Dark achievement
Six melodramas
in Lance Comfort
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The period of Lance Comfort's most sustained achievement, when he comes nearest to being an autonomous cultural producer, begins with Great Day in 1945 and cuts off sharply with the commercial failure of Portrait of Clare in 1950. These two and the four intervening films, Bedelia, Temptation Harbour, Daughter of Darkness, and Silent Dust are all melodramas of one kind or other. Great Day is a film which belongs on the cusp of peacetime British cinema. If Great Day is only melodrama in part of its action, two further pieces centred on the activities of 'wicked women', Bedelia and Daughter of Darkness, epitomise the mode in full cry, their protagonists exemplifying Comfort's interest in the melodrama of obsession. Like Daughter of Darkness, The Silent Dust is based on a play on which it considerably improves: The Paragon, by Roland and Michael Pertwee, first produced in London in 1948.

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