Sunday, 4 May 2014

The House of the Spaniard (1936)
 
Peter Haddon
This is one of those 1930s British films that it is rather difficult to find something to say about it. The story of an upper class twit (Peter Haddon) who stumbles upon an arms smuggling ring ...
 
... operated from the home and offices of a Spanish businessman (Allan Jeayes) ...
Allan Jeayes
... who is sending weapons to Spain to be used by a political group he supports.
 
This obviously has some significance, since the film was released in 1936 just as Spain embarked on its civil war, but the viewer never really gets to grips with which side are supposed to be the good guys. It does appear that Haddon ends up aiding the fascists, simply to win the heart of the Spaniard's daughter (Brigitte Horney):
Brigitte Horney
As a viewer of mid-20th Century British cinema, one of the most interesting things about the film was Peter Haddon and the way he handled his role. As an upper-class twit,  who wins the heart of the girl despite his own foolishness, there is something rather familiar about the portrayal. Well dressed, with a definite eye for the ladies and a carefully preened moustache, Haddon is like a prototype for the characters played by Leslie Phillips throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Peter Haddon
Haddon also wears one of the most stylishly interesting jackets that I have ever seen in British films of the period. During the 1930s the belt-back jacket became a popular fashion item, something which is now a sought after item by collectors of men's vintage clothing. And this example - with its one-button closure, interesting weave, three point scalloped yoke and rear pleats - would certainly find many eager buyers were it to ever appear on E-bay:


 
Mind you, this suit is also rather eye-catching - but not necessarily in a good way:

 
 
Let's have a look at the rest of the cast:
Abraham Sofaer

Fred O'Donovan

Gyles Isham

Jean Galland

Richard Norris & Ivor Barnard

and a rather nice little dog.
 
The House of the Spaniard is now available on Volume Five of The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection.
 
 
 
 

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