Counterblast (1948)

Article #689 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 2-2-2003
Posting date: 7-2-2003
Directed by Paul L. Stein
Featuring Mervyn Johns, Nova Pilbeam, Karel Stepanek

A Nazi scientist escapes imprisonment, and impersonates an English bacterioligist so he can develop an antidote to a plague virus that he is hoping to use for world conquest.

The science fiction elements present in this story seem slight (the plague virus), but they do drive the story, so this British spy thriller is definitely in the fantastic movie category. It’s a bit on the longish side (it runs 100 minutes), and after the first ten minutes, it settles down into a kind of talky drama that is actually a lot more interesting than it could have been, due to the decent story, the interesting characters, and the solid acting (particularly from Mervyn Johns). Unfortunately, the movie loses its way just when you’re expecting it to take off; the last ten minutes are unfocused and anticlimactic, and the ending is convenient, contrived and unsatisfying. This is a real shame; it could have been a much better movie if only it had ended with a bang. As it is, the lack of a good ending is probably one of the reasons the movie remains somewhat obscure today.

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