The Clouded Yellow (4 stars)

The Clouded Yellow

(PG) 90min

This gripping, fast-paced British thriller from 1950 follows the man-and-woman-on-the-run formula popularised elsewhere by Alfred Hitchcock. Based on a witty screenplay by Janet Green (who later went on the write Victim), it is, perhaps surprisingly, directed with punch and flare by Ralph Thomas, who’s better known for his Doctor comedies with Dirk Bogarde. Trevor Howard plays a spy forcibly retired by his boss who takes a quiet job in the country cataloguing butterflies and promptly falls in love with his employer’s niece (the late and lovely Jean Simmons). When she’s framed for the murder of a local lad, the old instincts kick in and the ex-spy takes flight with the girl in tow, whereupon the fugitives are pursued up and down the country by the police and by Kenneth More’s wry spook. The location work — Newcastle, the Lake District and Liverpool docks — is excellent and the performances spot on, although the ending is oddly abrupt. No extras.

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