Cottage to Let

Cottage to Let is a 1941 British spy thriller film directed by Anthony Asquith starring Leslie Banks, Alastair Sim and John Mills. Set in Second World War Scotland, its plot concerns Nazi spies trying to kidnap an inventor.

Cottage to Let
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnthony Asquith
Produced byEdward Black
Written byGeoffrey Kerr (play)
J. O. C. Orton
Anatole de Grunwald
StarringLeslie Banks
Alastair Sim
John Mills
George Cole
Music byCharles Williams
CinematographyJack E. Cox
Edited byR.E. Dearing
Production
company
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
Release date
6 September 1941
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The film was shot at the Lime Grove Studios in London, with sets designed by the art director Alex Vetchinsky.

Plot

Upper class Mrs. Barrington (Jeanne de Casalis) takes in two child evacuees from London, including cocky teenager Ronald (George Cole), lodging them in a cottage she owns. However, it has already been let to annoyingly inquisitive Charles Dimble (Alastair Sim). To compound the confusion, Mrs. Barrington had also agreed to allow it to be converted into a military hospital. Spitfire pilot Flight Lieutenant Perry (John Mills) parachutes into the nearby loch and becomes the first patient, tended by Mrs. Barrington's pretty daughter Helen (Carla Lehmann). Mrs. Barrington moves Ronald to the main house, while Dimble and Perry remain in the cottage.

Ronald makes friends with Mrs. Barrington's husband John (Leslie Banks), a brilliant but eccentric inventor, currently working on a bombsight for the Royal Air Force. However, he insists on working on his own. His assistant, Alan Trently (Michael Wilding), becomes jealous when Helen starts spending too much time with Perry. Eventually though, Helen lets Trently know that she prefers him.

Meanwhile, the government grows concerned about Barrington's security; his last invention, a self-sealing fuel tank, was copied by the Germans within a month of its mass production. Trently comes under suspicion, as he had been educated in Germany.

It turns out that there is cause for concern; German agents kidnap Barrington. Ronald stows away in the car used to take the captive to an isolated water mill. When Perry shows up, Ronald attacks one of the spies to help in the "rescue". Unfortunately, it is all in vain, as Perry is revealed to be the ringleader. Perry intends to take Barrington to Berlin on a seaplane which is due to arrive the next night.

However, Dimble turns out to be a British counterintelligence officer. He manages to infiltrate the ring and learn where Barrington is being held. All but one of the spies are captured and the prisoners are freed. Perry initially escapes, but is eventually tracked down and killed in a shootout with Dimble.

Cast

Bibliography

  • Ryall, Tom. Anthony Asquith. Manchester University Press, 2013.
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