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Unpublished Story

Overview

Harold French's Unpublished Story (1942) used to be a regular feature on New York television, but sometimes after the 1960s it disappeared from distribution. This DVD release, courtesy of Carlton Entertainment and Shanachie Entertainment, restores the movie to distribution, although not in an ideal form. The source for this release -- which promises a running time of 91 minutes but actually clocks in at around 86 minutes -- is a clean 35 mm print that may be a fine-grain. Although there are some moments where the...
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Overview

Harold French's Unpublished Story (1942) used to be a regular feature on New York television, but sometimes after the 1960s it disappeared from distribution. This DVD release, courtesy of Carlton Entertainment and Shanachie Entertainment, restores the movie to distribution, although not in an ideal form. The source for this release -- which promises a running time of 91 minutes but actually clocks in at around 86 minutes -- is a clean 35 mm print that may be a fine-grain. Although there are some moments where the contrasts flair and fade, mostly there's a good amount of detail, even in the shots convincingly set in the blacked-out streets of London; most of the other material (apart from a few edit points) shows deep contrasts and rich detail, with excellent sound as well. The movie itself is a briskly paced spy drama, a kind of home-grown cousin to Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent with the added verisimilitude of having been shot in England. Parts of it, depicting the courage and fortitude of the Londoners, will recall (or, actually, anticipate) William Wyler's Mrs. Miniver, except that French's movie has a reality that the overly melodramatic Hollywood depiction misses entirely. Part of the movie's impact derived from its makers' ability to intercut studio-generated scenes with actual footage of the London blitz and the rescue crews and firefighters at work, giving it a startling immediacy even 60-some years later. Indeed, one of the best scenes here (and there are many good ones) takes place in the London Underground among the residents of the East End who were driven there by the German air raids; that scene has an honesty that is far greater in impact than the whole of Wyler's movie, well intentioned though the latter was. The DVD's dozen chapters cover the action reasonably well, though there are so many intricate plot developments here that another four or five chapters would not have hurt. There are no bonus features, and the disc opens automatically on a simple single-layer menu offering "Play" and "Chapter Selection" choices, with the former in the default position. Having said all of that, however, one must add that the use of the short print is disconcerting -- what is mostly missing, if memory serves, is a montage that came immediately after Richard Greene's Bob Campbell is urged to leave France and return to England to tell of what he's seen of troops in action, with Winston Churchill's speech about the Dunkirk evacuation ("This was their finest hour") heard over the footage. There may be other gaps, but that one is rather glaring, especially as one hears an abrupt break in the music where the edit heralding the montage is cut off. One is glad to see this movie back in circulation in any form, but Carlton, Shanachie, et al. should have found a complete edition.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/2004
  • UPC: 016351320490
  • Original Release: 1942
  • Source: Shanachie
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Greene Bob Randall
Valerie Hobson Carol Bennett
Basil Radford Lamb
Roland Culver Stannard
Miles Malleson Farmfield
Andre Morell Marchand
Frederick Cooper Trapes
Renée Gadd Miss Hartley
Claude Bailey
George Carney Landlord
Muriel George Landlady
John Longden
Aubrey Mallalieu Warden
Edie Martin
Brefni O'Rorke Denton
Wally Patch
Tony Quinn
Anthony Shaw
Ronald Shiner
George Thorpe Maj. Edwards
D.J. Williams
Henry Morrell
Townsend Whitling
Technical Credits
Harold French Director
Anatole de Grunwald Screenwriter
Sidney Gilliat Screenwriter
Anthony Havelock-Allan Producer
Patrick Kirwan Screenwriter
Bernard Knowles Cinematographer
Cyril Knowles Cinematographer
Allan MacKinnon Screenwriter
Lesley Storm Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Play Program
2. War and Six Sharp Pencils
3. The News From Dunkirk
4. People for Peace Society
5. Killing the Story
6. England Under Attack
7. Stopping for a Pint
8. Advance Information
9. Bombing the East End
10. On the Trail of Mr. Trapes
11. Called to Dover
12. Shoot Out at Victoria Station
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Program
   Scene Access
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