Dick Barton at Bay (1950)

More action and excitement in the second Dick Barton spy thriller from Hammer Films. DD-Video R2 DVD from the Dick Barton boxset.

The Film

A British Agent is persued through a dockyard, reaching a phone box he is able to pass a last, cryptic message to his colleague Dick Barton. In a posh apartment,a Russian agent named Serge Volkoff greets the two assassins before explaining to them his plan to kidnap the eminant scientist  Professor Mitchell and his daughter. Mitchell, meanwhile, is demonstrating his invention to ministers from the British War Department, it is a ray that will explode fuel aboard a plane from a distance of up to twenty miles. Realising something is amiss, Dick Barton rushes to Mitchell's house but discovers that Volkoff and his men have already been, and kidnapped the pair. Barton manages to track the kidnappers to a warehouse and hiding in a truck, discovers their deadly plan...

Although the second film produced in the Dick Barton trilogy, Dick Barton at Bay was in fact released third, a year after the tragic death of lead actor Don Stannard. From the opening, it is clear that ...At Bay is a million miles away from the physical comedy of ...Secret Agent (1948) and we get a much darker film overall. The storyline is pretty standard with a bad guy trying to seize a powerful new weapon, although the mood of the times is reflected in the Russian rather than German villian. Pacing is slow and steady but doesn't drag allowing time to build up a tense and action-packed finalé.

Director Godfrey Grayson was the new big name at Hammer Studios, directing 9 films between 1949 and 1950, including another radio-show adaptation The Adventures of P.C. 49 (1949). His direction here, although nothing revolutionary, is much better than ...Secret Agent (1948) and makes the film flow easily, stock footage and location shoots merge well with the studio interiors. A bigger budget also means a full orchestral score is present for most of the picture, with the Devil's Gallop theme tune cropping up in the action scenes.

Dick Barton At Bay is a much better film than its predecessor. The plot is slow but builds up well to a strong climax and the direction is decent. Partly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good adventure film in the style of the classic serials.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? Don Stannard - the dashing star of all three of Hammer's Dick Barton films.
Directed by anyone interesting? Godfrey Grayson - directed 9 early Hammer movies, including Jack the Ripper picture Room to Let (1950)
Any violence/gore? Some fist fights, nothing more.
Any sex? None.
Who is it for?
Fans of the spy/adventure serials should enjoy this early Hammer production.
Good soundtrack? An orchestral soundtrack fits the film well.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Black and White.
The print is of a relatively low quality. The picture is generally very grainy like a television or VHS print and there are continual speckles on the print. Distracting at first but should be watchable. Similar to a public domain style print.
Audio English language original mono sound. Clear for the most part but with some background crackling.
Subtitles None.
Run-timeFeature: 1hr 04m 50s (PAL)
Extras None on the disc, see boxset for more.
AvailabilityOnly avaliable in the Dick Barton Trilogy boxset.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? None known.
Cuts? None known.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 11th July 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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