The sleepy little fishing village of Echo Bay in England is the hotbed for an illegal smuggling gang run by Nazi agents.  Doctor Sigmund Casper (Geoffrey Wincott) is a Nazi and the leader of the smugglers.  He is disguised as a Swedish biologist.  He is working with local fishermen, Roscoe (Farnham Baxter) and Regan (Morris Sweden).  Casper’s partner, Kurt Schuler (Arthur Bush) is also a Nazi.

The British Government, aware that smuggling is going on, sends Dick Barton (Don Stannard) to investigate with the cover story that he is there on holiday.  With him are Jock Anderson (Jack Shaw) and Snowey White (George Ford).  Casper finds out that Barton is on his way, so he sends Roscoe and Regan to stop him.  The duo tries to shoot Barton as he and his friends drive by.  Barton pretends to be dead so as to confuse his would-be killers. 

At Echo Bay Barton and his gang are staying with Jean (Gillian Maude) and Mrs. Betsy Horrock (Beatrice Kane).  At breakfast they are served lobster.  Betsy said the delivery boy dropped off the wrong order.  The lobster was supposed to go to Dr. Casper.  Inside each lobster they find black market goods.  Barton now knows who is doing the smuggling.  What he doesn’t know is that the Nazis have developed a way to poison London’s water supply with deadly germs.  Unless he can stop them, the population is in serious danger. 

“Dick Barton: Special Agent” AKA “Dick Barton: Detective” was released in 1948 and was directed by Alfred J. Goulding.  It is a British crime thriller produced by the Hammer Film Studios.  The Dick Barton character is based on a weekly fifteen-minute British radio program from the BBC that ran from 1946 to 1951.

Hammer Studios did three Dick Barton films.  The second was “Dick Barton Strikes Back” in 1949 and “Dick Barton At Bay” in 1950.  In 1979 the British company “Southern Television” produced a television series on the Dick Barton character.  In common with the radio series, the episodes were fifteen minutes long.  Thirty-two episodes were done.  Several musical stage plays were also done starting in 1999 and ending in 2010.    

I found the fake fighting amusing, almost as much as the over acting.  In fact, most of the film focuses on comic relief instead of crime, even those parts that are not supposed to be comical.  The fight scenes are especially silly.  Lots of windmill swinging and air punches. 

The movie is reminiscent of Saturday Matinee serials but on a much smaller scale.  Looking at the film from that point of view you can forgive the faux pas since it is meant to appeal to younger audiences.  I guess I would have to classify the movie as “cute”.  After all, the only ones more incompetent than Dick Barton’s buddies are the Nazis.

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