The Green Cockatoo (1937)

January 28th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: William Cameron Menzies | Cast: John Mills, Rene Ray, Robert Newton, Charles Oliver | UK Crime Drama 70′

Although John Mills is technically the star, The Green Cockatoo is principally told through the big blue eyes of Miss Rene Ray as a country mouse who gets a crash course in what “a vile and wicked city London is”; while, as directed by visionary production designer William Cameron Menzies, it anticipates the feel of a forties film noir (complete with a score by Miklos Rozsa).

Old movies often provide incidental details of interest to later social historians: in this case that the phrase “a bit of a goer” was in use back in the 1930s. The film further charmingly shows its age by depicting John Mills as a song & dance man – first seen singing in a night club before briefly launching into an incredible swivel-hipped tap dance. We’re expected to believe he and Robert Newton are brothers (presumably only their mother could tell them apart) further showing just how long it was made when Mills describes him as “a good kid”. @RichardChatten

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