I’m falling down on the job again. No posts since the 12th. This is not because I haven’t been reading, but because I’ve been reading too many things at once and not finishing any of them. Soon there will be a series of posts as I’m finishing them all now.
In the meantime, what I did this past month was view the series of things with the pair known as Charters & Caldicott. They first appear in The Lady Vanishes in 1938, an early and amusing Alfred Hitchcock film. Margaret Lockwood is a young rich girl heading home from eastern Europe to get married. She meets Dame May Whitty, gets conked in the head by a flower pot and then is looked after by the old lady until the lady vanishes. No one on the train will admit to having seen her, but Margaret Lockwood sticks to her guns and keeps searching. Charters and Caldicott are two of the passengers who saw Miss Froy, but are unwilling to admit as much because they want to get back to England for the cricket. The Lady Vanishes is a fun though not terribly suspenseful movie.
Two years later, Carol Reed made Night Train to Munich by the same writers who did Lady Vanishes. Margaret Lockwood is also in this one, but this time she plays the Czech daughter of famous scientist who is of great interest to the Nazis. They arrest her, but her father escapes to England. I don’t want to spoil the plot so I won’t explain how she’s later on a train with Charters and Caldicott, but there they are as war is declared with England and Charters (or is it Caldicott?) is mostly worried about getting his golf clubs back from a friend he loaned them to in Berlin. They play a pivotal role after hemming and hawing and once again not wanting to get involved, but finally honor wins out. Night Train to Munich is also well worth watching. In addition to Lockwood and Charters reading Mein Kampf, there’s a relentlessly cheeky young Rex Harrison.
And last, also probably least, in the 80s they re-appeared in a six part BBC mystery series which aired in the US on PBS’ Mystery. I’m fairly sure I saw it back then, but had completely forgotten it. It seems to be available only on youtube in 24 14 minute segments. The picture’s fairly bad and the audio is terrible, but what can you do? It doesn’t seem to be available from my usual sources. My gratitude to the person who posted it, probably from an old video of the series. At any rate, I was enjoying it, C & C are now in their 60s and retired and they meet every month to have lunch and see a movie, but they get into an argument about cricket scores and need to go back to Caldicott’s flat to look up the result where they find the body of a young woman. The characters are great – older versions of them as they appeared in the movies. Unfortunately, the ending didn’t make any sense to me. I’m not sure if this is because I missed something with the poor sound, or it really doesn’t make sense. I could not figure out how the murderer stood to benefit from the crimes. I might read the book to see if it makes more sense. A pity, because up until then I was very much enjoying their characters.