professional assassin who prides
himself on ridding the world of pompous,
self-important people takes on an
assignment that seems to be fraught
with problems, misunderstandings and
hindrances in the hugely-entertaining
1956 black comedy classic The Green
DISCOVERING THE ELATION HE FEELS while getting rid of arrogant egotistical people
at Embrook House Preparatory School when he dispenses with the "abominable"
headmaster by putting explosives in his inkpot, Hawkins (the utterly versatile
Alastair Sim: A Christmas Carol; School for Scoundrels) realises he has
found his vocation in the newly-restored version of the classic 1956 British
comedy-noir The Green Man.
As a professional assassin, he is paid to purge the world of those considered
a thorn in the side of others; but his chosen role in life is interrupted by
the war, during which time he becomes an apparently innocuous clockmaker, repairing
antique timepieces; returning to his original career as a hit man once hostilities
has a terrific cast from
a marvellous post-war era
playing for laughs,
a murder plot, and
a skilfully-crafted script
that together make
this fine, light-hearted
film a true, fascinating,
is faced with a challenging and frustrating task when he agrees to take out
the self-centred philanderer MP Sir Gregory Upshott (a suitably haughty Raymond
Huntley: Night Train to Munich) and he romances his intended victim's
personal assistant Marigold (Avril Angers) to check Sir Gregory's movements
while planning his victim's demise.
Marigold tells Hawkins that her married boss is taking one of his employees,
the lovely Joan Wood (Eileen Moore) away for a naughty weekend to The Green
Man hotel at Newcliffe. Hawkins arranges to stay at the same hotel, preparing
an explosive device to be left in one of the public rooms.
Unfortunately he has slipped up and a worried Marigold smells a rat, telling
him she is going to come round to see him at his home to get some answers. In
a pure slapstick farce, Hawkins ensures she goes to the wrong house where his
assistant is waiting to dispose of her. Pianos will never look the same to me!
The house next door has been empty, awaiting the marriage of Hawkins' soon-to-be
neighbours Ann Vincent (Jill Adams: Private's Progress) and BBC announcer
Reginald Willoughby Croft (a masterful Colin Gordon), but the couple turn up
at the wrong time and meet hapless vacuum cleaner salesman William Blake (the
superb George Cole: The Happiest Days of Your Life).
William is supposed to be demonstrating his latest product to Hawkins' housekeeper
Mrs Bostock (Doris Yorke) but he is, of course, at the wrong house.
A comedy of errors follows, throwing the wedding into doubt when Reginald finds
his fiancée in an innocent but compromising position. A wonderful Fifties conversation
here when Ann offers to hang pictures and Reginald says "No, I know where I
Ann and William uncover the plot by sifting through several scenarios and head
to The Green Man, where hit-man Hawkins is waiting to put his dastardly deed
A case of mistaken identity with a man with the improbable name of Charles Boughtflower
(the incredible Terry-Thomas: School for Scoundrels) takes up precious
time but, as the film moves towards its explosive climax, will they be able
to prevent Hawkins from carrying out his evil plan?
Produced at Shepperton Studios, England, The Green Man has a terrific
cast from a marvellous post-war era playing for laughs, a murder plot, and a
skilfully-crafted script that together make this fine, light-hearted film a
true, fascinating, 1950s-era gem. A welcome addition to the Vintage Classics
Collection that showcases iconic British films, The Green Man has been painstakingly
restored using up-to-the-minute technology; an must-watch companion piece to
Ealing's The Ladykillers (1955).
Alastair Sim and George Cole also star in the upcoming Laughter in Paradise,
due to be released later in the year as part of the Vintage Classics Collection.
The Green Man also features: The fabulous Dora Bryan as hotel receptionist
Lily; John Chandos as McKechnie; Arthur Brough as The Landlord; Arthur Lowe
as The Radio Salesman; Cyril Chamberlain as Sergeant Bassett; and a fine Richard
Wattis as The Doctor.
Music Composed by Cedric Thorpe Davie, Conducted by Muir Mathieson and Played
by Sinfonia of London; Director of Photography is Gerald Gibbs; Produced by
Frank Lauder and Sidney Gilliat; Associate Producer is Leslie Gilliat; The BAFTA-Nominated
Screenplay is by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Lauder (The Lady Vanishes)
from their play Meet A Body; and Directed by Robert Day (The Avengers).
* The Green Man is part of the Vintage
Classics Collection and is released in the UK by STUDIOCANAL as a newly restored
version on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 18 May 2020. Certificate: U | Running
Time: 80 Minutes Approximately | Year: 1956.
DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Extras: New: Alastair Sim and The Green Man
by Stephen Fry | New: Interview with cultural historian Mathew Sweet | Those
British Faces: Alastair Sim | Behind the Scenes and Portraits Stills Gallery.
"The Green Man has a terrific cast from a marvellous post-war era playing
for laughs, a murder plot, and a skilfully-crafted script. A fine light-hearted
film in true, fascinating, 1950s style" ****
Maggie Woods, MotorBar