 15 The Good Old Days 22 The Creators 31 The Switch 39 Excess Baggage.
Volume 2 contains: 6 The Bovard Affair, 8 Return Trip, 16 The Man Who Waited, 17 Danger on Cloud Seven, 18 Downdraft, 21 And Maya makes Three, 27 Key Witness, 28 Hurricane, 32 Triple Cross, 33 Delayed Reaction, 35 A Case of Charity, 36 And One To Go, 38 The Body
My brief reviews
These are 5 episodes (in English!) that I have- 8 Return Trip 13 Deadly Angels 18 Downdraft 23 Ghost Strip 38 The Body
Picture: from a film print of #18

#1 Stoneface (Oct 3rd 1962, 9.30pm)- the first of this series to be screened was given this contemporary report:
"Peter Elkinson (Michael Goodliffe) seems to be going insane, and he is brought up before the Board for a series of tests to indicate whether he is fit to fly. His wife Sarah (Brenda Bruce) whose unhappy lot it has been during the past eighteen years always to sit and wait hopefully for the return of her airline pilot husband, is proved to be the cause of all the trouble. As Alan Garnett discovers, because she would prefer her man to be grounded and so remain at home. This shies away from the direct sensational approach, and concentrates more on personalities. The acting, photography and general presentation were good, but I doubt whether it's powerful or original enough to lure viewers from the show on the other channel" (This was The ill-fated Bulldog Breed)

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Zero One- some brief reviews

2 Glidepath -General Keen (Andrew Faulds) is planning to overthrow the President of Lapata by nobbling his plane which is flying to London. Unfortunately security in the shape of Sharif (Edwin Richfield) and Jimmy, fail to spot mechanics changing the pressure in one of the tyres. Even though Keen is arrested when the air compressor explodes at the airport, he is confident the plane will never be able to land. Police Chief Karri (Joseph Furst) can't persuade him to help, though the villain's sidekick Prof Damah eventually does. Garnett makes emergency preparations, Masra the asisstant pilot cracks up, but Cpt Cargan (George Baker) bravely lands the aircraft on one wheel

3 The Liar - The young wife of teacher David Clandon (Robert Flemying) dies on board an Atlantic night flight. Another passenger, Mrs Pendenny (Margaret Rutherford) informs Garnett in no uncertain terms that Clandon murdered her. Her friends at a house for retired ladies tell him that she is well known for her tall stories. But the newspapers publish her accusations and Clandon gets some nasty ribbing from his pupils, "Old Clandon is a Murderer." Garnett takes the old lady on board the plane to reconstruct what she says she witnessed, and it is she who has to do the confessing... at first

4 The Contender - Paddy Farrell (Kieron Moore) is flying by BOAC from LA to London with his girlfriend Miriam to compete in a World Championship title fight. When an explosive device is found on the plane, Garnett gives Farrell protection from all the numerous suspicious characters on board, including an uncredited Anthony Booth. Garnett chats up Jill (Delphi Lawrence), a journalist on the Empire magazine. At a stopover, Garnett phones Maya to ask her to check out the passengers. But Shaffer has pointed a gun at the boxer, and taken him out of the airport. Luckily Jill has spotted him and warns Garnett. By way of thanks, Farrell grants her an interview. But Maya has tipped Garnett off that Jill is a phoney, so her pen with a poisoned tip never harms Farrell, since Garnett intervenes. Later, Maya visits her boss in hospital, while Farrell's fight is screened on tv

6 The Bovard Affair - Francie (Virginia Maskell) causes an Amalgamated World Freight van to get a puncture- it is carrying an Impressionist painting worth �300,000 by Paul Bovard. It is bound for the Wentworth Museum in New York, and Garnett personally escorts it there. However a crook (Eric Pohlmann) has already switched the painting. Noyes (Wensley Pithey) of the art gallery declares it a fake. So Garnett investigates, starting with the driver of the van (Harry Locke). He recognises Francie, girl friend of John Cameron, a penniless artist (Richard Pasco). Her face is also on advertising hoardings as The Sunglow Girl, so Garnett easily traces her. She runs away from an art class and dashes off with Cameron to Paris, with another forgery. But they are stopped at the airport, and a simple ruse by Garnett elicits a confession. But Garnett does purchase one of Cameron's paintings

7 Fly Away Peter- Passengers emerging off the Chicago flight include unaccompanied young Peter Firth, but nobody is here to greet him. After explaining to him the rules of cricket, Garnett takes him to his mother, Eileen (Lana Morris), who has remarried. Unwelcome, Peter runs away, reaching London Zoo, before jumping an airport bus. It's dark now, as he chats with a passenger from Chicago (Francis Matthews, uncredited), before stupidly running on to the runway. Jimmy Delaney saves him from himself, and then happily accepted by his mother, Garnett treats them to a cricket match at Lords

9 The Marriage Broker - Tina (Andree Melly) has flown in to Athens to meet her fiance George Kadopolis, but though George turns up to meet her, the man she is expecting to marry, the man whose picture she had been sent, is actually his brother Pedros. Garnett has to sort it all out with Mama Kadopolis a formidable opponent. Miss Smith (Lois Maxwell) is introduced to the real George and soon they are hitting it off. But Mama's approval, or lack of it, is the key problem. Finally the worm turns, and George puts his foot down and it ends happily if not as expected

10 Gunpoint to Shannon - Garnett just happens to be on a flight where I Am Being Kidnapped is scrawled on the toilet mirror, He has to work out who wrote it. Perhaps young Michael with his stepmother, or the flighty Jinx travelling with Rikki 'Sugarboy' Jourdan, or is it Mowbray the Australian prankster (Charles Tingwell)? Or Zapotsky and Hafner from Berlin, or any of the others? Garnett gets Jinx to feign drunkenness and when the plane lands Garnett arrests Mario. This his companion Mrs Glomy (Bessie Love) finds hilarious, though the ending isn't quite so amusing for her

11 Million Dollar Lift- Vance has been released from the US State Pen, met by his pal Ziggy in a flash auto. Destination England, where Garnett recognises him and details Jimmy to tail him. He meets Miss Kelly a teacher (Jane Hylton), and Jimmy overhears plans for a robbery, the prize, a million! He joins the gang. In a Rolls, they drive to the airport dressed as pilots and board a Pan Am plane. Hijack. Jimmy attempts to prevent it, but is knocked out. When the crooks land, it's straight into the arms of the law. Note Vance and Ziggy return in The Body

14 Everybody's Uncle- Valentina flies into Rome with her baby, but runs away when a man attacks her. Later in hospital she dies. She leaves behind a broken doll, which leads Garnett to an adoption racket run by nice Uncle George (Joseph Tomelty) who runs a children's home. Jimmy poses with a fake wife seeking to adopt, they hand George the cash and he is arrested

15 The Good Old Days - A suspicious character on a flight attempts to jump out of the door. He's a juggler. Once landed, Bill Delaney questions him, then visits his digs, where a crowd of minor theatricals live, landlady Miss Clara Daly, once "the most amazing act." They are dominated by the raucous voice of a rotund opera singer, all unemployed, refusing to bow the knee to the new televisual menace. Maurice (Miles Malleson) says he knows nothing of any �10,000 flight insurance fraud. Garnett poses as an escapologist in order to stay at the digs, and in the cellar he gets Maurice a little tiddly, revealing quite a bit. Before them all, being urged to show his act to them, Garnett produces a suitcase containing the tools of his trade. He handcuffs Maurice to Nero, The Strongest Man Since Samson, then spirits away the key. Bill shows up with the police, and Clara amazingly shows up from inside Garnett's case

16 The Man Who Waited- Jimmy Delaney follows Brodick (Eddie Byrne) from Miami Airport to Lisbon, on to Rome, Cairo, and finally Gaboro, a small airport. Here, it is Jimmy that the local official (Warren Mitchell) wants to arrest, leaving Brodick, a known professional assassin, the opportunity to work out the lie of the land. Jimmy is vouched for, and meets the local sheik (James Villeirs), Garnett joining them, flying out with Langford (Alan Gifford) and his wife (Zena Walker). Arriving at Gaboro airport, Brodick fires his long distance rifle at Langford. But Brodick is arrested, and Langford unscathed

17 Danger on Cloud Seven- Howard K Hodgson of New York shoots himself in his office. Jimmy Delaney and Baker of NY Air Security question his widow. He had been on an air trip organised by The Count (Ferdy Mayne), so Garnett joins the next chartered flight of The Count's, talking to passengers who include actor Steve Hunt (Paul Carpenter), Hope (Adrienne Corri), and McHale (Howard Marion-Crawford), and among others the uncredited Arthur Lowe. Garnett suffers poisoning, Hope kindly helps him recover. After a sword fight, Garnett exposes the Count's racket

21 And Maya makes Three - Why has Air India hostess Veena Singh been murdered in her Calcutta hotel room? Garnett's secretary Maya volunteers to act as decoy, and to his and Jimmy's amusement takes a crash course in being a stewardess. But she gets her own back by spilling coffee in Jimmy's lap. On her first flight, passengers include Hanwell (Jack Watling) and Mrs Sykes (Nora Nicholson), but when you see Paul Stassino is the co-pilot, you surely need look no further. Maya checks into her hotel, closely watched by Garnett. Naturally all three of the above act suspiciously, but only one tries to strangle Maya

22 The Creators- Film starlet Didi (Nadja Regin) is introduced to us in a bath of frothy bubbles. Her scene is interrupted by a phone call warning she won't make 25. Jimmy has the pleasurable task of visiting her on the film set of Castle in the Clouds. The director (Alan Tilvern) doesn't impress him, even if she does. It seems like some publicity stunt, but she goes to impress Garnett, and he agrees to accompany her on the eve of her 25th birthday on the flight to Vienna. On the way over, while worry is driving her to drink, he reads the script. They reach Vienna safely, but Garnett has worked out the significance of the number 25, and joins the group on the set , and watches for an awfully long time. The scene with the cocktail mixer sees Garnett spring into action, dramatically stopping shooting and chucking the mixer to the man out to destroy her (Peter Dyneley). Note- this was the nineteenth in the series to be filmed

27 Key Witness - Antonio Sporinza (David Bauer) has been flown to England as a key witness. But as his daughter Angela returns from school, she is kidnapped, and Sporinza sees her being taken on to another plane. The flight is delayed. A plane spotter (Pip Rolls) confirms that the girl is on the Glasgow flight, so Garnett, posing as a photographer's model, leaps on board to rescue Angela

28 Hurricane - Jimmy Delaney has to cut short his holiday on a tropical isle when Hurricane Hilda strikes. At Carriacou Airport, there is panic to board the sole plane, Taggart (Gordon Tanner) tries bribing Jimmy, and many other passengers assail him. The plane is made as light as possible by removing all the seats, then comes the choice of who can join the flight, Taggart's method is to use a gun. Finally the plane takes off and Jimmy, presumably the hurricane has suddenly ceased, resumes his holiday with more than a passing ressemblance to John 'Danger Man' Drake

31 The Switch- Alex (William Lucas) has nicked the Goriot diamond in Paris and has smuggled it into London, unfortunately accidentally leaving it in Garnett's office! One of his gang, Jenkins (Alfred Burke) fails to retrieve it, so Alex phones Garnett who is at home in bed. His doctor has told him to take it easy as his blood pressure is too high. Alex asks Garnett to go to a dance studio with his coat. Dora, Alex's girl friend teaches Garnett to do the cha-cha, before running off with his coat. But though they thought it was, the diamond isn't in there. Jenkins returns the coat, then leads Garnett a merry dance as he tries to shake him off tailing him- all the clambering can't be good for Garnett's heart. Luckily when Garnett catches up with the gang, Jimmy shows up to prevent his boss' demise. The final scene has the doctor declaring Garnett's blood pressure is, incredibly, back to normal!

32 Triple Cross - Three wise oriental sheiks arrive at London Airport, where they are shadowed by two villains Hakim (Ferdy Mayne) and Suleman Bay (Warren Mitchell). They book into a swish country hotel, and a fortune in jewellery is stashed in the safe. Posing as tv engineers, the two baddies nick the gems. In Garnett's office they are apprehended and the property returned to Sheik Abdul Pasha. But Garnett, with a touch of humour, has a job sorting out just who does own them

33 Delayed Reaction - Big Ben is chiming 5pm as a man falls from a fourth storey window, down on to a pavement. An opportunist thief steals the dead man's briefcase, but is arrested. In the case is evidence that a passenger on the plane to Athens has been poisoned, but which one of the eight on board? Garnett despatches Jimmy Delaney to Brussels Airport to liaise with agent Andre Bouchard. Miss Baker the stewardess introduces Jimmy to the possible victims: Mrs Andrews, Mrs Gates (Sarah Lawson), Saunders (Nigel Green), Mr and Mrs Williams, Rev Salomon, Betty, and Muller. Numerous red herrings distract Jimmy who finally gets to the poor poisoned one. A doctor treats her, while Jimmy tricks the poisoner (Geoffrey Keen) into a confession

35 A Case of Charity- On a flight, a girl passenger bursts into tears, it's a diversion worked by gentleman confidence trickster Frank Littlefield (Cecil Parker). When one of the notes from a stolen airport payroll is changed in Rome, Garnett meets up with Gassini of Rome Air Security and they hatch a plan to use Frank to entrap the boss behind the payroll theft (Francis de Wolff). Once more the girl is in tears, since her dad has apparently died...

36 And One To Go - In Paris, HP Finch (Charles Lloyd Pack) loses at lot in a fixed game of cards, and shoots the dealer dead, or so he believes. He flees on the flight to London, on which Garnett is also travelling. The passenger next to him goes down with smallpox, and everyone has to be inoculated. But Finch panics, as does Mrs Marian Dorlian (Moira Redmond) and both run away. Garnett finds her at home, and diplomatically keeps the secret of her illicit weekend from her husband (Patrick Holt). He catches up with Finch at the airport, and sorts out his problem also

39 Excess Baggage- With his four wives, a sheik arrives at London Airport. One named Anees hides in a supply room. Having got her description and photo, Jimmy Delaney, with a little help from Maya, traces Nadja (Petra Davies), who tries unsuccessfully tries to fool the sheik into believing she is the missing wife. Jimmy discovers Anees hiding in Nadja's flat. Rasool, the sheik's right hand man, attempts to push her from an upper window, but Jimmy saves her. With a new assistant, the sheik departs with three wives. He gives the now liberated Anees, dressed in a beatnik style jumper, a ticket to Hollywood

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Return Trip

Garnett is in Detroit being interviewed on tv. On his trip back, he sits next to a nervous woman, who claims she has lost her memory. So he drops her off at Chicago, where she disappears.
We see her changing her appearance, donning dark glasses, and flying back to Detroit. She checks into a hotel, and makes for room 127, to shoot Harry, her husband. Then she returns to Chicago, dressing as herself once more, and is found wandering in a car park, apparently still uncertain who she is. In fact she is Margo Jennings (Patricia Neal).
Garnett escorts her to hospital, where she recovers. She tries phoning her husband to assure him all is all right, but is shocked to learn the bad news. Captain Tyler (Lionel Murton) says Harry is "very dead," suicide. She refuses to accept this.
But Garnett "smells something fishy," and of course he's right. We see her in the arms of Mike (Bill Nagy). "I killed him... I did it for us," she admits to him.
But by an oversight, she has left some evidence, her plane ticket, in room 127 and she persuades Mike to retrieve it. However he is arrested, a fall guy for her. But Garnett is able to break her alibi.
Some American/English language humor from elevator boy Jerome 'Dukie,' which Garnett reciprocates at the end

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Deadly Angels
A beautiful fairy doll. It's dismembered to reveal its contents. Ah Chen of International Air Security in Hong Kong is then killed, resulting in Garnett flying in to continue the investigation into dope smuggling. Chen's junior Jerry Wang tells how Chen had befriended and helped him, taking him from the orphanage where he had grown up. Garnett visits this Mission of Light and Hope, run by Rev Judd BPeteer Maddern) and assisted by Len Fu (Jacqui Chan). The money to run the mission is obtained from pedalling toys across the world that they make there. Garnett is impressed with Judd's kindness towards his ch rackets when arg t , for the wire that makes up the halo of a fairy, is identical to the piece of wire clutched in Chen's dying hand.
The bank account of Judd is inspected: "not exactly a fortune," notes the manager. But hold on, there's just been a deposit of $15,000. When Judd is asked to explain he is unconcerned: "suspicion is your business, mine is faith."
The next export consignment of dolls is opened by customs. Every doll is smashed. Nothing. Garnett checks on a second crate, and with Judd and Len Fu watching, he smashes a doll. Len Fu protests, and with reason, for "your angel dolls," he advises the shocked Judd, "have been carrying heroin." It was Len Fu, and she rants against his other worldliness. Her mute accomplice is in the wings, and she spurs him on to finish Garnett off ("if you love me, kill him"). It is Judd who ends the violence. Len Fu runs off, but in her haste, is run over by Jerry's car.
At the airport, Judd bids Garnett farewell. Garnett generously donates the $15,000 to pay for all those dolls he had smashed.

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A small Selkirk Airways plane crashes into the sea, the pilot Dunk (Jerry Stovin) rescued.
Garnett is in Vancouver to decide if the firm deserve being awarded a passenger licence, so he questions the employees of the business, but Jo (Jeannie Carson) has briefed them well. Dunk however realises that such a licence "is going to be murder," since the downdraft in the vicinity is too hazardous.
Jo puts Garnett up for the night and takes him Scottish country dancing where Dunk becomes jealous of Garnett's attentions to Jo. After some some rough stuff, Dunk is pushed into a pool of mud. That decides Dunk to propose to her, but what he doesn't know is that Garnett is sleeping in Jo's bedroom, and through a closed door, he proposes only to Garnett!
Next morning, she takes him up to show him the route of the plane that crashed. She has deliberately not refuelled the plane, and they have to land in a remote spor, where they find a convenient shack. She wants to persuade him to grant that licence, but he pretends to make advances, but is interrupted by Dunk, who has miraculously appeared from nowhere. Dunk smacks Jo's backside before taking them back to base.
Garnett cannot grant the licence and adds a moral message. The Selkirk employees half threaten to lynch Garnett, but Jo sees him away safely. Back in Vancouver Garnett offers a few mitigating words on behalf of Selkirk Airways

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Ghost Strip

200 miles from nowhere is a remote African landing strip. A forced landing here finds noone manning the place. Jimmy Delaney phones Garnett from Nairobi about the mystery and he's asked to investigate.
The only two workers at the strip are Renston and Smith, "decent chaps" according to local police chief Rogers (Maurice Hedley). But where have they got to? "This place gives me the willies," declares pilot 1, whilst the other (John Bonney) observes "the tea was still hot," just like the Marie Celeste. Yet tea had been laid for three, so who else had been there? The only other plane there has broken down, and in it Jimmy finds bars of gold, stolen in a recent robbery. That night Ahmed who is guarding the plane has his neck broken. Rogers decides to fly off for reinforcements, leaving Jimmy and the gold as "bait." In the dark bushes Jimmy crouches, and finds the bodies of Renston and Smith. Amidst the croaking of frogs and the sounds of African night life, he waits. Then gunshots- Jimmy has to shoot a dangerous looking snake. That noise drives off the killer.
But he emerges next morning with a gun pointed at Jimmy, who is ordered to repair the stricken plane. But his gun has no cartridges and so the thief and murderer is caught. "Good show," exclaims the returning Rogers.

Zero One Menu







The Body
Two New York villains take the frozen corpse of hoodlum Happy Jack and ship him air freight to London. However the declare the body as that of Sir Philip Humbolt, who disappeared into obscurity ten years ago. The pair are Archie Vance (Hugh McDermott) and "his number one playmate" Ziggy. Air security chief Alan Garnett is an old acquaintance of Vance (see #11) who declares "I'm a reformed man." Garnett is not going to believe that! What Archie hasn't explained is that he's working for a relation of Sir Philip called Cecil (Jeremy Lloyd), who has traced his uncle, now living happily in a doss house. Cecil will inherit the unspent fortune "when the old man kicks off," but that event needs hastening. However they don't want to get into any murder rap, so this is their plan....
Step One- Collect Happy Hack's coffin from the airport. However Garnett doesn't trust that "warped, bent, calculating mind" of Archie's and traces Cecil to his home.
Step Two- Poison the real Sir Philip, just to knock him out, not to kill him. There's a nice moment as the incompetent Ziggy wonders if he's drinking the doped drink instead of Sir Philip.
Step Three- Archie poses as a doctor, and takes Sir Philip away to a 'hospital.'
Step Four- switch bodies and get Bronson, Sir Philip's solicitor, to identify the body. "RIP," sighs the solicitor. "Alleluia," responds Archie.
But Garnett has been watching proceedings and the bodies have not quite been swapped back when the police break in. "Archie, haven't you got a body too many?" quips Garnett, as Happy Jack lies frozen on the floor. Archie shakes Garnett's hand as he is taken off to jail.
This is a tongue-in-cheek tale that ends with Sir Philip sitting up in his coffin, very much alive, but a little mystified

Zero One Menu





The New Adventures of Martin Kane
starring William Gargan
1 Missing Daughter (pilot)
2 Kidnap Story
30 Railroad Story
32 Race to the Finish There had been several American series about Martin Kane, but this is the seriously forgotten British series starring the creator of the role.
A pilot was made at Rotherhithe Studios in July 1956, and with the series approved, shooting at Elstree Studios commenced about February 1957, lasting 19 weeks. 39 stories were made in total.
Some location shooting was done, including an episode with scenes shot in Paris with Gargan and Betty McDowall (possibly #3 Passport Ring Story). It was stated that this series was "made on location in all the countries of Western Europe," but although this was one of the first British dramas to use extensive location shooting, I can't believe it was that far ranging.
Martin Kane was screened in USA from the middle of April 1957. The series was also sold to Spain, dubbed in Spanish.
Quite why it was largely disappeared from view is a mystery that only Kane himself might have been able to solve. True, this was really British ABC's first effort to make their own filmed series, but it's more viewable than the earlier American made stories, and has its own charm, especially in Brian Reece as Inspector Page, who stiff upper lippedly attempts to rein in Gargan's enthusastic American methods.
To Crime Menu






Missing Daughter

In Monaco, American Jim Wilson and his daughter Lorraine (Kay Callard) are holidaying, but she disappears from their hotel room.
Ex-colonel in the US Air Force, Martin Kane, who has been in London for five years, is asked to investigate since Lorraine had had a breakdown when her fiance had died two months ago. In Monte Carlo she had fallen for an artist James Richards (Martin Benson), fast, unstable, selfish. The Lucinda is his boat and according to Lloyd's register, it is docked a few miles offshore near the Thames estuary.
So Kane takes a launch to this boat, and learns that Lorraine is on board, here of her own free will. Inspector Hedley of the Yard (John Warwick) tells Kane that Richards is a known diamond smuggler, usually employing an innocent dupe as a courier, yes that's Lorraine. When she comes ashore she is put under surveillance. She calls at a shop, emerging with a box of paints, then goes on to Kane's office where she has a heart to heart with her father, which amounts to "dad, I'm going to marry him."
Kane opens the paint box, the tubes of paint are systematically squeezed, but no diamonds are revealed. The box is in bits so a replica is given to Lorraine, but when she presents this to Richards he is not at all pleased.
He has to risk the trip ashore to retrieve the original box. Up a fire escape, Richards climbs into Kane's flat, and despite the fact that police are watching the place, after a fight he succeeds in running off with the remains of the box.
That sets off a long police chase, with Richards making for his launch at Tower Bridge. Cleverly eluding the cops, he reaches it and sets course for the safety of the three mile limit. But police give chase and by Rotherhithe they are closing, so Richards leaps ashore, still clutching his box, and is pursued round the docks until cornered, "you can stop running, Mr Richards."
Louise is now safe home. Those diamonds are discovered in the lid of the paint box, you'd have thought Kane would have had the brains to think of that one!

Martin Kane Menu






Kidnap Story aka The Boxer
Joey Reardon (Lee Patterson) is in London for a big boxing match. But his wife Helen (Lisa Gastoni) is kidnapped. She'll come to no harm as long as he throws the fight. "Kidnapping is almost unheard of in England," Kane informs us, but this is a rare case. Wisely Reardon informs the US Embassy and they point him in Martin Kane's direction. In turn, he does call in Scotland Yard, Supt Page, who promises absolute secrecy.
Reardon's boxing contacts are checked out and his phone tapped. "It takes time to trace a call," (unlike these days) and preparations are made to do this as efficiently as possible. At 4pm a call comes through, the message repeating the same instructions to Reardon. This call is traced to a phone booth, but of course it is long deserted. No clues can be found at all.
Dominic, his manager, realises he is in no condition to fight properly.
Mrs Reardon is still a prisoner, the boss of the gang is Anders (Leonard Sachs), who is placing bets on the match all over the continent. His ally Hollis (Kenneth Griffith) is getting jumpy and allows her to phone her husband to tell him she's OK.
This call is taped, and a strange background noise is picked up, a kind of whining. Analysing it, Kane surmises it is a jet engine. The most likely address is Stanley Aircraft Works so police swoop on the area, sealing off a street.
The boss is caught as he attempts to sneak away, his voice bretraying the fact that he had made one of the phone calls. Hollis tries to get away using Mrs Reardon as a hostage, but Kane sneaks up on him, and in order to get away has to let her go. After a chase Hollis too is arrested.
At the fight, Joey delivers a KO in the second round

Martin Kane Menu








Railroad Story
script by Brian Clemens (as Tony O'Grady).
The title is not very appropriate, since the story is about a swindle involving hospital drugs.

Ray Dilling (Walter Gotell), a director of Anglo Canadian Chemicals sabotages his own firm by replacing a batch of drugs with a lethal chemical.
Another director, Bill Wright Jr, calls in Martin Kane who tries "a long shot," bugging the factory.
Playing over the tapes, Kane hears a voice which Wright identifies as Dilling's, directing an employee to doctor Assignment K7. At the rail depot, Supt Page catches the gang of three tampering with K7 and they are arrested.
A ten year old girl is the latest victim of being given the wrong drug, and proof has to be found to convict Dilling.
So Kane joins the firm and in a rehearsed scene is questioned by Supt Page over a crime. Dilling kindly gives Kane a false alibi, in return for which Kane is asked to deliver a package to Paris. It contains banknotes. Kane delivers it to M Bouzanne who is a legitimate stockbroker.
Gilling's plan becomes evident. He's out to create a scandal to force the company shares down, so he can buy them cheaply. But with the little girl set to recover, it looks as though shares won't be falling.
Another tape reveals Dilling has become desperate. He is going to the hospital to kill the girl! Supt Page and Kane arrive just as he's about to inject her. Dilling runs off, there's a chase through the streets and on to Tower Bridge, where Dilling is cornered. "Case all wrapped up"

Martin Kane Menu
















32 Race to the Finish

A lesson on the evils of gambling.
The Sport of Kings... and Crooks, like Brandon Hall (Peter Illing) and Max Laymer (John Harvey). One of their sucker clients is John Parker (Gaylord Cavallaro), a US businessman who starts betting beyond his means. �200 on Lillywhite. "He's almost at rock bottom," so Laymer helps him on his way. He provides a hot tip for Parker, Saucy Sue, but Parker just hasn't enough cash. Why not 'borrow' it from his firm? When the sure snip fails to come in, John is easy blackmail material.
His boss but also his friend, Forrester, suspecting embezzlement, calls in Martin Kane, who having questioned some touts, has picked up on Parker's heavy betting habit. But Mrs Parker (Ann Sears) knows nothing of her husband's dilemma. Checking on Parker's business contacts, it seems the Ashton Machinery Company are still awaiting goods ordered through Parker.
Reluctantly, Forrester accepts Kane's report and they agree to call in the discreet aid of Supt Page. Parker is arrested and does confess, for he had wanted to break from Hall and Laymer. To redeem himself, Parker agrees to play along in an entrapment.
At the race course, Page and Kane watch as Parker makes a rendezvous with the crooks, passing them the �1,000 blackmail money that will allegedly free Parker. Of course they demand more, but Supt Page swoops. However Hall draws a gun and takes Parker hostage. The crooks get away but the tick tack men relay a message that they have made for the Owners' Parking Lot. Here, amid the shooting, Parker grabs Laymer and Kane jumps on Hall from behind. Thanks to his valuable assistance, "the future didn't look too dark" for John Parker

Martin Kane Menu






(Many thanks to Jean- Michel for his painstaking research into this series which was definitely shown on American television. However the series was never screened on British tv.)
Produced in 1952 by Ambassador Film Productions Ltd.
Shot at Bushey Film Studios. Producer: Gilbert Church. Director of all episodes: Victor M Gover. Screenplays: John Gilling. Director of photography: S.D. Onions. Art director: Don Chaffey. Editor: Helen Wiggins. Special music composed by W.L. Trytel. Assistant Director: John Workman. MKP: Harry Webber. Continuity: Gladys Reeve. Sound recordist: Peter Birch (GVI Recording).

Picture: Frank Hawkins was a semi regular as Inspector Cranshaw, here seen in the last story.

Surviving stories (if you have #4, #6,#8, #11, I'll be glad to swap):
1 Scarlet Letter
2 The Case of the Green Eye
3 The Case of the Wise Monkeys
5 The Red Flame
7 Murder at Scotland Yard
9 Reilly at Bay
10 Dark Passage
12 Death at the Festival (cinema release as Murder at the Grange)
13 Showdown

To Crime Menu

Details of the 13 stories made:

Notes: The 3 first episodes were released as a feature, KING OF THE UNDERWORLD, released in 1952. Episodes 7, 8 and 9 released as the feature MURDER AT SCOTLAND YARD in 1954. Episode 13 released as a featurette (BBC tv screened it this century, Talking Pictures TV first showed it in 2016).
The title of this first episode is according to an old US television magazine.
Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter (Morley's secretary)
Len Sharp.......................... Mr. Mullins
John Morley, late of Scotland Yard, is approached by a married woman who is being blackmailed by a crook for compromising letters (this society woman has committed an indiscretion). Morley soon discovers that the extortionist is Terence Reilly, homicidal King of the Underworld, and his arch enemy.

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Ingeborg Wells.................. Marie Stewart, alias Joyce Winters, alias Coleen Fenton
David Davies..................... George
Anne Valerie (Valery).......... Susan
A woman is kidnapped to obtain a valuable emerald as a ransom. Of course, Terence Reilly is the real culprit, helped by his accomplice Marie who was the maid of the victim. Spike, a member of the gang, tries to blackmail Reilly but is killed by the arch-criminal. Inspector Morley witnessed the murder. Disguised with a beard he infiltrates the gang and unmasks the woman's husband as one of Reilly's accomplices.

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Frank Hawkins................... Insp. Cranshaw
An old scientist visits Morley and tells him that his young assistant has disappeared. Reilly murders the scientist to secure his secret formula, for sale it to foreign powers. Eileen Trotter, Morley's secretary, is kidnapped but Morley saves her from an acid bath in the nick of time. But Reilly escapes the police... (note: in the "feature" version, this is immediately followed by a conclusion where Morley tells us that Reilly was finally seized and hanged for his crimes.)

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Tom Macaulay................... Insp. Grant
Clifford Buckton
Hilda Barry
Erik Chitty

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Tom Macaulay................... Insp. Grant
Dorothy Bramhall.............. Maria Flame
Arthur Howard.............. Theatrical Costumier
A gang of car thieves is at large in London; during their latest raid, a young motor mechanic was critically injured, prompting police to step up efforts to apprehend them. Head of the gang is Maria Flame, alias The Red Flame, a former pickpocket's assistant whom Terence Reilly had helped to transform into a major-league criminal. Following his escape from prison one week earlier, Reilly is hiding out with Maria, blackmailing her to give him �10,000 in exchange for not exposing her to the police. Morley � who has already identified one of the car thieves as Phelps, a known associate of Riley's from the 'Green Eye' case � responds to an enigmatic classified advert placed by Maria, offering 'profit' to a 'young man in search of adventure.' He goes to meet her disguised with a false beard as a Frenchman named Pierre. She offers him �1000 to kill Reilly, but the latter subsequently sneaks back into Maria's flat, leading to a struggle at the end of which both Reilly and Flame are arrested.

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Rita Birkett....................... Pauline

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Tom Macaulay................... Insp. Grant
Michael Moore................. Fred Carstairs
Dorothy Bramhall............. Maria Flame
T. Nichols......................... policeman
Verne Morgan
Cyril Conway
Terence Reilly, gang leader, determines to liquidate his arch enemies, Fred Carstairs of the Yard and Inspector Morley, private investigator, both of whom are hot on his trail. Reilly conceives the idea of anonymously presenting them both with a radio set which will explode and kill them. His plan works so far as Carstairs is concerned, but misfires in the Case of Morley. The shop where the sets were purchased is located, and after a number of exciting adventures Reilly and his accomplice Maria Flame are tracked down and arrested.

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Dorothy Bramhall.............. Mrs Lester (Maria Flame's sister)
Joss Ambler...................... Lester
Patrick Boxill.................... Spud
Louise Grainger................ Miss Wilson
Brenda Bauell.................. secretary
David Davies.................... George
Reilly escapes whilst awaiting trial on a capital charge. Morley and a man named Foxley are the prosecution's chief witnesses. Morley is warned by Inspector Grant of the Yard of his danger, as loyal associates of Reilly are seeking to eliminate the witnesses and Foxley has disappeared. Morley investigates, but Foxley is murdered. Reilly's accomplice who committed the crime is caught, but Reilly is still at large, and in another of his many disguises is now engaged in diamond robberies.

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Tom Macaulay................... Insp. Grant
Roger Delgado.................. George Grayson
Judith Nelmes.................. Mrs. Foxley
Scott Harold..................... Mr. Foxley
Humphrey Kent............... Major Fry
Rita Birkett...................... Pauline
T. Nichols........................ policeman
Stewart Yantan............... Pat Campbell
William Nicke................ policeman
Hugh Gort...................... policeman
Roy Russell

Tod Slaughter....................Terence Reilly / Patrick Reilly (his brother)
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Frank Hawkins................... Inspector Cranshaw
Dorothy Primrose.............. Mrs. Hawkins
Andrew Laurence.............. Penshaw
Ian Fleming....................... police doctor
Carl Lacey......................... Mr. Hawkins
Charles Leno..................... Crossley
Joanna Black..................... waitress
Jill Dunkley....................... telephonist
Walter Horsbrugh............. Brent
Ian Sadler......................... Brown
Jack Midwinter................. policeman

Tod Slaughter.................... Reilly (Terence or Patrick ?)
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Frank Hawkins................... Inspector Cranshaw
Amy Dalby......................... Amelia
Dagmar Wynter................. Angela
Jack Newmark................... Glyn
Sidney Hunt ...................... police clerk
Dennis Cowles.................. Dr. Penn
Cara Stevens..................... secretary
Isobel George................... hairdresser

Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Frank Hawkins................... Insp Cranshaw
Grace Denbigh-Russell...... Cynthia Quelch
Margaret Boyd.................. Agatha Quelch
Tod Slaughter................... Patrick Reilly, posing as Clarence Beacham, a butler
Peter Forbes-Robertson... young clerk
George Bishop.................. senior clerk
Pat Neal............................ maid
John Sanger...................... policeman
Ned Lynch........................ sergeant
Pamela Harrington........... Agatha at 19
Tony Spear....................... Richard Parker
John Miller...................... manservant
Note: when they decided to release this short theatrically, in re-making the new credits (after the change of title) they simply forgot to mention Tod Slaughter, the star of the series! The first five names are the only ones credited in this version. The others came from personal seach at the Film Archives of BFI, like most of the credits mentioned for the series.
An involved story of mysterious murders in Victorian family and two elderly spinster sisters, the only remaining members. The murders are thought to be committed by rejected suitor, full of hatred and revenge. Detective Inspector Morley is called to The Grange by Cynthia Quelch who is fearful that she is the next member of the family on the murderer's list. Her sister Agatha, supposedly confined to a wheel chair, is filled with insane hatred for the world, and particularly her family who were responsible for the broken love affair of her youth. When Cynthia is killed, Morley with the help of Scotland Yard's Inspector Cranshaw, finds incriminating evidence damning Agatha who with the help of her manservant has contrived to satisfy her revenge.

Tod Slaughter.................... Reilly
Patrick Barr....................... Inspector John Morley
Tucker McGuire................. Eileen Trotter
Frank Hawkins................... Inspector Cranshaw

Many thanks to Jean-Claude Michel for this section. Thanks are also due to Robert J. Kiss for the information about the American broadcast of the series.
To Inspector Morley






Scarlet Letter
Terence Reilly, currently a Hatton Garden diamond merchant, is "tall, sinister looking, frightening charm." He is blackmailing Lady Sylvia Gray, to hand him the Gray Diamond, in return for her compromising letters. Her only recourse is suicide, but she is rescued from Boulter's Lock.
A few years ago she'd consulted Inspector Morley but fear of scandal forced her not to press charges.That decision was a huge disappointment to Morley who had been trying to catch this master criminal for years, ever since he'd killed a fellow police officer.
Mullins is another crook, acting as a go-between, arranging a deal whereby his boss Alec Trent will buy all the blackmail material for his own criminal purposes. Morley poses as Trent to arrange a face to face meeting with his nemesis.
1 Hatfield Gardens Clapham Park is the empty property where it comes to pass. Morley pins Reilly down but the latter has been shrewd enough not to bring any of the letters with him, so Morley leaves him bound and gagged and taken the keys to Reilly's safe, with no lack of scruple that previously he had shown. However a puncture then a traffic jam delay him and Reilly, who had wriggled free, thwarts Morley's plan, "one of us is just a little smarter than the other." Now it's Morley's turn to be trussed up, "then I'm going to kill you."
Rescue comes in the form of Eileen, Morley's secretary. Posing as an American, name of Trent, she buys those blackmail letters in a nice exchange in which Reilly admires her charms and even decides that in future he might call himself 'Miss Reilly.' Too late Reilly realises he's been tricked, she's paid with counterfeit money! But Reilly has been cunning himself, only handing her duplicates. Morley has freed himself and he snatches the real letters and departs with this promise to Reilly, "I'll follow you to hell," since he can't prosecute him as yet because of the danger of scandal.
Uncredited speaking parts: Lady Sylvia Gray (Katherine Black), Sir Donald Gray, a boy playing football who finds Reilly
Inspector Morley Menu






The Green Eye
In her flash sports car CGG240 Susan is held at gunpoint.
Blandford her uncle receives a kidnap note demanding the Green Eye emerald valued at �10,000 for her safe return. He consults Inspector Morley, who advises ignoring the threat for the time being, "she's of more value to them alive than dead."
Marie Stewart, the Blandford maid, she's a convicted criminal associated with Reilly- Morley is quickly on to that! Eileen Trotter is deputed by Morley to watch Reilly's Hatton Garden office, while Morley blames Blandford, who has gone against his advice and handed over the emerald. However Susan has not been released.
In fact she cannot be released since old lag Spike, in a fit of drunkenness has told Susan that Reilly is her kidnapper. Reilly orders Spike to dispose of her. But in one of those improbable coincidences, Morley happens to have seen Spike in the street and "curiosity" makes him follow the crook to the house where his boss George is holding Susan. Spike is paid off and of course spends his ill gotten gains in a pub. He staggers to Reilly's office to demand the Green Eye, the pair fight and Spike is stabbed to death.
A man called Archie, Morley with a thick beard, approaches Reilly offering to bump Morley off as well as the girl. In fact the simple plot becomes more elaborate as the inspector uses his chance to expose the mastermind behind the kidnap. He kindly explains to the gang the errors they always make, "simple deduction" solved this case. It's a neatly done finish though regrettably Reilly must have penetrated Morley's disguise and "the old fox got away again."
Uncredited speaking parts: Blandford, Spike Mulligan

Inspector Morley Menu






The Case of the Wise Monkeys

Scene 1 shows Inspector Morley waiting with Inspector Cranshaw. The former relates how this case had begun.
Scientist John Harrison had approached him two weeks ago. His new discovery is XYQ, but he is worried as his assistant Paul Roger has disappeared, and so have elements of his formula.
Morley's secretary Eileen Trotter had found out that a typewritten note from the crooks was executed on a Derwent Portable Mk II. Now crooked diamond merchant Terence Reilly had purchased such a machine, though when she asks him, he denies it.
Reilly is up to his old tricks, strangling Harrison in order to search his home for the rest of the formula.
Eileen is in danger too. Walking along a street to work, Reilly kidnaps her, bundling her away in his car.
A stranger calls at Reilly's office, pretty obvious it's Morley with a moustache and beard and glasses, but Reilly is slow on the uptake. The stranger wants to buy a diamond, and admires the ring Reilly is wearing. Now its shape matches exactly the indentation in the dead professor's neck. Too late Reilly works out who this stranger is.
In a typical Tod Slaughter scene, with several wonderfully corny lines, the crook attempts to make a deal with Morley, "clever Morley, but not quite clever enough." Eileen Trotter is offered in exchange for the damning evidence of the ring that Morley has got. No, responds the inspector. "Then Miss Trotter will trot no more."
Roger has approached Reilly, �5,000 for the formula. Morley chases him across a bombsite but loses him when Roger grabs a car. Morley hails a taxi, but it's too late.
That brings us back to the opening scene. Hoping for Eileen's release, and for news that Roger's car is spotted. It is, and Roger is tailed to a warehouse.
In another typical Slaughter scene showing him at his nasty best, Reilly has concocted a bath of nitric acid for Eileen's benefit. When Roger joins Reilly at the warehouse, the Yard swoop and Roger is under arrest. Reilly however, tips the bath over to cut off pursuit, and exits a free man. But Inspector Cranshaw doesn't seem bothered, "Reilly won't get far."

For the ending of the tv story- Reilly remains a free man.

The feature length film has one final scene to round it off. Reilly is caught and on the prison notice board, a note as to his time of execution is posted.
Inspector Morley concludes with a mini sermon.
Uncredited speaking parts: John Harrison, the scientist, The assistant in the typewriter shop, Paul Roger

Inspector Morley Menu






The Red Flame
A string of cars have been stolen, the latest being KUC450 from the Circle Car Mart, Western Avenue, where a mechanic is coshed, winding up in hospital. Is there any connection with the fact that Terence Reilly had escaped prison the week previously? "The heat's on."
Reilly is hiding out at the flat of his prodigy Maria Flame, she who had been taught all she knows about crime from the master, "your beauty finished the job." So she owes him one, �10,000 to be more precise to help him. She's got the cash, from the proceeds of all these car robberies, for it is she who is the brains behind this gang. However she is reluctant to hand him all that cash. "Oh frailty, thy name is woman," laments Reilly. "Oh shut up" is her more unpoetic response.
Inspector Morley recognises one of the car thieves as Phelps, an associate of Reilly on the Green Eye case. According to Inspector Grant of the Yard, Reilly has been seen in Paris, but Morley is convinced that this proves he's still in London.
The car of a Dr Simpson is stolen, a note warns him off telling the police. But he does consult Morley, who smells the exclusive Parisian perfume on the notepaper.
Morley buys a beard from a theatrical costumier, then makes his way to Maria Flame's flat. She has been advertising for someone in search of adventure. After Maria meets the bearded Pierre, it transpires the job, for �1,000, is to kill "someone who has been annoying me." You can guess who.
Phelps is assigned to tail Pierre, just to make sure he doesn't renege on the deal. But Morley outwits him and has him arrested.
The final drama. In the best Tod Slaughter manner, Reilly ascends the fire escape to Maria's flat. "You shall pay for this," her double cross that is. Enter Pierre with a gun. A struggle, as Maria watches on. Then the police burst in and arrest Reilly
Uncredited speaking parts: A thief called Phelps. A garage mechanic. A police constable. A radio announcer. A theatrical costumier (Arthur Howard). Dr Simpson
Inspector Morley Menu






Murder at Scotland Yard
Reilly has escaped from prison! He's somewhere in Soho.
At Scotland Yard, Inspector Carstairs stupidly opens a package, a radio "from an old admirer." The tension builds well, for we can guess, even if Carstairs can't, what's going to occur.
"Get the doctor!" Too late. "Murder by radio," gloats Reilly, and a double one too he hopes, for Inspector Morley has been sent an identical present.
His secretary, Miss Eileen Trotter unpacks it, but since it needs a plug- stupid mistake by Reilly- she cannot switch it on. A kind window cleaner does the job for her, "there we are." But by now Miss Trotter has left the office to meet her boss at Piccadilly Circus.
He has been with Inspector Grant at the Yard sifting through the rubble in the late Carstairs' office. A photo of Maria Flame is mysteriously intact, "slippery as an eel." The radio is traced to a "store" in Wood Green run by Miss Elaine Wilson.
The window cleaner is plugging in the radio when Morley returns, he switches off the sweet music in a haste, then defuses the bomb.
Miss Trotter has been delegated to watch the radio shop, but she is kidnapped. Reilly devises another fiendish plot to dispose of his enemy. "I'm going to settle with that gentleman once for all. It's either Morley or me."
The pair meet face to face in the radio shop. They fight but Morley is shot by Reilly's accomplice and dragged away into a car thence to Reilly's hideout. Here, Miss Trotter has managed to get away, "stand still Reilly," she shouts, and so Reilly and Maria Flame are recaptured

Inspector Morley Menu






Reilly at Bay
Terence Reilly is finally behind bars- again! But Eileen is sure she has recently seen him in Trafalgar Square!
She informs her boss, Morley, who has just interrupted an intruder in his office. He is arrested. Neither Morley nor Inspector Grant believe that Eileen could have seen Reilly, but just to make sure, Grant checks with the prison governor, "of course he hasn't escaped!"
It is clear that Reilly's gang are intent on silencing all witnesses who will be testifying against Reilly at his trial. Albert Foxley is one, but he has disappeared. According to his wife, he went off in a blue car with a stranger. In fact his corpse is found dumped in Reily's own car! Inspector Grant tracks down the blue car, it had been stolen from a Major Fry, in whose garage Morley discovers a clue, an unusual comb. The major doesn't recognise it, and Eileen traces this to a woman she sees with Reilly himself. She follows the girl, Pauline.
Grant questions Mrs Foxley about her husband's extra cash he had earned. In a flashback we see how she learned he was being blackmailed into working for the gang. Mrs Foxley is given protection.
Eileen's vision of Reilly is explained. She takes Patrick, Reilly's brother, to meet Morley. "Terence was "always the black sheep."

Cars: RWL729 Inspector Morley. KUU7 Pauline. BUL909 taxi

Inspector Morley Menu






Dark Passage
John Hawkins phones Inspector Morley for help, but is shot dead immediately, another caught by blackmail, "typical Reilly victims."
With Insp Cranshaw, Morley visits Hawkins' address in Kilburn. Blackmail letters are found before they are interrupted by a woman in tears, she's Mrs Hawkins, "I never liked Reilly," she tells them.
Terence Reilly is still in jail, awaiting trial. But his brother Patrick is behind this, "I got it all figured out," the killer informs Reilly, he will pin the murder on to Roland Brown, who had been convicted of a jewel robbery four years ago and was released last month. Terence corresponds with his brother via coded letters.
Morley poses as Hawkins, and says he cannot pay the blackmail demand. Mrs Hawkins is advertising for a maid, and Eileen is persuaded to apply. She witneses Mrs Hawkins leave the house in a car driven by a man. Their destination turns out to be Patrick Reilly's house.
Morley interviews Brown, who now works at a garage.
Cranshaw learns that Mrs Hawkins had recently split with her late husband. He also speaks with Reilly in jail, who is too much on his guard to reveal anything incriminating.
Morley talks with the widow about her relationship with Reilly, but they are interrupted by the killer, who conveniently reveals the whole plot. He is about to bump off Morley, but the police arrive, not as late as they usually are, in time to round the gang up

Inspector Morley Menu






Death at the Festival (Murder at The Grange)
Phone call for Morley from a Miss Cynthia Quelch of The Grange, Princes Risborough. In his Morris Minor, the detective drives down from London, to discuss Miss Quelch's problem. Before Morley even talks to her he knows what it is, for the door is opened by the butler none other than Morley's old nemesis Reilly, last seen running a marriage bureau.
He ushers Morley in, Cynthia explains her invalid sister Agatha is her worry. The events go back fifty years to when a Richard Parker had wanted to marry her, but their father had not consented because Richard's father was in prison. Parker had sworn revenge on the Quelch family, ten years later Mr Quelch had died in mysterious circumstances. A long gap before last year, at the Festival of Britain (hence the original title of the story), their only brother Roger had died. Find Parker, Cynthia begs. Morley's initial advice is sack Clarence the butler, alias Reilly. But that is impossible, according to Agatha, so just what is he up to here?
Inspector Cranshaw learns from the American police that Parker had died in 1910, the valet and chief suspect was never traced. Now Patrick Reilly was known to be in the USA about then.
To protect the two surviving sisters, Morley stays at The Grange. He discovers love letters from Parker to Agatha. "It must be Reilly," he decides. But when Cynthia takes her afternoon rest, she is strangled in her locked room. How did the killer get in? Cynthia's cup of milk is still warm, suggesting she had only just died.
Inspector Cranshaw warns, "keep an eye on the butler." A smart piece of detective work proves just how Cynthia was murdered, and evidence helpfully points the police to the actual killer.
The evil exposed, a dagger is improbably drawn, but it's not long before arrests are made. But can anything be proved against Reilly? The detectives end by mulling over the case
Inspector Morley Menu






In jail, Terence Reilly is awaiting sentence. Brother Patrick is being taken away by train to prison. But he jumps off and escapes.
An anonymous call tips off where Patrick is hiding out. Secretary Eileen takes this call for Morley, and as her boss is out, she goes alone to the address, and finds herself at a seance. A voice materialises, that of Cynthia Quelch (see #12). However as an antagonistic spirit prevents her from saying more, the lights are switched out. The inevitable follows, screams and death! The medium has been strangled with a stocking.
Inspector Cranshaw questions the three others at the session, Mrs Corbett, Mr Earle and Mr Blair. It turns out that the dead woman was sister to John Fraser, whom Reilly had earlier murdered. Morley soon discovers a hidden mike, and works out that the maid had voiced Cynthia. The maid has now flown!
Mrs Corbett is also strangled with a stocking- it's a type sold at the market stall run by Blair. The missing maid shows up at Mrs Corbett's flat and reveals the truth. Then in walks Blair. Where's Reilly? He's gone to the docks to board a ship. He is re-arrested.
Morley addresses the camera to finish with a moral. The story meanders, with the search for Reilly peripheral. Tod Slaughter himself is hardly seen, and the door is left open whether the evil brothers will ever elude justice yet again. But the series never did do well enough to make that possibility come to fruition

Other speaking parts: Warder. Guard on train. Mme Defargot. Her maid. Mrs Corbett. Leslie Earle. Quentin Blair. Sergeant. Police doctor. Landlady. Photographer
Inspector Morley














Crime Club

Towers of London started at the end of June 1959 on this proposed series of one-off stories that hoped to repeat the success of Towers' earlier successful radio series of this name.

The first of the series to be made was Invitation to Murder.
The director was Robert Lynn, the writer Joel Murcott. Robert Beatty starred as Michael Steel, Ernest Thesiger as Sadouris Andrade, Lisa Daniely as Joan, and Douglas Wilmer as Insp Marquand. Others in the cast were Catherine Feller, John Howlett, Bud Knapp, Denis Shaw, Guy Kingsley Poynter, Keith Pyott, Tony Thawnton and Olga Dickie. A bed ridden eccentric leaves his money to the last beneficiary to survive him: one of his two grand-daughters, or his lawyer, his secretary or his nurse. A private eye (Robert Beatty) vies with the police to solve the crimes. This story was not well received by St John Roberts, who wrote after seeing it, "a very heavy handed drama which was supposed to look like one of those creepy French thrillers... We had a millionaire who proposes to leave a will naming five beneficiaries. Each is to receive a hundred dollars a week, though the bulk of the estate would go to to the remaining survivor... the drama was laid on so heavily with a trowel that if it was meant to be taken seriously, I apologise for laughing though I feel I can be excused for smiling at dialogue like this. Millionaire to inquisitive private eye: 'The last time we met you cost me a couple of oil wells.' 'Well, well...' It is obvious that the play was written for the title because the simplest thing the millionaire to do- if he felt so passionately about his youngest daughter- was to leave all the cash to her anyway and save himself the trouble of going to such lengths to eliminate the others."

The first story in production had been planned as
You'll Never See Me Again.
Script: Cornell Woolrich, adapted for TV by Joel Murcott. Director: Ted Post.
My review: Jim Mason (Ben Gazzara) is an architect, his work affected as Molly his wife has left him for mother. But when he phones her there, he's told she hasn't been there. Worried, Jim consults Inspector Stillman (a laid back Leo Genn). His wife's last words, he says, were the ominous, you'll never see me again.
In his sports car EXL367, Jim drives with his friend Bob to Danby Warwickshire, where her family live- he's never met Molly's mother or her stepfather Joe. "I don't understand," snaps Jim at them, when they claim his wife had written several times saying she was unhappy.
Inspector Stillman becomes suspicious when all of Molly's possessions that Jim said she had packed and taken with her are found in their St Albans' home. Jim's on the point of being arrested, so he locks the police in his cellar and drives off fast. He's chased - by the usual police car XPC898- and avoids a road block, then he learns Molly had boarded the bus for Warwickshire, she must have gone to her parents.
His architectural skills prove useful in locating a dummy wall in the house, the inspector steps in to complete the demolition of the wall, and sure enough there is a corpse. However it is not Molly's! "She must be with them," surmises Jim, but where are her parents? In fact they have gone south to Jim's home where Joe is digging up the cellar to plant Molly's corpse there. It's a bit of a cheat, since we had seen the bottom half of the murderer- and it was certainly not Joe's shape! Police arrive in time to stop the frame-up. The first body was that of Molly's real mother, as the whole evil plan is exposed in this neat little thriller
As far as I can ascertain these two films were all that were made in this Crime Club series, and rather improbably they were screened in the 'Summer Armchair Theatre' slot in August 1959. Presumably the project was abandoned. In 1963 ABC did repeat the films under the banner 'Crime Club.'
Main Crime Menu

Crime/ Adventure series live/ on videotape

My reviews of some of the survivors: Dixon of Dock Green Maigret Z Cars Softly Softly Detective Sherlock Holmes Jury Room The Spies Adam Adamant The Expert Cluff Boyd QC No Hiding Place Riviera Police Crane Blackmail The Rat CatchersThe Hidden TruthPolice Surgeon The Protectors Shadow Squad On Trial It's Dark Outside Mr Rose The Man in Room 17 The Corridor People Probation Officer Sergeant CorkPublic Eye Redcap BBC Crime Serials Colour code used above: BBC . . . A-R . . ABC . . . ATV . . .Granada
Sadly, stories screened 'live' have been lost in the ether, while too many 'taped' stories were wilfully destroyed by philistines, some of whom should have known better, like David Attenborough at the BBC, who, while enthusiastically ensuring wildlife didn't become extinct, oversaw the destruction of some of BBC television's endangered series.
We must be thankful that Granada, in particular, had a much more responsible attitude to their archive, and kept such quirky series as The Odd Man, and The Corridor People.
ATV's zeal for earning their fortune in the export market, has ensured that some of their studio based series like Sergeant Cork, also survived in some corner of a foreign field, now thankfully, if that's the word, reissued on dvd.
The BBC have sorted out that part of their archive that wasn't annihilated, and we can utter a sigh of relief that those days of wilful tape destruction will never return.
Picture Question: Who is seen here in the title role? answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Main Crime Menu ... see also 1960's menu






BBC Crime Serials

Quatermass (1953-8)

A Game of Murder (1966)

Take A Pair of Private Eyes (1966)

Bat Out Of Hell (1966)

Death is a Good Living (1966)

The Dark Number (1966/7)

The Big M (1967)

Crime Tape menu

see also BBC Classic Serials menu








Jury Room (1966)
5 The Lady and the Axe
with Bridget Turner as Lizzie Borden, and Robert Beatty

Review to follow
Taped Shows Menu













starring Leslie Sands as Sgt Cluff, of the Yorkshire Police. The series is neatly summed up as, "there's nowt for you as a bobby." Sgt Caleb Cluff himself says of his patch, "I may not be the best policeman, but I know them and they know me."
Best described as Dixon of Green Ooop North, a kind of pre-Juliet Bravo without the bite, or the female, more like Emmerdale in fact. T'Yorkshire accents are reet authentic, lad.
SK offered these contemporary thoughts on the first series: "it's all very well to say, 'oh another detective series' with a yawn. This may be another policeman's romp up to a point, but this one, by Gil North, has, I think, a freshness about it, a naivete if you like... In trying to analyse this impression, I came to the conclusion that the reason for it is probably because Cluff and his colleagues take us out into the open air away from the humdrum of the city sleuths. As we trail along behind this rugged and quick thinking character with his pipe, stick, and faithful dog, we leave behind all the noisy car chases and gun battles of the big towns and follow our criminals through woods, over fields or hills. Murder is there, yes, but murder in the fresh air, and no less exciting for that. Then of course it has the enormous advantage of the tough bluff Cluff of Leslie Sands, who might have been born to play this part, so naturally does he live it. Eric Barker too, as the ratty Inspector Mole, shows his strength and makes a good foil for Cluff... Following Cluff around the house with brush and duster, Olive Milbourne is a true to type 'lady who does' and following him everywhere without a sound, the clever Clive is a true-to-type one man's dog."

2.1 The Chicken, 2.2 The Brothers, 2.3 The Cigarettes, 2.4 The Thief. 2.5 The Professional, 2.6 The Fireraiser, 2.7 The Strangers, 2.8 The Convict, 2.9 The Daughters, 2.10 The Husband, 2.11 The Pensioner, 2.12 The Dictator, 2.13 The Village Constable
Taped Shows Menu






The Chicken (May 15th `1965, rpt Apr 2nd 1967)
This starts nicely, with Inspector Mole so unoccupied that he has fallen fast asleep in his office. Nowt to do, you see. As Cluff declares, "this place is like a graveyard." So he and Constable Barker take a stroll, "patrolling" is the technical word, and what do they discover? By the beck, by heck, nothing less than a frozen chicken, oven ready the expression is. Seizing it, they call in at nearby Cissie Lawton's home. She is bedridden. Her husband Spencer (Wilfred Pickles) is too proud to accept any state aid: he works for Mr Cass at the auction house.
Cluff checks out where the chicken might have been sold. This is cutting edge police work. Fred the shopkeeper professes ignorance, but Cluff knows it came from his shop.
That night we see Spencer cook his wife's meal, while the inspector dines with his wife at home and Cluff shares fish and chips with his underling Alec. Of course the frozen chicken is top of their discussion.
Cluff chats informally with Cass about Spencer, "I'd trust him with my life." But can Spencer be trusted with the firm's books? Cluff has a very restless night mulling over The Case Of The Chicken.
"Have a word with him," suggests Sgt Barker next morning. But Spencer is the porter at today's auction, where the inspector buys an Indian table, "a bargain."
Spencer knows he has been found out, and a sad scene with his wife follows that evening, (The couple are watching tv, a tape of a BBC programme that includes Roy Hudd.) "I knew I was going to be caught," cries Spencer. He fears arrest and being separated from Cissie. The gas burns low. Is it suicide?
"How long's this been going on?" demands Inspector Mole. A fair question. Thankfully the couple are rescued in time, and the coda is set in the auction house

Cluff Menu






The Brothers
"No more than animals," Luke and Abel, always fighting, under the thumb of their stern father Albert (Gordon Gostelow) "a vicious man when he's cross," also a chapel man, who demands obedience from his wayward offspring, too much of a cliche to be plausible.
Inspector Mole is feeling irritated, that noisy car outside the station is right loud, 'tis Constable David Barker trying to start his new car, "this is a police station, not Brands Hatch." On inspection, the car is an ancient jalopy, but on film, he drives Cluff on a tour of inspection of his patch, first stop the pub. Landlord Josh complains that his new helper Mrs Ruth Rudge spends more times with those brothers. She's a "bobbydazzler," according to Cluff.
Next Cluff has time for a chat with water bailiff Barney (Joe Gladwin) whose daughter Lizzie now has no-one to wed in t'district since the brothers' eyes have turned to Ruth.
The inevitable crisis ends with the death of Luke, his corpse found in the river, "all t'lads and lasses come here." Certainly Abel had been courting her here, and it is known that Luke had pursued them in a temper. Several hairpins are scattered around, suggesting Ruth had been chased. Cluff questions her, but she remains obstinately silent.
Cluff's next call is on Albert and Abel. The former had been out alone, praying. He has an alibi, and Abel's dirty shoes seem to prove that he had not been the one doing the chasing.
Cluff turns to the guilty party. A word and t'truth emerges, "he's not a murderer"

Cluff Menu






The Cigarettes
Break-in at the newsagents shop of Silas Smith (Geoffrey Hibbert), the odd thing is that he doesn't inform the police.
June is Smart's assistant: she is courting Sgt David Barker. She notices that the "special consignment" of cigarettes is missing. Barker also notices a smashed window.
Inspector Mole calls to purchase some cigarettes, as does Cluff, who also sees Charlie, a glazier, at the shop. "I'll make a few inquiries," promises Cluff to the shopkeeper, who looks dismayed. We see that Pete, June's no-good brother has nicked the fags, along with his simple mate Dennis. Now Dennis' dad is Charlie, small world isn't it?
June is also in with Pete, Sgt Barker a useful contact, "if you're in with the police, you get away with it."
Cluff has soon deduced that the missing cigarettes must be stolen ones. From Charlie, he learns that treacle had been used by the thieves. When he sees Dennis innocently eating said substance, why, Cluff can put two and two together. Some cigarettes hidden in a rabbit hutch complete the investigation.
Smart has informed his two contacts of the robbery. They had nicked a large consignment, Smart one of their middle man. The villains plan to retrieve the fags that night, they know where to find them since Smart has guessed the identity of his thieves.
Sgt Barker's loyalties are split, but he agrees to Cluff's suggestion that he takes June out that evening. Cluff questions Smart, who confesses all, "I'm not a very good criminal."
Thus, in a neat touch, Inspector Mole has to leave off watching Z Cars, in order to swoop on Pete. Both he and Barker only find that the cigarettes have disappeared. But Cluff knows where they are! He is waiting at Smart's shop, for the thieves to return them. "A right collection" are taken to the police station and booked

Cluff Menu






The Thief

At dead of night, Len and Jack shoot a sheep in a field. Then another. In their ramshackle van, they drive away the carcasses.
Jack is in need of the cash, to buy the lease of his cottage with his wife Hilda, but Len, a gamekeeper, is more out for the fun of it. He has eyes on Hilda.
Police get a break when potholers discover a huge heap of dead sheep, all their meat removed. Cluff reckons he knows one good marksman, that's Len and he chats with him and Hilda. He recalls that Jack's late father worked in a slaughterhouse, and had likely taught son Jack how to skilfully skin animals. The two thieves realise that Cluff is on to them, but he has no proof at all. Cluff knows it too, his one hope is to catch them in the act. But Inspector Mole is impatient for results and demands the crooks are brought in.
Len tries it on with Hilda, who is unsure of her feelings. When Jack learns of it, the couple row.
Inspector Mole joins Cluff and Barker on surveillance of the suspects. When Len is about to shoot a sheep, police pounce, "they knew!" They knew where to find Len, because Jack had informed the police.
Back at t' station, Cluff and Len have a reet heart to heart

Cluff Menu






On Trial(Granada, 1960)
Real life historical trials, theme music Brahms' Fourth Symphony. My reviews of
1 Sir Roger Casement
5 Oscar Wilde
Studio Series menu

Details of this series of ten dramas, Andrew Faulds was the Narrator in all of the trials, Peter Wildeblood producing the entire series.

1 Sir Roger Casement Friday July 8th 1960 9.35pm, repeated: Friday June 30th 1961 11.2pm (Granada region only)
Starring Peter Wyngarde in the title role, Abraham Soafaer as Lord Chief Justice, John Robinson as Serjeant Sullivan KC, John Westbrook as Sir FE Smith KC, Henry Oscar as Sir George Cave. Commentary by Brian Inglis. Cast also included: Neil Wilson, Brian Phelan, James McLoughlin, Liam Gaffney, Joan O'Hara, Jack Cunningham, Michael Robbins, Colin Blakely, John Barron, Ballard Berkeley, J Leslie Frith, John Maitland.
Documented by Cedric Watts. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Cliff Owen.
On Good Friday 1916, Sir Roger Casement was arrested after landing from a German U-boat on the Irish coast. His trial for treason, overshadowed by the existence of his notorious private diaries, was one of the most sensational in history.
Critic 'JP' commented that "the use of a narrator and a commentator (Brian Inglis) to describe events during the trial and to explain the background... was excellent... Peter Wyngarde did not have very much to say. How could he, when Casement refused to be called as a witness in his own defence? Abraham Sofaer appeared as a very upstanding and correct Lord Chief Justice, John Robinson played Defence Counsel, and John Westbrook was Prosecuting Counsel. Even Henry Oscar had only a relatively small part as the solicitor general... a difficult experiment but a production well done."
2 The Baccarat Scandal July 15th 1960, Friday July 14th 1961 11.2pm rpt (Granada region)
Starring John Justin as Sir William Gordon-Cumming, Alan Webb as Sir Edward Clarke QC, Michael Shepley Sir Charles Russell QC, Georgina Cookson as Mrs Arthur Wilson. Commentary by James Laver. Cast also included: Barry Lowe, Graham Crowden, Derek Smith, Hugh Cross, Kevin Brennan, Redmond Phillips, Malcolm Watson, Gilbert Spurge.
Documented by William Slater. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Henry Kaplan.
Sir William Gordon-Cumming is accused of cheating at cards during a society house party at which the Prince of Wales is a guest. In spite of every effort to suppress the scandal, it breaks out and Sir William is forced to bring an action for slander. Critic 'GT' liked the programme, writing, "direction of Henry Kaplan was, as usual, beautifully controlled and timed to heighten and lessen tension by a single shot of a glance, a smile, a look of worry."
3 Admiral Byng (July 22nd 1960) with Donald Wolfit in the title role. With William Mervyn as President of the Court, John Horsley Vice-Admiral Temple West, Jack May as Lord Robert Bertie, Noel Trevarthen as Capt Hervey. Narrator: Andrew Faulds, commentary by Commander Kemp RN.
Also in the cast: Richard Wordsworth as Charles Fearne, Peter Bathurst as Robert Boyd, Charles Heslop as General Lord Blakeney, Nicholas Selby as George Lawrence, John Miller as Rear-Admiral Holder, Richard Butler as Capt Simcoe, and Michael Lees as Capt Moore.
Britain is at war with France, Austria and Russia. The all important island of Minorca has fallen to the enemy, and the public demands a scapegoat. On December 28th 1756, Admiral Byng, Commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean is put on trial accused of cowardice. The critic ('RW') who reviewed this programme was most unimpressed: ""I don't think the excess of dialogue was the fault of ... the scriptwriter as the narrator was careful to point out that the play was 'in the actual words used.' Whatever it was that kept this documented play so static and so flat it certainly added nothing to the authenticity of the trial. Donald Wolfit as the unhappy and misjudged admiral... managed a look of dismay as he heard the adverse verdict, that became the only believable thing in the whole production. The whole subject with its exaggerated attires, its background of death before dishonour, lent itself to Ham. Everyone took advantage of it."
Director: James Ormerod.
4 Spencer Cowper Friday July 29th 1960 9.35pm, Friday July 28th 1961 11.2pm rpt (Granada region)
Starring Laurence Payne in the title role. Also starring: George Howe (Baron Hatsell), Richard Warner (Mr Jones) and Llewelyn Rees (Sir Hans Sloane). Cast also included: Viola Keats, George Skillan, Hamlyn Benson, Derek Tansley, Frank Crawshaw, Felicity Young, John Woodnutt, Paul Sherwood, Rory McDermot, William Young, Bartlett Mullins, Roger Boston, David Jarrett, Maureen Gavin, John Ronane, John Tucker.
Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Michael Scott.
The body of an 18 year old Quaker girl is found floating in a village stream. Spencer Cowper, a rising young barrister, is charged with her murder. On July 16th 1699 at Hertford Assizes, he conducts his own defence.
5 Oscar Wilde August 5th 1960, Friday July 7th 1961 11.2pm rpt (Granada region)
Starring Michael MacLiammoir in the title role, Andre Morrell as Sir Edward Clarke, Martin Benson as Edward Carson, Harold Scott as Mr Justice Charles. Commentary by JB Priestley. Cast also included: Lewis Wilson, Deering Wells, Alan Browning, Derek Sydney, Brian Alexis, Clive Colin-Bowler, Michael Caridia, Beresford Williams, Tudor Evans, Michael Bangerter.
Documented by Peter Lambda. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Silvio Narizzano.
Victorian England idolises Oscar Wilde, but when his private life is exposed in the courts, it seems that even his fame as an author cannot survive the scandal.
Two trials were shown, in a flashback the case brought for libel by Wilde against the Marquess of Queensberry.The main trial is of Wilde in the dock at the Old Bailey. Critic 'GT' confessed he was "completely disappointed," in the director, "Narizzano's worst production to date. It lacked depth, excitement. Camera work was dull, cutting was slow." Surprising too, was some bad acting, "only Andre Morrell came off well." Especially disliked was "the dreadfully bad casting" of Oscar Wilde: "I have great admiration for this actor.. but MacLiammoir had the wrong looks, the wrong build and lacked the extra-delicate sensitivity of Wilde... he hammed it up." Then "the usually reliable Martin Benson... was not the fiery cunning lawyer. He only looked like one." This programme, 'GT' described as "a complete failure"
6 The Dilke Case Aug 12th 1960
with Leo Genn as Sir Charles Dilke, Allan Cuthbertson as Henry Matthews QC, Laidman Browne as Walter Phillimore QC, Rachel Roberts as Mrs Rogerson, Joanna Dunham as Virginia Crawford. Commentary by Roy Jenkins MP. Others in the cast were Basil Dignam, Jack Gwillim, HM Beaufoy Milton, Ronald Adam, Ralph Truman, Donald Pickering, John Dawson, Walter Horsbrugh, Ian White.
Documented by William Slater. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Cliff Owen.
In 1886 Sir Charles Dilke Liberal MP for Chelsea is a respected figure. The Prime Minister, Mr Gladstone, looks on him as his political heir. Then suddenly Dilke is named as co-respondent in a sensational divorce suit brought by a Scottish MP against his pretty young wife Virginia Crawford.
7 The Tichborne Case Aug 19th 1960, Aug 18th 1961 11.2pm rpt (Granada only)
starring John Slater as The Claimant, with Oliver Johnston as Sir William Bovill, Nicholas Meredith as Sir John Coleridge, William mervyn as Sgt Ballantine, Lloyd Lamble as Hardinge Giffard, John Bailey as Henry Hawkins, Joyce Howard as Catherine Radcliffe, Edward Underdown as Lord Bellew. Also appearing: John Harrison, John Salew, John Wentworth, Bryan Coleman, Ian Ainsley, Malcolm Watson and Donald Bisset.
Documented by Peter Lambda. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Claude Whatham.
Roger Tichborne, heir to a baronetcy and a fortune, sets off on a voyage round the world to forget an unhappy love affair with his cousin Kate. The ship on which he sails is reported sunk with no survivors. Eighteen years later a butcher from Wagga Wagga Australia, comes to London claiming that he is the long-lost heir. In 1871 begins one of the longest and strangest cases in legal history.
8 WT Stead Aug 26th 1960, Aug 4th 1961 11.2pm rpt (Granada region)
with William Franklyn as Stead, costarring Douglas Wilmer (Sir Richard Webster QC), James Raglan (Charles Russell QC), Brian Oulton (Mr Justice Lopes), Annabel Maule (Rebecca Jarrett), Avis Bunnage (Mrs Armstrong), Milo O'Shea (Charles Armstrong). Others in the cast were Abb Martin, Julia Nelson, Frank Pemberton, Howard Taylor, Daphne Foreman, Peter Burton, Bruno Barnabe, Robert Sansom, William Wymar, Owen Berry as Archbishop of Canterbury and Keith Ashley as Bramwell Booth.
Documented by Vincent Brome. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Michael Scott.
In a series of articles exposing the corruption that lies beneath the puritanical surface of Victorian London, newspaper editor WT Stead describes how he bought a 13 year old girl from her parents for �5. The scandal has an extraordinary sequel when Stead is put on trial at the Old Bailey accused of abducting the girl.
9 The Trial of Governor Wall September 2nd 1960, September 1st 1961 rpt 11.2pm (Granada)
starring Roger Livesey as Governor Wall, Ewen Solon as Sir Edward Law, Anthony Sharp as Spencer Percival with Ballard Berkeley as Mr Knowlys, Geoffrey Toone as Thomas Poplett, Lally Bowers as Mrs Harriet Lacy, Glyn Owen as Evan Lewis. Others appearing were Eric Woodburn, Ronald Ibbs, Robert Cartland, Joss Ackland, Peter Madden, Edward Rees, Edwin Brown, David Dodimead, Henry Rayner, Raymond Mason.
Documented by Fenton Bresler. Designed by Darrell Lass. Director: Mario Prizek.
For twenty years Joseph Wall, ex-Governor of a British penal colony, has eluded justice. Now in 1802, he is brought to trial at the Old Bailey, charged with the murder of Serjeant Armstong, who died after a brutal flogging ordered by this governor.
10 Horatio Bottomley September 9th 1960 starring Harold Goldblatt in the title role. With Raymond Huntley, Geoffrey Chater, Edwin Richfield, Hugh Moxey, Peter Williams, John Longden. Director: Herbert Wise. The 1922 trial of the MP on 23 counts of larceny.
On Trial
Note: A 1965 BBC series JURY ROOM also dramatised a few of these celebrated cases









Sir Roger Casement

1916. Sir Roger is accused of high treason. He pleads not guilty. The narrator (Andrew Faulds) introduces the trial: "a mirror of the society who put him on trial." The context is the Great War, and the Easter Uprisng in Dublin. "What he did, he did for Ireland."
Sir Roger Casement's past loyalty to the crown is outlined, culminating in a knighthood in 1911. The Ulster prosecutor alleges that after this, Casement changed. First witness is John Cronin, once a German POW who refused to join The Irish Brigade "as guest of the German government." A second witness confirms this group was formed "to fight against England." However facts about this group are not properly explored, whether because this case has been heavily redacted, or because the details of the group were unclear at the time.
Roger McCarthy and May Gorman both testify that on Good Friday, a boat landed with arms. A police sergeant found Casement that afternoon and charged him with landing arms on the shore. Apparently this was common practice. The narrator explains how "amateurish" this smuggling of arms appeared, leaving us to draw out the implications. He explains how British public opinion swayed the case after the Easter Rebellion.
Casement offers a voluntary statement, denying the charges of working for Germany, and states that "not one penny of German gold" financed the rebellion.
Sjt Sullivan of the defence becomes unwell and collapses in court. He is unable to continue.
The Crown make a final statement, pointing out that Casement had been "in an enemy country."
The judge sums up. If the jury have "any reasonable doubt," the defendant must be discharged. Otherwise they must perform their solemn duty. The verdict is unanimous: guilty.
Casement reads out his prepared response, rejecting the jurisdiction of the court, he has been convicted under an archaic law dating to 1351. Home Rule for Ireland is his mantra, "I am proud to be a rebel."
The judge prononces the death penalty. Brian Inglis concludes the case, offering the support given by Bernard Shaw. But Sir Roger's Black Diaries contributed to his downfall. He became a martyr.
This hour long play gives maybe the essence of the trial, but few questions are answered beyond the strong impression probably intended by the script, that political expediency played its part. My own summary of the play is also constricted by space

On Trial









Oscar Wilde
1895, Oscar Wilde is on trial accused of indecency. He pleads Not Guilty. "Abandon all prejudices" wisely advises the prosecuting counsel. However a certain bias in the script seems apparent to me.
Narrator Andrew Faulds explores the background to the case, presented confusingly and too briefly, a case involving Wilde exposing his views on art, morality and his friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas, a "sodomite" according to his own father. One line from Wilde stands out, "I have never loved anyone but myself." But his relationship with one "ugly boy" is "unnerving." This was quite advanced television for its era.
Wilde had been arrested, and put in the dock alongside Alfred Taylor, accused of procuring youths for Wilde. A valet Charles Parker testifies how Taylor introduced him to Wilde, "good for plenty of money." Then Atkins adds to this evidence, but stating there was "no impropriety." However blackmail is his business. It is easy for Wilde's counsel Sir Edward Clarke to suggest these men are tainted witnesses. But this is harder to suggest in the case of the more respectable Edward Shelley, who says he rejected Wilde's advances.
The prosecutor reads extracts from True Love, "I am the love that dare not speak its name," and this draws Wilde to comment, eliciting applause in court. He denies any "improper conduct" with all these youths, but the redaction of the case for tv actually becomes surprisingly repetitive, and we are left to wonder what has been left out. A summary by the defence offers the key point that the witnesses are suspect. "Mr Wilde is not an ordinary man."
The selection of material might suggest the scriptwriter's own sympathies. Mr Justice Charles summarises, again repeating the details about the character of the witnesses. The jury retire, and cannot agree on a verdict.


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