Welcome to this week’s edition of FilmStruck Friday! Every Friday here on TMP, with the exception of the first Friday of the month (which is reserved for “Favorite things about…”), we’ll be taking a look at a film available through the TCM and Criterion Collection streaming service. Today, a British wartime mystery surrounding a death on the operating table. Happy viewing!
Heron Park Emergency Hospital is serving Southeast England in the midst of the second World War. Hard at work in the hospital are anesthetist Dr. Barnes (Trevor Howard), Eden (Leo Genn), Nurse Linley (Sally Gray), Nurse Sanson (Rosamund John), Nurse Woods (Megs Jenkins), and Sister Marion Bates (Judy Campbell).
Barnes and Eden both have feelings for Nurse Linley, complicating their relationship outside of the operating room. When one of their patients, postman Joseph Higgins (Moore Marriott), dies on the operating table, Scotland Yard Inspector Cockrill (Alastair Sim) comes to crack the case… and both men become suspects, along with their nurses.
Green for Danger was directed by Sidney Gilliat, who also co-wrote the film with Claud Gurney. The film is based on a novel by Christianna Brand.
The drama unfolding in Green for Danger is part whodunit mystery, part Grey’s Anatomy! The personal lives and dramas of the doctors and nurses accompany the questions surrounding the postman’s death. Broken engagements, secret pasts, supply closet smooches… and that’s all before anyone even turns up dead!
The romantic drama is every bit as interesting as the mystery plot, and the two threads are intertwined as well. Suspicions fly over whether one of the doctors involved in the love triangle intentionally killed postman Higgins, or whether one of the nurses was involved.
In the process of unraveling its mystery, Green for Danger includes a few wonderfully thrilling moments, like Sister Marion’s run through the windy woods at night.
These darker and more chilling moments are beautifully photographed, adding hints of atmosphere to the hospital setting. And Higgins isn’t the only one to die, building even greater tension as the film moves along.
It’s not all chills and thrills, though, throughout Green for Danger. Once Inspector Cockrill arrives to crack the case, he brings some humor along with him. The script gives him touches of witty dialogue, and the detective himself is somewhat quirky. He seems perpetually amused by his work, sitting back with a smirk while two of his suspects engage in a wrestling match, for example.
In an interesting twist, Cockrill cracks the case by calling on his suspects to carry out an operation, replicating the conditions under which Higgins met his end. It’s a risky but clever move on the detective’s part, leading up to a nice twist ending.
Green for Danger is a cleverly written mystery and kept me hooked from beginning to end. Definitely one to add to your queue on FilmStruck!