Blu-ray & DVD: Undercover (1943)
Undercover is a fascinating curiosity piece for many reasons, one being that it is the first movie appearance by Stanley Baker as a fresh faced 16 year old schoolboy who wants to help out in the war effort in Yugoslavia.
Made by Ealing studios, the movie concentrates on Yugoslav partisans who are battling the Nazi’s after the organised resistance movement has broken down.
Every word spoken and every action taken is a matter of life and death, as trusting the wrong person could easily lead to you losing your life.
Undercover works well in dramatising how to act safely while undercover in a war situation, but its strange way of progressing the narrative often takes you out of the tense situation.
Clipped British accents and stiff spines abound throughout its entire running time, and the use of stock footage from WWII is not uncommon in war movies.
It is however the use of miniatures that regularly took me by surprise. Often used in the most weird of situations (a brief shot of a soldier on a motorcycle…would it really have been too expensive or time consuming to film that?) my mind went from the horrors of war to Michael Bentine’s Potty Time. Not the most sobering of thoughts while you are watching a war drama.
Partly filmed in the hills of South Wales the landscapes look superb, and the picture throughout is outstanding for a movie that is 75+ years old thanks to its first release in HD.
Coming in at a lean 80 minutes, Undercover never outstays its welcome and the performances are good throughout. It’s just a pity that I still have Michael Bentine in my mind while writing this review…luckily for me Network have also released it, so time to go and buy that too.
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