Details

Produced by the BBC in 1989. Directed by Ben Bolt and co-starring Suzanna Hamilton as Anna Raven, James Fox as Foster and Jonathan Coy as Desmond's friend Marcus. Nat plays Desmond Thane.

 

Plot Summary

It is September 1939, the Second World War has just begun. An enigmatic love affair leads to danger and desperation for handsome Desmond Thane, a cocky and obnoxious journalist, fed up with effortless sexual affairs. Infatuated with Anna Raven, a sensual young woman, Desmond finds himself in a dangerous pool of lies and bloody secrets. Anna is odd and furtive. Living in a tiny London flat, her way of life is obscure and concealed. Desperate to learn about the woman with whom he is wildly enamoured, Desmond discovers a mysterious diary, only to find himself a fugitive in a murder hunt at the hand's of opponents he can neither outwit nor understand.

General Review

To tell you all about the movie's plot would mean to give it away, so I won't, rest peacefully. The movie's theme seems to be a huge homage to Alfred Hitchcock. His name is mentioned all over the place, even 39 Steps is being mentioned. You may picture the whole thing just like one of Alfie's movies. Lot's of dark scenes (yes, we were trying to impersonate a film noire), of course we do have the MacGuffin and a beautiful blonde that saves Desmond in his most desperate hours. Naturally, the women lead Desmond to his doom. The whole plot evolves around a mysterious diary. At first glance Anna would seem to be the ideal woman for Desmond, but now that the shoes on the other foot, Desmond suddenly becomes very traditional, wanting to know more about Anna than she's willing to reveal - and this is Desmond's undoing. One night, in Anna's flat, Desmond comes across the diary. The diary appears to be written by Anna, but by this time Desmond knows Anna well enough to realize that the diary is pure fiction. And boring fiction at that. But why? When Desmond confronts Anna about the diary he suddenly finds himself sucked into a whirlpool of deceit, murder, torture and probable treason. And be sure that there is a bunch of ruthless killers that are after Desmond. Alternately charming, then sinister, Fox is the perfect upper-class, establishment villain. A nice twist in the whole thing is that Desmond is a writer, thus having too vivid a fantasy and rather rotten ideas about life, sex and women. Taking a nihilistic view, he has to learn some tough lessons that are hard to swallow for him. Having learnt those lessons he will - in the end - alter his attitude towards life in general.

Nat Review

Boy oh boy. The first big character. And he is looking gorgeous in this. Of course we do have costume here, we're in the late 30s, remember? Nat is very young, but he is able to display all kind of human reactions, rejected love, irony, regret, pure angst and, yup murderous intentions. And he's doing it very convincingly. What struck me most were his very intense scenes with James Fox as his torturer. I felt that in his younger days, Nat needed a strong opposite in order to grow in his capabilities. James Fox is doing that just brilliantly. There are other strong actors surrounding him who are giving him all the right spots. It is quite remarkable how he displays the young reckless writer who simply cares for nothing and nobody to a rather broken individual that finally presents himself to us as a grown-up character. All in all, very convincing acting and excellent timing.

Trivia

Desmond is crazy over Bette Davies... he has a picture of her in his kitchen... whatever, I bet Bette wouldn't have preferred to be hanging out in that particular room of the house. Just a guess.

Status

Out on DVD 

 

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