Beacons in the Dark: Lighthouse Iconography in Wartime British Cinema (1941-1942)
In To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf evocatively described the eponymous structure, based on craggy Godrevy Lighthouse in Cornwall, as a “silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye that opened suddenly and softly in the evening” (Woolf 202). Lighthouses have long inspired writers and filmmakers, and these iconic structures have entered the collective consciousness as potent symbols of isolation, protection and guidance. During the Second World War, lighthouse iconography predominated in four British films - The Seventh Survivor (1941), Tower of Terror (1941), Back-Room Boy (1942) and Thunder Rock (1942) - as an expression of the societal anxieties and aspirations of an embattled Great Britain.
The lighthouse in The Seventh Survivor (dir. Leslie S. Hiscott, 1941) is a propagandistic emblem, symbolizing British sovereignty and militarism. A towering lighthouse on a high cliff, rocky headland or offshore islet offered psychological comfort as an indication of military presence and national authority. Beyond its utilitarian function as maritime sentinel, the lighthouse was seen as a beacon of modernity, demonstrating a nation's scientific, technological and military prowess. In wartime years, lighthouses took on greater significance, as Britain was heavily dependent for supplies and munitions imported by sea, and merchant ships were often targeted by German U-boats (Murphy 22). It was perceived that a “coastline brightly lit was a concrete and highly visible declaration of a nation's commitment to safety at sea” and at home (Schiffer 280). Analogous to the castle or church spire in medieval times, during the Second World War lighthouses kept vigil not just for residents of seaside towns, but on behalf of the entire British populace. Lighthouses were tasked with anticipating any land invasions by enemy aircraft and vessels. Given their isolated location, however, lighthouses themselves remained highly vulnerable to attack from both the sea and sky. The fictitious Canon’s Rock Lighthouse in The Seventh Survivor mirrors this tension between invulnerability and susceptibility. In the film, the lighthouse is under threat from German infiltration. The danger here presents itself as external, in the form of nefarious German submarine Captain Hartzmann (Austin Trevor), as well as internal, in the form of a traitorous ‘quisling’ among the seven survivors. This duality belies trepidation not only of enemy invasion, but also of the loyalty of British citizens. Canon’s Rock, accordingly, takes on a didactic dimension, reminding wartime viewers of the constant need for vigilance against both foreign and domestic threats. Of the latter, the film suggests that the greatest hazard posed to the lighthouse, and by extension the entire country, is negligent security. Ineptitude and indiscretion are shown as the most blameworthy in causing disastrous lapses. These failures are epitomized by the lighthouse keeper’s assistant (Ronald Shiner) whose trusting nature and bumbling work ethic allow Hartzmann to repeatedly gain the upper hand. The lighthouse keeper (Ralph Truman) is similarly problematic. On the one hand, he is an admirable archetype of the no-nonsense, working-class Briton; on the other hand, he is derided as “not the sort of man to be in charge of a lighthouse in war time.” He also demonstrates unscrupulous behaviour, agreeing to help one of the survivors embezzle money and planting incriminating evidence on the body of another castaway. As ambiguous symbols of national identity and national traits, the lighthouse keeper and his assistant serve as an explicit warning of the perils of ‘loose talk’ and ‘loose morals’ in times of war.
The lighthouse setting of The Seventh Survivor also reflects tacit concerns over the fragility of British national character under extraordinary pressures of war. At first the shipwrecked passengers demonstrate an imperturbable stoicism. When the German Captain joins their lifeboat uninvited, the survivors engage in a judicious debate on whether to throw him overboard. The passengers uphold this “traditional British calm” on arrival at the lighthouse. As Hartzmann and the keeper exchange invectives, one passenger (Linden Travers) interrupts benignly, “Can’t we have our tea while you have your row?” Even after Hartzmann assumes control of the lighthouse and reveals the presence of a ‘quisling’ among the ranks, the passengers stay nonchalant. The aristocratic Mrs. Lindley (Martita Hunt) continues to play bridge, while speculating tactfully on the possible identity of the traitor. A counterpoint is Tony Anzoni (Charles Goldner), a ridiculous Italian stereotype who manically threatens to show his “genuine British passport” when anyone questions his loyalty or citizenship. British stoicism, nonetheless, comes under attack, proving as vulnerable as the lighthouse itself. The cramped environment of Canon’s Rock begins to undermine the placidity of the survivors. Claustrophobia breeds irritation; isolation breeds irrational fears. Xenophobia is exacerbated in this sequestered situation, with ethnic slurs exchanged frequently. Shrouded in fog, distant from land, with external communication severed, the obstructive lighthouse quickly destabilizes the passengers’ unity. Alliances are forged, conspiracies are hatched, in the curving corners and darkened hallways of the lighthouse. Observing the survivors’ deteriorating composure, Hartzmann wryly perceives, “This is a lighthouse full of funny people.” By removing the characters from the shelter of their normative social world, the lighthouse setting has fostered an atmosphere of intense paranoia. Boundaries between ‘loyal friend’ and ‘traitorous enemy’ are shattered, and what remains are fluctuating “melodramatic categories of good and evil” (Landy 121). In such extreme circumstances, the fortitude of the British people has been tested and found wanting. Yet any implied reservations about the nation’s tenuous psyche are decisively resolved in the character of Hartzmann. Revealed to be an undercover British spy, Hartzmann’s equanimity and competence thwart the invasion, and reestablish the Canon’s Rock lighthouse in its position of dominion. The wartime audience watching The Seventh Survivor can rest reassured that ordinary British courage and determination have ultimately triumphed.
As in The Seventh Survivor, the fictional Westerrode Lighthouse in Tower of Terror (dir. Lawrence Huntington, 1941) is used to reflect British wartime audiences’ dread of the German enemy. The enemy here manifests not as a scheming quisling or an undercover agent, but as a deranged lighthouse keeper. This character, though, in no way resembles the down-to-earth keeper or his humorously inept assistant in The Seventh Survivor. German Captain Rolfe Kristan (Wilfred Lawson) is a threatening presence, with bulging eyes, unkempt moustache and a mutilated arm with a sharp metal prosthetic in place of a right hand. In addition to a physical defect, he is damaged psychologically, “tormented, enraged and divided” (Landy 394). An early scene shows Kristan using his hook to lacerate a man’s face during an altercation, a testament to his insensible brutality. The film, however, is not without some sympathy for its lighthouse keeper. Kristan’s mental and moral deterioration is initially attributed to the isolation of lighthouse life. A former assistant keeper explains, “A lighthouse is lonely enough, but when you don’t hear your voice for weeks on end, it’s like being buried alive.” Just as the seclusion of Canon’s Rock exposes its unwilling guests’ misanthropy, years of imposed solitude at a remote lighthouse have made Kristan obsessed with his deceased wife. When concentration camp escapee Marie Durand (Movita) arrives, Kristan transfers his bizarre fixation onto her. He imprisons Marie inside the lighthouse, and his mental state deteriorates into insanity. By the time he divulges that his wife was a victim of uxoricide, any empathy the viewer feels for the anguished keeper is long gone. In this way, Kristan presents a conventional war film antagonist: the German as barbarian, a perpetrator of violence, a monstrous alien ‘other’ who must be demonized. He is also a conventional horror film antagonist, his behaviour and physical appearance signaling “deep-seated social fears relating to the existence and representation of deformity, sexuality, violence” (Landy 390). A British wartime audience, consciously fearful of an imminent German invasion, would be repulsed and frightened by Tower of Terror’s aberrant lighthouse keeper. The film would have certainly triggered and exploited germane anxieties over attack at the hands of an aggressive, foreign adversary.
Lighthouse imagery enhances the foreboding atmosphere of Tower of Terror. The promotional poster features a blood red lighthouse askew in the background, vividly illustrating its deviant status. In the film itself, the tower is often photographed at sharp angles in shadowy silhouette, to emphasize its inherent danger and otherworldliness. Interior scenes are heavily darkened, creating a suitably sinister atmosphere (although some exterior and night shots are so enshrouded as to be totally indecipherable.) The interior appears as a maze of pitch dark, subterranean passageways, and yet with nowhere to hide from the disturbed brute that controls the lighthouse. Such cinematography subverts the usual association of a lighthouse as a place of safety. In this context, it symbolises not a beacon of hope or refuge in stormy weather, but a nightmarish prison from which the protagonists must flee, to the friendly harbours of the English homeland. An opening title card indicates that the Westerrode lighthouse is located not on Allied but enemy territory, unlike other lighthouses depicted in British wartime cinema. Situated “three miles off the German Coast” on a “lonely outpost of the North Sea,” the lighthouse exists in a German-controlled domain. A foreign setting functions in much the same way as a foreign lighthouse keeper, manipulating British antagonism for German authority. For that reason, Westerrode is the only screen lighthouse to undergo bombardment and obliteration. As an insinuation of German incompetence and a valorization of English ingenuity, a German frigate mistakenly attacks and demolishes its own lighthouse. The malevolent lighthouse keeper is fatally crushed inside the crumbling tower, while Marie and English spy Michael Rennie (Anthony Hale) escape into the dark night. This propagandistic ending would satisfy British cinemagoers during wartime. Demolition of the Tower of Terror lighthouse would be validating to those viewers who felt insecure over an impending victory by an abhorrent foreign enemy.
Anxiety over emasculation of British culture during the war is revealed through the lighthouse of Back-Room Boy (dir. Herbert Mason, 1942). As an icon, the lighthouse is an unabashedly masculine domain, sex-segregated and removed from the feminizing comforts of the city. The lighthouse, as with other cylindrical structures such as towers, smokestacks and pillars, is also a phallic symbol, figurative of patriarchal authority and sublimated masculine prowess. In Back-Room Boy, however, the lighthouse becomes the domain of Arthur Pilbeam (Arthur Askey), the antithesis of male power, an effeminate, diminutive public servant (footnote 1) with a liminal heterosexuality. This depiction is symptomatic of homophobic and chauvinistic undercurrents in Great Britain during the war. The film reinforces a fear that with men largely absent serving overseas, emasculated men were taking over traditionally ‘macho’ occupations, even working-class professions, including lighthouse keeping. In his portrayal of hapless Pilbeam, Askey is “irritating, graceless and childish, and above all, he is small” (Harper 94). Sue Harper astutely suggests that this screen persona was developed as “an unconscious response to the sexual fears of the male audience. That audience was depleted in wartime, and the male population in any case was subject to extreme exigencies and dangers” (94). In response to such ‘castration’ fears, Pilbeam, in his professional role as lighthouse keeper, never represents a threat to the dominant male hierarchy. He is anxious and cowardly, evading danger and responsibility at every opportunity. In one scene, he entreats his German captor, “Be British.” In response, the German calls him “half a man” and spits at him. Even in his unlikely transformation from a pathetic figure to a heroic one, the “emphasis is less on efficiency and rationality than on the sense of muddling through” (Landy 344). Pilbeam mocks the lighthouse keeper as a symbol of independence and perseverance in a desolate, perilous environment. More significantly, he presents a caricature of the effeminate, ineffectual British man.
Back-Room Boy and most wartime Askey comedies “express extreme anxiety about women” (Harper 94). During the war years, there was concern that women would encroach into the workplace and supplant men returning home from combat duty. Pilbeam underscores this fear with his overt misogyny. After a broken engagement with his attractive young fiancé, Pilbeam asks his bosses for a reassignment, explaining that he wants to work in a place “where men are men, and women are just pictures cut out of magazines.” He is assigned to a remote offshore lighthouse in northern Scotland in order to be “removed from female influence.” This desire to retreat to the male bastion of a lighthouse represents an objectification and rejection of the feminine. Unexpectedly, Pilbeam finds the masculine territory of his lighthouse invaded and conquered by females (in this instance, a group of shipwrecked beauty models.) He vainly protests over and over, “Not in my lighthouse,” only to be overwhelmed by women running in all directions. Further, in his interactions with the little stowaway Jane (Vera Frances), Pilbeam gets outwitted, reduced to spouting feeble platitudes such as, “I hate your sex. I loathe women, all of them!” He is soon forced to declare a truce with his uninvited female companions, cooperating with Jane and the models to foil a German invasion (a plotline shared with The Seventh Survivor.) In one final subjugation to female dominance, however, he returns home from the lighthouse as a hero, only to discover that his ex-fiancé has taken over his former job. Pilbeam’s lighthouse keeper proves impotent and neutered metaphorically, in defense against the advancement and empowerment of women. This indicates a deep-rooted nervousness over changing gender roles in wartime British society.
In the same way that the lighthouse structure inspires the suspense in The Seventh Survivor and the horror in Tower of Terror, the physical space of the lighthouse inspires the comedy in Back-Room Boy. Labyrinthine passageways, curving staircases, and claustrophobic rooms with multiple doors create the visual confusion needed to execute the broad slapstick humour in the film. One scene is reminiscent of the stateroom scene from the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera (1935) with a tiny room inside the lighthouse bursting open at capacity (albeit with laughing leggy models instead of crew members and steamer trunks.) The lighthouse also provides an ingenious prop to effect the disappearances, one by one, of the “torpedoed” women marooned with Pilbeam. The befuddled keeper even discovers an old wooden lighthouse built inside the lighthouse, joking, “Who built this lighthouse, Jasper Maskelyne?” This witticism, which betrays an underlying seriousness to the film, refers to a famous illusionist who worked for British Military Intelligence on large-scale camouflage projects, including a Potemkin village-esque fake lighthouse (footnote 2) constructed the same year that the film was released. The cinematic lighthouse of Back-Room Boy likewise plays with illusion, disorientation and deception. Here, however, distortion of spatial perceptions amuses and appeases an audience distressed over the war and its anticipated impact on gender relations.
Conversely, the lighthouse in Thunder Rock (dir. Roy Boulting, 1942) takes on a solemn didactic function, serving as a parable of the evils of appeasement. Explicitly propagandistic, it warns a wartime audience against apathy and inaction, and retreat from responsibility into isolationism. This messaging is comparable with that of The Seventh Survivor in which the audience is cautioned on the consequences of dereliction of duty. Thunder Rock, based on a 1939 play by Robert Ardrey, tells the story of English journalist David Charleston (Michael Redgrave) who flees to a remote Canadian lighthouse on Lake Michigan, after becoming disillusioned in his campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of Fascism. The concept of ‘nation’ offers an additional remonstration here: Charleston abandons the motherland for the security of a ‘colony’. In his position as lighthouse keeper, Charleston represents the middle-class British intellectual who despairs over the futility of individual action, and feels powerless to stop what he perceives to be the annihilation of civilization. He laments the deaths of reason, morality, justice and peace brought about by war, and he is conscious of his need to escape from this “Darkening World” into a fantasy world inside the lighthouse. This voluntary exile to an isolated outpost is a symptom of his loss of faith in humanity and in his own capacity to effect meaningful change. In an early scene, Charleston is visited at Thunder Rock by his close friend, Streeter (James Mason). He accuses Charleston of retreating to an “ivory tower” which disconnects him from the ugly realities of human existence in wartime. For Streeter, less morally conflicted and more optimistic than his friend, the solitude of the lighthouse equates with willful cowardice and ignorance. Charleston responds by saying, “I have to escape from a world I can’t help,” and Streeter becomes enraged, asserting that “keeping watch” passively is not a substitute for constructive action. In this way, the lighthouse becomes a fulcrum for debate on passive complacency versus active confrontation.
The lighthouse functions cinematically and metaphorically as a portal to other temporal realms and to the protagonist’s own conscience. Once left alone in the lighthouse, Charleston conjures up the ghosts of a passenger ship sunk in stormy weather near Thunder Rock in 1849. The passengers were all immigrants to the new world, disillusioned and persecuted in England, deserting their homeland for the refuge of the colony. Each is a figment of Charleston’s tortured imagination, fleshed out by his own internal dilemmas. The lighthouse allows these spectral figures new life and a new voice: doorways open up to reveal flashbacks of their former existences, including their Dickensian struggles for justice in an unenlightened society, and their motivations for “running away” in resignation. Empathetic with their personal and political failures but also frightened by their hopelessness, Charleston is awakened to a renewed commitment to fighting Fascism and creating a more egalitarian world. In the final scene, he leaves Thunder Rock a redeemed man, his idealism and faith restored. Here the lighthouse assumes its traditional symbolism, a beacon pointing the way forward in tumultuous times, a guiding light to help navigate rough personal and political waters, a signpost that directs the way safely to salvation. (This romanticised notion is mirrored in the promotional poster.) It further promotes, in this context, the lofty belief that one individual with a courageous commitment to a ‘just cause’ can succeed. The cinematography of the lighthouse is equally important in emphasizing these themes. Owing to its theatrical origins and to its production during the height of wartime austerity measures, Thunder Rock uses a minimalist studio-bound set. This proves ideal for creating a sense of restrictive seclusion that intensifies the protagonist’s psychological distress. Charleston’s moral ambivalence is echoed in the “doomy chiaroscuro” of the lighthouse, with slowly turning Fresnel lenses casting swaths of dark and light that, alternatively, foster illusion and reveal truth (Ede 41). The non-linear narrative of Thunder Rock, with its discontinuities of time and space, is facilitated by this use of shadow, along with expressionistic camera angles within the lighthouse’s interior. In rendering these transitions from past to present, the film combines “deep-focus cinematography and titled sets,” constructed at a 12° angle, which became known later as ‘Boulting’s Folly’ (Chapman 90). Forcing the actors to adjust their posture and movements, most noticeably when negotiating the inner staircase of the lighthouse, the atypical incline enhances the haunting unreality of the fantasy sequences. Film critic Laurie Ede also suggests that it enables “Charleston to observe his own folly in not fulfilling [his] duties” (38). This aesthetic sophistication elevates Thunder Rock and its lighthouse to a nuanced allegory of moral and spiritual uncertainty, intended to rouse wartime audiences out of indolence and complacency.
In analysing lighthouses as metaphors for wartime insecurities and ambitions, an illuminating comparison point can be found in the depression-era The Phantom Light (dir. Michael Powell, 1935). Like Thunder Rock, the film was an adaptation, based on the play The Haunted Light by Evadne Price and Joan Roy Byford. Unlike Thunder Rock and the other lighthouse films previously examined, The Phantom Light was not confined to stock footage, theatrical staging or studio sets. Eddystone Lighthouse offshore from Devon was used for many of the exteriors (with other scenes filmed nearby at Hartland Point, and in Gwynedd, Wales.) Understandably, such location filming would be impractical during the war, given that lighthouses were required to maintain a blackout, except when assisting Allied convoys, and that these stations were subject to frequent German air raids (footnote 3). Powell, though, was fortunate to complete his film in the relative peace of the interwar years. In Eddystone he encountered an iconic rock tower, surrounded by choppy ocean and possessed with a stark, utilitarian beauty. Considerable screen time is also devoted to the inner mechanics of the lighthouse, with one lengthy scene depicting fractured light patterns cast kaleidoscopically by the revolving lenses. Of the project, Powell would later enthuse in his autobiography, "I am a sucker for lighthouses. The lonelier and inaccessible, the better” (Powell 236). In its themes and characterizations, moreover, The Phantom Light shares commonalities with subsequent lighthouse films. The film opens with Sam Higgins (Gordon Harker) arriving in the tiny Welsh town of Tan y Bwlch to assume his post as the new chief keeper of the North Stack lighthouse. The locals inform him that the two previous keepers disappeared, presumably through suicide or perhaps murder, and that another member of the lighthouse’s crew has gone mad. More inexplicably, when vessels approach the lighthouse, the light extinguishes itself and a second "phantom" light appears on an outlying cliff, luring ships to destruction on the rocks. Similar to Tower of Terror, there is an assumption that the secluded living conditions of the lighthouse trigger insanity. The suspense-thriller tone of The Phantom Light also echoes that of The Seventh Survivor: the characters inhabit an isolated, claustrophobic space in which loyalty cannot be assured, and allies and enemies cannot be easily distinguished. The characterization of Higgins, furthermore, harkens to the lighthouse Captain in The Seventh Survivor. Both are stereotypes of plain-speaking Cockneys who provide comic fodder through their wisecracking belligerence and slight ineptitude. The prewar Welsh milieu, nonetheless, differentiates The Phantom Light from lighthouse films of the early 1940s. Here there is no devious quisling plotting to annex the lighthouse as a base for invasion; no demonised Germanic foreigner threatening murder; no emasculated male vasectomised by dominant women; no cowardly conscientious objector evading his patriotic duty. Without the context of warfare, the film eschews broader social and political implications. Overtly absent are nationalistic and propagandistic impulses, forebodings of infiltration and invasion, and apprehensions over national character and gender identity.
The wartime films The Seventh Survivor (1941), Tower of Terror (1941), Back-Room Boy (1942) and Thunder Rock (1942) each use the lighthouse motif not merely as a narrative conceit, but as an articulation and alleviation of profound identity issues, both for the individual and the nation of Great Britain. In the decades following the Second World War, the lighthouse has remained an anchor to local place identity, a focal point for cultural memory and an enduring symbol of faith (Blake 15). Yet as an anachronism of a bygone era, the lighthouse now also represents our loss of personal connection in a globalized world, and to quote historian Dudley Witney, the “towers remaining on lonely vigil will come to be symbols of the fight to save the sea from man - a disturbingly ironic twist of history" (Bryer 275).
1. The term ‘backroom boy’ refers to a person working in anonymity, lacking in official status, while others take on more public roles. The phrase was coined to describe the advisers, technicians and scientists who worked behind the scenes in the U.K. during World War Two. In this film, it assumes a pejorative context, as an emasculated man who performs meaningless bureaucratic tasks.
2. In June 1941, Maskelyne and the Magic Gang received military orders to camouflage the harbour of Alexandria. They built a model of the port, including a decoy of the famous Pharos lighthouse, three miles down the coast at Maryut Bay. The lighthouse was created with searchlights timed to switch on and off, giving the illusion of a light rotating. Each night, the replica lighthouse was lit up while the real harbour was kept safe in darkness.
3. The Fair Isle North Lighthouse in the Shetland Islands was the target of German machine-gunning on March 28, 1941 and April 18, 1941, sustaining damage to nearby buildings but remaining operational. Bell Rock Lighthouse in the North Sea was attacked on four separate occasions: October 31, 1940; March 30, 1941; April 1, 1941; and April 5, 1941, incurring heavy damage but no casualties. The lighthouses at Kinnaird Head, Pentland Skerries, Auskerry, Skerryvore, Out Skerries, Stroma and Fair Isle South were subject to Luftwaffe raids from mid-1940 to early 1942. On June 1, 1943 a bombing killed three keepers at St Catherine´s Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight.
Blake, Kevin. “Lighthouse Symbolism in the American Landscape.” Focus on Geography. 50:1. Bowling Green: American Geographical Society, 2007.
Chapman, James. “Why we fight: Pastor Hall and Thunder Rock.” Ed. Alan Burton, Tim O’Sullivan, Paul Wells. The Family Way: The Boulting Brothers and Postwar Film Culture. Wiltshire: Flicks Books, 2000.
Ede, Laurie. “High reason: the Boultings meet the ghost of Matthew Arnold.” Ed. Alan Burton, Tim O’Sullivan, Paul Wells. The Family Way: The Boulting Brothers and Postwar Film Culture. Wiltshire: Flicks Books, 2000.
Harper, Sue. “Nothing to Beat the Hay Diet: Comedy at Gaumont and Gainsborough.” Ed. Pam Cook. Gainsborough Pictures. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd., 1997.
Landy, Marcia. British Genres: Cinema and Society, 1930-1960. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 1991.
Murphy, Robert. British Cinema and the Second World War. London: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd., 2000.
Powell, Michael. A Life in Movies: An Autobiography. Heinemann Publishing, 1986.
Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1992.
Bryer , Anthony. “Review: The Lighthouse by Dudley Witney.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 36:4. University of California Press, 1977: 274-275. 7 April 2011. http://www.jstor.org/stable/989300
Schiffer, Michael Brian. "The Electric Lighthouse: Aid to Navigation and Political Technology." Technology and Culture 46:2. The John Hopkins University Press, 2005: 275-305. 4 April 2011. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/technology_and_culture/v046/46.2schiffer.pdf
Back-Room Boy (Rank Film Productions: dir. Herbert Mason, 1942)
The Phantom Light (Gainsborough Pictures: dir. Michael Powell, 1935)
The Seventh Survivor (Shaftesbury Films: dir. Leslie S. Hiscott, 1941)
Thunder Rock (Charter Film Productions: dir. Roy Boulting, 1942)
Tower of Terror (Associated British Picture Corporation: dir. Lawrence Huntington, 1941)
Tags: To the Lighthouse, WWII, The Seventh Survivor, Tower of Terror, Back-Room Boy, Thunder Rock, lighthouse, Second World War, lighthouse keeper, The Phantom Light, Lawrence Huntington, Roy Boulting, Leslie Hiscott, Michael Powell, Herbert Mason, wartime, Arthur Askey, Powell and Pressburger, quota quickie, Boulting's Folly