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  Night My Number Came Up, The The Dream Theme
Year: 1955
Director: Leslie Norman
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Sheila Sim, Alexander Knox, Denholm Elliott, Ursula Jeans, Ralph Truman, Michael Hordern, Nigel Stock, Bill Kerr, Alfie Bass, George Rose, Victor Maddern, David Orr, David Yates, Doreen Aris, Richard Davies, Percy Herbert
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: An aeroplane has been lost somewhere in the mountains of Japan, or that's what the British Air Force officers posted there believe, but there is a message for the search team from Commander Lindsay (Michael Hordern). He cannot say why, but he thinks they are looking in the wrong place for the survivors, and offers an area they have not been scanning to seek them instead. The reasoning behind this mysterious information is not anything that would be officially recognised, after all, who would believe a dream..?

The Night My Number Came Up was one of those unassuming little British films, one of the dramatic ones from the Ealing Studios, which hinges on such an ingenious item of intrigue that even if you saw it years ago, it'll spring to mind immediately when it's mentioned. "What was that movie where they were on the plane and the prediction it was to crash came true?" might be the kind of question that arises in connection with this, and while the title may not be readily conjured up, the fact that it was based on a true story offered it that degree of credence.

Especially as it was based on a newspaper article from a genuine Air Force officer, an important one too, Sir Victor Goddard - who just happened to be an ardent spritulaist as well, which may go some way to explaining how he happened to come up with the dream in the first place if he was so much interested in such paranormal goings-on. Of course, that simply throws up more questions, and the film was not about to answer them other than to depict what happened and leave you with a little frisson about there being more things in this world dreamt of in our philosophy, you know the sort of thing.

The Goddard stand-in character was Hordern's Lindsay, although it's all right for him as he doesn't go anywhere near the plane he has made the prediction about, simply showing up for a dinner party a few of the other characters who will be travelling on it attend, and putting the wind up them with his nightmare. The puzzle arises that if he had kept it to himself, would that have had any bearing on the outcome? Which the film considers, as the fact the pilot was told and such professionals can be a superstitious bunch (according to this - more superstitious than the Navy?) might have put the thought in his mind that there may well be dire problems up ahead.

Lindsay has claimed that the crash will be fatal, and as the details he mapped out begin to turn out to be true - the make of plane, the eight passengers and five staff onboard (making the conveniently unlucky number thirteen) - one of the passengers, Robertson (Alexander Knox) who is taking his first flight starts to worry. The Air Marshall (Michael Redgrave) is not so convinced, and insists that they should put their faith in the here and now, not some supernatural balderdash, but even he is having doubts when the ice forms on the wings and they get lost in a fierce storm. If there's a problem with this, it's not so much the suspension of disbelief, that part is quite fun, it's that the original article was pretty short and director Leslie Norman had his work cut out for him stretching the suspense over an hour and a half. Fortunately he managed it, so if the plot is undernourished, all hands here stepped up to the challenge admirably. Music (heavy on the spooky noises) by Malcolm Arnold.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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