Skip to content

Cottage to Let (1941)

And here I thought I was about to embark on some sort of British version of The More The Merrier where John Mills and Leslie Banks share a cottage during the war time housing shortage only to have beautiful Carla Lehmann turn up at their door. No sir. What I got was a somewhat light hearted story of a downed RAF fighter on the mend surrounded by some rather eccentric characters that morphs into a first rate war time thriller of Nazi agents and British spies that offers up more than one surprise.

Produced at Gaumont and directed by Anthony Asquith, the film begins with a wounded Mills being brought to a cottage intended to be used as a field hospital for the military that is owned by the flighty yet charming Jeanne De Casalis and her inventor husband Leslie Banks. Banks is working alongside his assistant Michael Wilding for the military. Also turning up at the cottage with a rental agreement accompanied by ominous music is Alastair Sim. Sim quickly proves himself to be a very nosey individual always digging into the background of others and asking leading questions.

A displaced youngster George Cole playing his first role is staying at the main house on the same property. Think of him as a Leo Gorcey type who doesn’t trust adults and finds himself cast in the role of his literary hero, Sherlock Holmes, as he becomes a central figure in the eventual espionage twist the plot takes.

The film maintains it’s lighthearted feel for the majority of the first hour of the film’s 86 minute running time. Much of that has to do with the romantic triangle set forth by the cocksure Mills, Miss Lehmann as the daughter of Banks and the bookish Wilding who may be meek but is in love with the daughter of his employer. While Mills is on the mend from a shoulder injury, Sims’ identity is unveiled when he uses a homing pigeon to deliver a message to Nazi agents. And so the film morphs into a spy thriller.

It seems that Banks is on the verge of inventing something that the military can use against the forces of Germany and the enemy agents want to kidnap Banks and take him back to the Fatherland for their own gain. When Banks is actually kidnapped it’s young Cole that will lead the comeback over the final half hour that will see good conquer evil and unveil some plot twisting surprises that gullible old me never saw coming.

Even more surprising or perhaps shocking is the better word is the level of violence that the movie resorts to over the action packed finale that delivers plenty of bloodshed.

John Mills is excellent here as the RAF fighter on the mend and it’s very easy to see why he would go on to such a long and award winning career. The beautiful Carla Lehmann was actually born here in Winnipeg, Canada. An actress I know nothing about. Seems she had a career in British films during the 40’s before retiring from the profession early on in the 1950’s. The most noticeable piece of trivia here is the fact that George Cole and Alastair Sim would both star in the now classic 1951 version of A Christmas Carol/Scrooge. As a matter of fact they both played the famous role of Ebenezer. Cole as the younger version, Sim as the cranky old timer we always picture.

Cottage to Let is one of those films that languished a might to long here on the shelf at Mike’s Take and of course after finally giving it a go, I’m sorry I waited so long. Even more so when I think of some of the title’s I put ahead of it over the last year or so since picking it up in a second hand shop. Looking for a copy? It’s available from VCI on DVD here in North America and would assume it’s available overseas in it’s homeland.

All in all, I’d be only to happy to revisit this engaging romantic war time thriller with a solid cast doing their utmost to keep me enthralled and glued to the screen.

11 Comments »

  1. I’m in the middle of a British cinema binge and I may slip in another viewing of this now that you’ve reminded me. It’s a nice movie indeed but it could hardly be anything else when you look at the people involved, not least Sim and Mills.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

An Irreverent Blog of Old Movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

An Irreverent Blog of Old Movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: