THE CLOUDED YELLOW is directed by Ralph Thomas from a screenplay and story by Janet Green with cinematography by the brilliant Geoffrey Unsworth. I've only just recently learned that it is available on youtube, but I'd remembered the film from having watched it MANY years ago, once upon a time when terrific films like this were regular fare on my local television channels.
This is a dark little British thriller featuring the radiantly beautiful Jean Simmons, who plays Sophie Malraux, a young woman at the center of an oddly uneasy household. Into that household comes Trevor Howard as Maj. David Somers, a recently cashiered secret service agent improbably hired to catalog butterflies. (Hence, the film's title.) The setting is a secluded country estate in Hampshire belonging to Nicholas Fenton (Barry Jones) a middle-aged gentleman fond of collecting butterflies. He lives there with his wife Jess - they are Sophie's guardians.
Jess Fenton (Sonia Dresdel) is younger than her husband and rather tightly wound. She has an eye (and more) for Hick, the local handyman (and poacher) whom we are given to understand all the ladies in the area find very attractive. Though why that should be one can't imagine since he is played in a very sleazeball manner by Maxwell Reed. He makes himself especially obnoxious drooling over Sophie.
At any rate, when Hick is found stabbed to death, the police fasten on Sophie as the most likely murderer when they find blood on her coat and she has trouble explaining what she was doing walking on the grounds at 3 a.m. in the morning. You see, the poor troubled girl has memory lapses. All along we've been told that Sophie tends to get '...things muddled' and what's more, she takes after her unfortunate father who murdered her mother and then killed himself. Uh-oh.
David, not for a minute believing Sophie capable of murder, convinces her to flee with him. The two take off in the night for parts unknown with the police hot on their trail. Thus we are in for a treat as the pair head first to London, then Newcastle where friends (from the old days of David's secret service work) lend a hand, then off to England's beautiful Lake District (and boy do I wish this film had been in color) - all the while stalked by secret service agent (Kenneth More) as well as Scotland Yard.
An all out manhunt like this seems a bit over-the-top to me, viewing this film so many years later. In view of the fuss (and overtime pay to the coppers), one would think that there'd been a murder spree or at the very least, stolen national secrets, but let's not forget that this is England and they do things differently there.
Finally, Sophie and David make their way to Liverpool as Sophie's memory returns and there's a real culprit to catch which leads to a very thrilling ending on the Liverpool docks.
THE CLOUDED YELLOW is another one of those 'small' films, perfect to wile away the time as summer comes to an end and we head towards the baseball playoffs. After all, one can't watch baseball all the time.
The French film poster which is much more exiting than the British one or, for that matter, the American one.
And since it's Tuesday, don't forget to check in later today over at Todd Mason's blog, Sweet Freedom, to see what other forgotten or overlooked films, television or other audio/visuals other bloggers are talking about today.
Here's the movie (incorrectly titled TRIO) on youtube for as long as it lasts:
Great choice Yvette. Haven't seen it for a while but good fun in a minor key as I recall. I really agree with you about the French poster - mind you, I always have palpitations when I see the ravishing Jean Simmons on screen, so i'm easy to please when it comes to her movies!!ReplyDelete
I love most of her movies, Sergio. I'm going to try and find the Napoleon movie she made with Marlon Brando and my dreamboat Michael Rennie. I think Merle Oberon played Josephine. I'm also going to have to buy A BULLET IS WAITING, a movie she made with another of my dreamboats, Rory Calhoun. Available as a dvd. Only way, far as I know. Jean Simmons was my favorite actress all the while I was growing up. Another favorite was Glynis Johns. Remember her?Delete
Glynis Johns was great, I agree. And still hilarious in WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, 30 years after MARY POPPINS! DESIREE with Brando, now there is a film i haven't seen for a while (I prefer them in GUYS AND DOLLS though) - and what about FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG opposite her then hubby, Stewart Granger? She's lovely in THE GRASS IS GREENER but in SPARTACUS I could barely breathe when she was on screen - ahh, yes, definitely smitten :)Delete
I actually was fortunate enough to get to see Glynis Johns in SEND IN THE CLOWNS on B'way, many years ago. :) Oh, GUYS AND DOLLS, loved it - except for Frank Sinatra, a man I had no love for. You have to see Jean Simmons in THE BLUE LAGOON - speaking of radiance. My goodness! Also, BLACK NARCISSUS. No wonder Sabu ran off with her. :)Delete
Another good Jean Simmons movie: THIS COULD BE THE NIGHT. Gotta' buy the DVD. Only way to get to see it. Have you seen that one?Delete
Thanks for the review, Yvette. I have no memories of seeing either of the actors in any film though I was surprised to learn that Trevor Howard played bit roles in later films like "Superman" and "Gandhi."ReplyDelete
Other good Trevor Howard films are BRIEF ENCOUNTER, THE THIRD MAN and GREEN FOR DANGER, among others. Prashant, I have a. question: if I provide the embedded link on my post can you watch the movie? I'll be happy to do that. Jean Simmons is worth watching however you can watch her. :) Have you ever seen BLACK NARCISSUS? I'll be featuring more Jean Simmons movies as we go along, now that some are becoming more available.Delete
Yvette, I have not seen any of the films you mention but I should be able to get them on YouTube. I'll be looking forward to more Jean Simmons films here.Delete
Never even heard of this one. Wonder where I can see it.ReplyDelete
Just embedded the movie, Patti. Glad to be of service. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the review and the link Yvette. I don't know this movie, but look forward to watching it.ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy it, Elgin. It's been ages since I saw it, so I was happy to find it on youtube. For now, at least.Delete
Thanks so much for the weblink!!! No wonder I've not been able to find it on YouTube. It's cleverly disguised as something else in the video's searchable title! I've read about THE CLOUDED YELLOW briefly elsewhere on the web and have been itching to see it ever since. Makes it about three years now. Forgive me, but I didn't read any of your review, Yvette. I'll be watching the entire movie as soon as I get home! Then I'll read your assessment and leave another comment.ReplyDelete
You're very welcome, John. I hope you'll enjoy the movie. I thought the title thing was so odd since the credits say THE CLOUDED YELLOW loud and clear.Delete
I think uploaders do that intentionally. There are all sorts of tricks to evade the movie company underlings whose job it is to patrol YouTube looking for copyright violations. If you can't find the video searching for the regular spelling or the real title then the video tends to stay on the site for a long time. People do things like naming the video ∑x0rci$† instead of Exorcist or just give it a completely incorrect title altogether. The devious mind finds devious ways...Delete
Of course they do. If it were easy everyone would do it. Ha. So did you like the movie??Delete
I am going to find that. Loved Jean Simmons, she had a delicate beauty.ReplyDelete
You can watch from the link on my post, Yvonne.Delete
I always loved Jean Simmons. She was lovely in every movie.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you posted this movie, will watch it.
There were a number of women film stars I liked in classic movies. Simmons was one, Gene Tierney in Laura was another. But in my teenage years, I adored Greer Garson, especially in Mrs. Miniver -- a perfect woman, cool and calm and spirit in an awful situation.
Thanks so much for this movie. (And I've seen the Trevor Howard movies mentioned. The Third Man is really a classic and I've seen it many times.)
Jean Simmons was so radiantly beautiful and she had something that a lot of beautiful women lack: character, there was always intelligence and a glint of humor in her eyes. I hope you enjoy the movie, Kathy. And don't forget that SO LONG AT THE FAIR which stars Jean Simmons and Dirk Bogarde is also available currently (at least) for viewing on youtube. DON'T MISS IT!Delete
I liked Gene Tierney too and Greer Garson. They had faces then.