Dick Barton, Detective Film Details
Overview: Government agent Dick Barton battles a ring of Nazi spies who are planning to poison the entire London water supply.
Review: I was nine years old when Dick Barton finally left the Light Programme (rough though not exact equivalent now Radio 2) in 1950 to make way for The Archers. In its short life it made a huge impression on the wartime and post-war generation of kids (and many adults)and it’s difficult now to express what a thrill it was in those radio obsessed and almost TVless days to anticipate seeing on the screen what had previously been left to the imagination. And therein lies a good part of the problem. We all had our mental visions of Dick, Snowy and Jock and the chances of their screen counterparts matching these was virtually nil. For my money Don Stannard, who tragically died in a car crash at 33 in 1949 just after the third and final Barton film, made a good and physically acceptable Dick Barton, though he could never match Noel Johnson’s distinctive radio voice, and George Ford a good Snowy (or was it Snowey – sources differ?). More on Jock Anderson, the third of the trio, below. I cannot but agree with the comments of other reviewers on the film. It is awful. The radio series may have been very much tongue in cheek, though we kids never thought so at the time, but the film takes itself seriously while having no plausible plot, some dreadful acting and directing and almost non-existent continuity. At one point Dick breaks into a building and somehow manages to change his shirt while he is in there! So to Jock Anderson, played by Jack Shaw in what according to IMDb was his only film. In my view this is far and away its main fault. On radio Jock was a young, agile and athletic man, a reliable lieutenant to “Mr” Barton, and who had served in a Highland regiment during the war. Here he is unforgivably portrayed as a stage Scotsman, much in the Harry Lauder mould,in full tartan gear and clearly cast for comic relief. At one point he is in a stretch of water and there is a close up of a tadpole wriggling on his bald head. Laugh!? I thought I’d never start. It was a thoughtless and stupid insult to Barton fans. I can only assume that the Director had no working knowledge of the radio series or, if he had, unaccountably chose to ignore it. Perhaps you should do the same with the film.
Duration: 70 min
Genre: Action, Crime
Also known as: Dick Barton: Special Agent,Dick Barton, Detective,Dick Barton – Geheimagent