About This Item

Preview Image for Middle Watch
Middle Watch (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000165839
Added by: Stuart McLean
Added on: 7/11/2014 13:37
View Changes

Other Reviews, etc
  • Log in to Add Reviews, Videos, Etc
  • Places to Buy

    Searching for products...

    Other Images

    Review for Middle Watch

    5 / 10

    Inline Image

    Blimey – this really is a creaky old comedy and no mistake. Apparently the second of three screen versions of this seemingly unfunny theatrical farce, I can only assume that audiences had fairly low expectations of films and fluffy, lightly humorous romps like this were perfectly acceptable. Whatever the case, despite a modicum of period charm, it is utterly unremarkable.

    Inline Image

    The Middle Watch was originally adapted from a stage farce by playwright and novelist Ian Hay (in cahoots with Naval officer Stephen King-Hall) into a feature film in 1930 but then remade as a vehicle for the ever popular Jack Buchanan in 1939 by the Associated British Picture Corporation. It must have found an audience as it was then made yet again in 1955. But let’s focus on the middle version of ‘The Middle Watch’.

    After Battleship Captain Maitland (played by the ever debonair Jack Buchanan) attends an on-ship party in honour of his next voyage, he finds two attractive young ladies (Norwegian beauty Greta Gynt and Kay Walsh) are still aboard the ship after they set off. Charmed by their utter innocence, and clearly attracted to one of them, he foolishly decides to hide them in his own quarters until they reach their destination. Amusingly, the two girls seem completely nonplussed by the whole thing.

    Inline Image

    The plan might have worked had it not been for the appearance of other surprise visitors – the monocle wearing Admiral (Fred Emney) and his dominating wife.

    Inline Image

    Cue plenty of classic farce including the girls sleeping in the Admiral’s room when he arrives as well as in his wife’s dormitory.

    Buchanam glides through the piece with a singular but consistent pained expression as character actor Fred Emney (you’d know if you saw him) gruffly huffs and puffs in theatrical annoyance. There's also an amusing bit of 'oriental' typecasting (played by a Brit) which wouldn't be particularly acceptable today but which just adds to the realisation that this really is a film from 75 years ago - remarkable when you think about it! 

    Inline Image

    Supposedly set aboard a naval ship, it still manages to have a very claustrophobic studio feel to it with very little evidence of the outside and certainly precious little water!

    Inline Image

    The print and transfer are surprisingly good for such a slight and little-known film of this age and as a result, Great Gynt in particular positively shines.

    Inline Image

    I don’t think it’s a film I would watch again though I applaud Studio Canal for their mastering and Network for their devotion to getting such material released.
    Inline Image

    Extras include an image gallery and an original script as a PDF – a nice touch and something I’ve really enjoyed with Network’s current crop of British film releases.

    Inline Image

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Be the first to post a comment!