Carrington V.C. ★★★★

The great thing about reviewing films that practically nobody else has seen, therefore dictating that even less people than normal will read this shit, is that I can make up almost any old bollocks in these reviews and nobody would be any the wiser.

In this case, aside from the 6 other people on Letterboxd who relentlessly record films off TCM and Film4 and Talking Pictures TV, that is. You know who you are.

So I can say something like "Carrington V.C. is a military courtroom drama that isn't really about a man's fight to prove he was right to filch some money from the barracks coffers but more about new army versus old army" and pretend that I sound intelligent doing so but really not being even slightly convinced myself that I know what I'm talking about.

Even so, that's what I'm going with here for Anthony Asquith's post-war movie where David Niven's war hero crosses swords with a superior (Alan Cuthbertson) who climbed the ranks above him despite successfully avoiding any action during the war. It's very good indeed, as Asquith's films tended to be, taking a rather jaunty path for a film of this kind.

It starts seeming as though the whole deal is an open-and-shut case and Niven flits into court with the manner of a man who isn't even slightly convinced that he's going to get in trouble. It's only as the film goes on and those around him prove to be far less reliable than he was presuming they would be that things become somewhat more difficult for him.

It's well paced and very well acted (Margaret Leighton as his wife is especially marvellous in a role requiring no overplaying at all) and also contains plenty of humour. Future Sir Frederick Gray, Geoffrey Keen, becoming steadily more irritated by the intricacies of court martial etiquette and staff sergeant Stuart Saunders' stomping was an enjoyable aside throughout, as was Victor Maddern's steadily cashiered sergeant / bombadier / gunner.

I felt Niven's relationship with Leighton needed slightly more time to develop on-screen. The outcome of their on-screen coupling is probably the highlight of the film but it also felt like the heart of Carrington V.C. and was owed a bit more time to develop. Even so, this was very good indeed, with a terrific ambiguous ending and a sweeping array of fine performances.

I'm going to review Robocop 2 now and people have seen that. Ahh, shit.