The Square Ring (1953) Basil Dearden’s Knockout Boxing Drama

Funny to think of a ring being square? Ok, just me then… Ding Ding. So that’s that, my review of boxing drama, The Square Ring. Thanks for popping on by…

A re-match you say? Ok! here goes. This is a neat little boxing drama featuring a snapshot into the lives of six fighters ready to enter the boxing ring. The main narrative is centered within the changing rooms for our home club boxers. Men at different stages and journey paths of their careers. A wise ex-pro is the dressing room attendant, his experience puts him in the perfect place to give out honest and practical advice. Whether they listen to his sage wisdom is another thing but he would never judge. He’s been there before.

The Square Ring is directed by the superb Basil Dearden who just keeps surprising me every time I press play. Basil has been featured on here a few times with Sapphire (1959), Victim (1961) The Mind Benders (1963) A Place To Go (1963) and the superb The League of Gentlemen (1960).

Danny Felton (Jack Warner)
Rare to see Jack Warner out of a police outfit I’d say. Known to many of a certain age for hundreds of episodes (actually 432!) of the TV series Dixon of Dock Green where he played the bobby on the beat Police Constable George Dixon. He also starred as PC George in another film for director Basil Dearden in The Blue Lamp (1950) with rookie cop Jimmy Hanley and the young hoodlum Dirk Bogarde. Jack Warner would also play a detective inspector in the superb murder mystery I did a review for called Jigsaw (1962). His character in The Square Ring is the kind and caring Danny Felton. He’d been in the same position as these guys at some point in his fighting life and he’d also seen the aftermath first hand. He tapes the fists ready for the gloves, fetches their personal robes, taking his time to calm their nerves and give the right inspirational words to help them before entering the arena. He’s also ready with the first aid kit. He’ll patch them back up if he can. Each boxer goes through Danny.

Whitey Johnson (George Rose)
Past his prime by many years. Whitey had come off the streets bare-knuckle fighting. Boxing was all he knew. Nowadays he was just a punching bag. The first event for some up and coming whippersnapper to hurl powerful blows into his mashed up face. Whitey was a brawler, his face showed the years of slams, he was punch drunk but he was also forever the optimist. Bet him a pound that he couldn’t win might be all the stubborn beat up fighter might need?

Eddie Lewis (Ronald Lewis)
Eddie was a rookie. He’d worked his way through the ranks of the amateur ring. Today was his first fight as professional. Mum and Dad are there for support, mixed within the riotous screams from the boisterous crowd. The three had traveled from Wales together, ready to watch their son with pride. Eddie was nervous and timid. The stage had opened his eyes. Being in the changing rooms with all these fighters had equally frighten and inspired him. Now was the time for the stage, his first big fight. Off he goes with his head in a spin… Ronald Lewis is superb in the thriller Taste of Fear (1961).

Rowdie Rawlings (Bill Travers)
A giant heavyweight. Comes off slow and forgetful. Years of being punched or maybe uneducated, possibly both. Big Rowdie looked like a brute but under that hulking frame was a kind heart. His gormless smile was friendly to everyone. He sit’s patiently for his ring time and as he does he reads his favourite science fiction comic book with great fascination. “She’s off to Jupiter to marry some sort of alien vegetation!” he happily proclaims to everyone.

Rick Martell (Maxwell Reed)
Rick was down on his luck. Lost two fights in a row. His girlfriend was besotted with him. It didn’t matter that he’d lost, she love him no matter what. He’ll win this fight, that’s for sure. Little did she know that Rick had gangsters gunning for him to take a dive in the fourth round! If he didn’t they threaten to slash up his love! Rick’s girlfriend is played by the saucy Joan Collins and the couple were married in real life. He was husband number one from five. It didn’t go well for these two, I wonder if they fared better in the film?

Happy Burns (Bill Owen)
The flyweight fighter on a winning streak. He’s incessantly cocky and with annoying amount of ego and confidence. He bounces about shadow boxing and telling everyone how skilled he is and even more importantly, to him, how good looking he is. This pint sized pocket rocket still pulls the girls with three ladies on his arm dotting over him from the side lines. One of them is Joan Sims the Carry On Queen. And of course, if again you are of a certain age, Bill Owen is the household name of Compo from Last of the Summer Wine, the long running comedy saga.

Kid Curtis (Robert Beatty)
The main event and the top fight on the nights card is Kid Curtis. He had been big time. He’s won the title, crowned the champ. However it had broken him. The young Eddie asks him “It must’ve been terrific, winning the title an’ that. How did it feel?” to which Kid Curtis replies “I don’t know how it felt. It was a week before I could remember my own name…“. A few fights later, all lost, he had hit rock bottom. Retired at 29! He’d lost the love of his life, his wife Peg (Bernadette O’Farrell). It wasn’t due to him losing, it was down to him not quitting. In his head he was making a come back to win her back!

Verdict

I will flippantly say it has some common ground in similar style to Robert Wise’s incredible, The Set Up (1949). With it’s focus firmly on the fighters getting ready to enter the arena. Anyone who’s watched The Set-Up will know it’s not on that level. But don’t be fooled with it’s at times comic approach, it will come around and bite you. It has some deep insight into the darker side of the boxing trade, especially for that era. It took me by surprise how very aware of thing’s like concussion, with the brain smashing around inside the skull, being punch drunk, sight loss and the other dangers associated with the tough sport. There’s also the gangster and hoodlums element. Them using their power to rig matches with fear and intimation. Even cheating and promoter politics get a little look at. With all that, there’s a lot of fun to be had spotting all the actors you may of seen in something before. With club owner and master of ceremonies being the one and only Sid James who has a running cigar joke going. Check the beautiful Kay Kendall and the devious Eddie Byrne too. For a fan of British films and a love of boxing dramas I thoroughly enjoyed this but as I forewarned it’s not all good times and laughs and can sucker punch on the darker side when it wants too.

Wolfman’s score card comes in with an unanimous win for Basil and his team with 7.5/10

The Dark Man (1951) Killer Thriller With A Big Chase Filler…

I wanted a short movie, preferably with a dash of crime, thriller and drama all rolled into one. Oh go on then, chuck in a young sexy lady for a bonus! I’m equal, even throw in a hunky fella to balance it out. Devilish good looks with a cad like pencil thin mustache. Tall, dark and handsome but sorry ladies there’s no gentleman with this guy. He so happens to be a relentless killer! Dubbed The Dark Man! His demeanor is threatening, with a foreboding sinister evil that he’d use to quietly menace and kill with. Truth be told he was also a tad stupid. You see, he had just killed. Blasted a man to death. This guy has no virtues, he shot him straight in the back. You see the man had seen him, not kill, yet the Dark Man had, no he had seen his face. The poor man, who would soon become deceased didn’t realise his fate at first. Then when it dawned it became kind of obvious. It didn’t matter, like I said, his life was over, he wasn’t telling no one. Now if the Dark Man was sensible he’d remove himself from this small town with haste…

The bullet smashed it’s way into cloth, ripped through flesh, blood and then muscle as it hit the young man’s back. The pistol let out a clack-pow sound that echoed across the open the road. A hundred feet a way, on her bike, Molly Lester (Natasha Parry) stopped, more intrigued to what the sound was. It had left an eerie silence. She looked, saw a crashed vehicle by a clearing near the woods. Then he appeared! The Dark Man. It was too far to really make him out. Anyhow she was late, the curtains would be going up soon and she would miss her stage time. Molly was an aspiring actress, it was all she wanted to do. She dismissed the man of shadows. She rode on. The dark man stood in silence as he looked on…

The newspaper described the murder scene. Molly’s friend Barbara (Carol Burns) read with morbid excitement. She was clearly more interested. Molly hadn’t seen a thing, she didn’t get all the fuss. The police on the other hand were concerned that this man had no problems killing, he may come for the girl. The Superintendent (William Hartnell) assigns Detective Inspector Jack Viner (Edward Underdown) to investigate and shadow Molly. Arriving at the theatre her friend comments how young and handsome Jack is. “You look too young to be a policeman!“. Barbara needed her eyes tested! Jack looked sixty plus. Molly and Jack fall in love instantly. It took one walk, for a few minutes, before they are in full embrace. The cops were fast movers back then!… Note – looking up Edward Underdown’s age at time of filming I was shocked he was in fact 43! If he wasn’t telling porkie pies about his birth year! People really did look so much older back then…

Molly Lester –Is he alright?
Superintendent –Depends what you mean by alright. In two minutes I’ll be able to tell you whether you’re marrying a lunatic or a corpse.

In the dimly lit shadows, the outline of a man stared unblinking from his hotel room over looking the theatre. He waited for Molly to appear. Drawing on a cigarette in the blackness the smoke filled the window. The Dark Man (Maxwell Reed) watched his pray. Ready to cover up, silence, all the loose ends before returning to the stash of money he had originally killed for. He watched, stalked and planned, binding his time to sweep in and finish her. Turn her lights out…

Tagline – Set in one of Britain’s Forbidden Areas…..this is one of the most fascinating films ever screened!

I found this film looking through William Hartnell’s filmography. Mister Hartnell’s superintendent character doesn’t really get going in the film until near the end. He gives a little deep speech before joining the end man hunt. A man hunt that really takes to an unexpected turn. It all about the strange landscape set piece that jumps a dramatic contrast to rest of the film. A vast stretch of land with dunes and dotted about islands of vegetation. Broken down outhouses and a large old ancient round looking castle appear. What was this place? It was filmed at Camber Castle on the Sussex coast. What makes the end chase so unique is that it’s an army firing range with a few hundred military personnel firing missiles across the pathways of our hero and villain.

Now I’m sorry to bring the tone down or offend anyone but I must place my pervy hat upon my head! Natasha Parry is stunning here and they really do go to many lengths to show her off. Pulling up stockings, undoing her top to reveal her bra. 50’s sunbathing outfit for a impromptu read on the beach. Ok, nothing really is shown but you can imagine it being all rather titillating back then. There’s one moment when Miss Parry walks to the bus stop. Legs appearing from her floating dress and you feel yourself blowing mouthfuls of air at the tv to help the gust of wind flow her skirt up. It was close I tell you, hang on did I just write that? Damn it I must remember never to put that hat on! Not the first time I got myself in hot water wearing that same hat I’ll tell you! Yeah I remember the time I turned up at a Women’s Institute Christmas event wearing my trusty hat… Yep I’d leave that story for another time, all I’ll say is wooden spoons and spatulas and I couldn’t sit down for a whole week!

The Dark Man is written and directed by Jeffrey Dell. It says he’d been in the Royal Flying Corps. I wonder if he still had connections with the British Army? That end scene really is something else with all the military presence. Which brings us to this great little speech from a sergeant to his eager men ready to join the hunt….

Look there might be another chap out there on the ranges, he’s a police inspector but he’s in civvies? So we don’t want any mistakes. Don’t go blazing away at the first chap you see, challenge him and then if he shows fight, let him have it in the legs!”

Maxwell Reed made for a handsome baddie. A few sinister scenes with the light bulbs and the hiding in the shadows were well put together. His opening introduction scene is superb as he towers on the screen as the others cower. A few sections are so-so especially with the love interest with the inspector being rather ridiculous. Besides, it didn’t matter, as of course there was the divine Natasha Parry to look at. Then the finale comes, the near on 20 minute end chase gave this film a good unique feel. Kudos to Jeffrey Dell and and his camera and lighting crew for going to town. We get treated to some cool sweeping noir lighting shots across vast open landscapes with vehicles and men running around in the moonlight. I’m sure Jeffrey had army connection’s as he managed to get his hands on a world war two search light that streaked a laser like light across the blackness of night. Ok I quite possibly might be guilty of bigging this up a little but I enjoyed it. Let me know if you know it, see it or just wanna say hello.

And remember to keep howling at the TV with the window open. Keep the neighbours on their toes.

Thanks for popping on by… Mikey

7.5/10 6.3/10

What’s Been Watched This Month – August 2021

Here’s what square eyed Mikey Wolfman been watching throughout August 2021.

Anyone who’s followed this here movie blog of mine may of noticed I had, some what, disappeared. It had been nice having a break with the family and doing home stuff but I did really missed it. However, it proved difficult to return. Like I said in last month’s watched list, “I’m determined to be back in September but, hehe, watch this space!!!” Well I did it with Brighton Rock and have a few more back in the running’s. It’s good to be back scribbling nonsense and learning little factoids along the way. Anyway, less of that and more of this, very late, monthly round-up…

The TV

What If?... This new Marvel series on DisneyPlus is so much fun. Based on the old comic book series it features Uatu, The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) looking down from the skies and describing certain events in time that could of taken a whole different path. How one small change could completely flip the story on it’s head. They rarely go well! Mostly all voiced by the original actors including Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa and What If? he was Star Lord from Guardian of the Galaxy. It’s a emotional watch as it would be Chadwick’s last performance. Other episodes so far that have been intense are the Doctor Strange tale that is extremely deep. And the latest one, ZOMBIES which is full-on frantic and so needs to be made into a film.

The Films

15 films this month and a total of 117 this year
1051 since the start of the blog in January 2017.

We Are The Millers (2013) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 7
A fun comedy. I really didn’t think I was gonna like it to be honest. Then it managed to get me chuckling along right from the get-go. A middle aged pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) has to create a fake family as cover for a drug smuggling trip across the Mexican border. Of course everything goes from easy mission to impossible to death dodging within no time. It’s silly but good-natured and fun. The Luis Guzman bit is so wrong and hilarious.

Blitz (2011) – Wolfman Rating 6 – IMDB Rating 6.2
Anyone who’s followed my monthly watch list posts over the last 4 plus years might of noticed I usually slot in a Jason Statham movie on a boozy Friday night for some action fun. Can’t be many left to see!! However I managed to find another. This one is a Brit production. It’s starts very well but increasingly starts to lose the plot. In the end it seemed a bit pointless. Aiden Gillen goes overboard loony, Paddy Considine isn’t too bad and the Stath keeps it Stathy. He plays a damaged cop tracking down a deranged cop-killer. A sub-plot with Zane Ashton was kind of silly and there’s a heap of actors like David Morrissey, Ned Dennehy and Mark Rylance to booster it up but unfortunately its all over the place imho.

The Castle (1997) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7.7
I’d been trying to watch this Australian film for over two decades! At the time I could not find it anywhere. Then, shamefully, I forgot about it. It then appeared on a list I had written, I dropped everything. It’s so good. Ok it might of dated a bit but for me it still held up and had me laughing all the way through. Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton) loves nothing more than his family, his home and his small community. His house is his Castle. He’s put everything into it. Ok it might be at the end of a airport runway but it’s his home. When the airport decides to expand, Darryl’s and his neighbours homes are in the way. Darryl tries everything to stay and takes on the courts.

Robot and Frank (2012) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 7
Second watch for me. It’s a nice sweet tale of an ex-jewel living alone and slowly losing his mind to dementia. His son believes a robot can look after him. Frank (Frank Langella) isn’t happy at all with this “helping hand” until he discovers his new robot friend might have other uses, like maybe a lookout? I really enjoy this film again.

The Island (2005) – Wolfman Rating 6.5 – IMDB Rating 6.8
Starts really good. Felt sure I’d seen this? Sure I had? Watching again! I soon notice I hadn’t. First off I’m thinking this has to be Michael Bay’s “best” film? The sci-fi set-up was great, I liked the world and it was really quite restraint for Mr Bay! Then halfway through all hell breaks loose and we back in familiar Bay country. And man-O-man does it go stupid! Real shame. Plus the product placement was insane. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson do their best Logan’s Run impressions.

Black Widow (2021) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.8
Scarlett Johansson is back on my watch list and back in sexy kick-out assassin superhero Natasha Romanoff mode. A movie filled with a whole project of Black Widows. We all enjoyed it as a family action flick. Unfortunately it feels a tad forgettable even though there’s a heap of cool action scenes and mega fights. David Harbour was good for the comic relief part. I’m sure to be watching it again sometime.

The Lobster (2015) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7.2
This is not for everyone. It’s bonkers. My 2nd viewing as I introduced to my daughter. She loved it too. From Greek director and writer Yorgos Lanthimos. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star next to lots of familiar names. Right, what’s it about you ask? Well, it’s against the law to be single you see. If you are, you’ll find yourself in the “hotel”. You have 45 days to find a partner or you will be transformed into an animal of your choice and set free in The Woods? It’s quirky and I love it.

Suggs – My Life Story (2018) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 6.8
The Lobster finished and this started on the telly. We couldn’t be arsed to move so we watched it. It’s really very good. It set up as a stage show and a kind of a comedy stand-up performance with musical interludes. What makes it even better is there’s animation, archive footage and reenactments. Suggs, the lead singer from the band Madness tells his life story in a very unique way. Very recommended.

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 7.4
I loved the Netflix series The Witcher with Henry Cavill and am eagerly awaiting the new season. As a little back story to Witcher’s they dropped in this animated tale in a standalone story. I wasn’t that sure I liked it at first but as the story developed it sure goes bonkers. I haven’t read the book series, so can’t comment too much but I enjoyed it. Now bring forth the series now please.

The Suicide Squad (2021) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7.4
James Gunn smashes this DC film little excursion away from Marvel. It’s so much fun and ridiculous entertainment. This second outing for another bunch of misfits wipes the floor with the first film, which was unfortunately a dud. They didn’t feel the need to add a number “2” in the title, they just added a “The” and probably swept the the first film under the dusty mat. There’s so many funny and outrageous scenes. Sweet to have the crazy and sexy Margot Robbie doing her loony Harley Quinn again. So many silly moments and nutty characters like Peacemaker (John Cena) and killer cute King Shark amazingly voiced by Sylvester Stallone. Both need their own films. Sit back, flick the shoes off, crack open a brew and get ready for the ride.

Fargo (1996) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 8.1
Another Coen Brothers masterpiece. 5th time seeing it, this time with my daughter as it’s on her study list for Uni. It’s perfection, absolute perfection. Nuff said!

Brighton Rock (1948) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.3
Haha I did it, at last! Blow the party whistles and the kazoo’s. At last I got around to watching this British noir classic which I’ve been meaning to for decades and finally got to write a new review after a long pause. Check it out here if you wish… Brighton Rock (1948) Psychotic Pocket Rocket Slashes And Intimidates

Life After Flash (2017) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 6.6
Director, writer Lisa Downs does so well to get so many heads involved in the ace project. So great to watch as I’ve always been a massive fan of Flash Gordon (1980). Sam J Jones was a great sport for doing this. I loved the way he sets himself up. It’s kind of angled being about him however at the same time it’s just a love letter homage to the cult campy sci-fi classic. A few highlights, Melody Anderson looks amazing and came across so natural, funny and friendly. Peter Wyngarde was brilliantly campy deadpan funny, not knowing if he was joking or not. lol.. Then of course Brian Blessed bellowed his trademark booming voice and was his usual hilarious fantastic self. Would of liked to have seen Timothy Dalton and the ultimate naughty girl, Ornella Muti, I mean Princess Aura. If you love Flash, you have big fun with this doc and it’s on Prime if you got it.

Elysium (2013) – Wolfman Rating 6.5 – IMDB Rating 6.6
I went back for a re-watch of Neill Blomkamp’s follow up from District 9. I wasn’t that fussed with it the first time and to be honest, where I enjoyed watching it again there’s just something missing. Not sure what. Cool ideas and visuals as usual. I wish Sharlto Copley bad guy was toned down. What was fun, was spotting Pablo Escobar in the cast. The actor Wagner Moura would go on to play the Colombian drug lord to perfection in the series Narcos a few years later.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 7.8
Rogue One is by far my favourite Star Wars film since the end of the original trilogy. It got the mood right, the landscapes look incredible. A very worthy prequel for A New Hope and the way it all connects up gives this middle age man goosebumps. It seamlessly joins the opening beginning of the film that still blows my mind now as it did, 40 plus years ago. By the way Disney if you are reading this comment please make standalone films for K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), the reprogrammed Imperial security droid, and a film for the friendship of Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang). Thank you Walt and the gang… hehe…

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Thanks for popping on by my humble little movie site.

Any goodies in there you have seen and liked? Thoughts, recommends etc always welcome if you fancy too.

Keep watching the screens. Thanks for having a look to see what’s been watched. All the best……… The howling one, Mikey

Brighton Rock (1948) Psychotic Pocket Rocket Slashes And Intimidates

This review is for the brutal British gangster movie, Brighton Rock (1948)

What’s going down?

Devious and psychotic small-time gangster, Pinkie Brown, sets out to end the life of a journalist who’d unwittingly strolled into town. The reporter had published a story exposing the brutal gang wars of Brighton on the south coastal town of England. The newspaper article had, in some way, resulted in the death of Pinkie’s gang boss, Kite. Now this teenage hoodlum was now pushed to the forefront of this small gang of racketeers, and he wanted to make his mark. He’d push fear and intimidation. If that didn’t work? Not a problem for him, he’d slice and dice with razor blades. Without hesitation to kill, yeah Pinkie was ready to make his way to the top. Who would find themselves caught up in this twisted hoodlum’s murderous ways? A naive young girl called Rose and the brash and brassy middle-aged cabaret singer, Ida Arnold

The main players

Carol Marsh plays Rose Brown
Hermione Baddeley plays Ida Arnold
William Hartnell plays Dallow
Harcourt Williams plays Prewitt
Wylie Watson plays Spicer
Nigel Stock plays Cubitt

Tagline – Raw! Brutal! Razor Gangs in Action!

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

A young Lord Richard Attenborough reprises his role here, as Pinkie Brown, that had him receiving rave reviews whilst the stage play was on West End. I’ve always liked Richard’s work. He seemed equally apt at playing twisted characters, like his portrayal of John Christie in 10 Rillington Place (1971) or Billy Savage in Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). He could easily jump into the role of a working class every man caught in union strikes, in The Angry Silence (1960) or stiff upper lip officer in the World War Two classic The Great Escape (1963). Even showing his comedic side when playing a posh old Commander having a blast of fun with the gung-ho American cop, John Wayne in the likes of Brannigan (1975). However, to most, he will be remembered as the dithering old geezer opening up a wonderland of death and destruction of the prehistoric kind, in Jurassic Park (1993). With all his various performances, I don’t think I’ve seen him with so much raw hate in his heart?

Truth be told I didn’t know Hermione Baddeley as I began watching Brighton Rock. She plays the brash and feisty cabaret entertainer, Ida Arnold. A lady not afraid to speak her mind. At first I thought she was there for comic relief, well she is really, but as the films plays out she becomes an amateur detective and a thorn in the side of our villain Pinkie. I grew to like her character the more she appeared. Reading her film bio after, it dawned on me, of course I’d seen her before! She’d been Mrs. Cratchit to Alistair Sim’s version of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (1951) and again with him in The Belles of St. Trinian’s (1954). Also she played the maid in Mary Poppins (1964). She was also in the Hitchcock-esque thriller Midnight Lace (1960). So here’s to you readers, could you recommended other Hermione performances? I’ve taken note of Passport to Pimlico (1949) and Room at the Top (1959) which I see she starred alongside Laurence Harvey. An actor she married and had this priceless quote to say about him when they divorced. “I think I shall risk the halibut. It can’t be too awful, can it? After you’ve lived with Laurence Harvey, nothing in life is ever really too awful again.” Hehe it did make me laugh.

There’s plenty of actors I could highlight here, however I can’t do them all, so for the last one I’ll pick William Hartnell. He plays Dallow, like a second-in-command to Pinkie. He’s actually quite a complex character. He has a vicious streak and ready to go when asked but he’s more restraint and composed. His experience makes him wiser though he’ll still jump to Pinkie’s word. I enjoyed watching him act. William Hartnell will always be cemented in every kid of a generation as the first Dr Who. Whereas my first memories are with my Doctor Who, the wonderful Tom Baker, any big fan of the classic time traveling sci-fi series knew the different incarnations and that Grandad Who was the OG, the original gangster. Some great films of his to check are Hell Driver (1957), Odd Man Out (1947) and Carry On Sergeant (1958) three movies I really need to see again, soon. Feel free to recommend others. One TV movie I can fully recommend is in fact a bio on William Hartnell himself and how he became Doctor Who. It’s a truly fantastic experience with the brilliant David Bradley playing the part to pure perfection. A dead ringer you could say. If you can find it to watch please give An Adventure in Space and Time (2013) a go, I’m sure you would love it.

Notes on production?

Brighton Rock was first a novel written by Graham Greene in 1938 and subsequently turned into a West End play with lots of the original cast reprising their roles for the film. Graham Greene is known for many classic movie adaptations from his novels, screenplays and short stories, like This Gun For Hire (1942), Ministry Of Fear (1944), The Fallen Idol (1948), The Quiet American (1958) and Carol Reed’s masterpiece, The Third Man (1949).

The screenplay was worked on by Terence Rattigan who had wrote the superb drama starring Michael Redgrave and a film I had nothing but full on praise for called The Browning Version (1951). It was directed by Anthony Asquith. One other film of Rattigan’s I have reviewed is The Way to the Stars (1945).

Brighton Rock is credited to John Boulting in the directing chair however John and his twin brother Roy Boulting would often flip between director and producer. No doubt each having equal input in the film process I would imagine. Sometimes they would be billed as a pair but overall Roy would go on to have his name listed as the director on most of the brothers body of work.

Brighton Rock was remade in 2010 and re-imagined in the 1960’s. I haven’t seen it but spied it doesn’t get rave reviews. I’d like to see it one day just to see how they tackle certain scenes. Sam Riley plays Pinkie with Andrea Riseborough as his Rose. Helen Mirren steps up in the Ida role. There’s a big curve ball turn for Hartnell’s Dallow character who’s played by the giant Nonso Anozie, who by the way was excellent in the recent Sweet Tooth live action adaptation.

Hits like a sledge hammer

There’s many intense, dark and suspenseful moments, of course, all featuring the sly sinister smirk of one Pinkie. There’s a moment at the top of stairwell that with have you gasping. An innocent looking race coarse instantly turns to shock and awe with razors and a close up camera shot full of thugs moving all so much nearer. However the sledgehammer for this film has to go to Rose asking sulky Pinkie to record his voice for her as a gift. It’s a neat scene featuring a recording booth that presses your words on to a single sized record. The following quote and words will contain spoilers… Rose looks through the booths window at Pinkie as he begins to talk. Her doting, besotted eyes look on as her beloved starts his “love verse”…. It goes…

Cutting remarks

Pinkie BrownYou asked me to make a record of me voice. Well, here it is. What you want me to say is ‘I love you.’ Here’s the truth. I hate you, you little slut. You make me sick.

Verdict

Anyone who’s followed this here movie blog of mine might of noticed I have some what disappeared. It had been nice having a break and I’ve really missed it, however, it’s proved difficult to return. Then I watched Brighton Rock, and you know what, it was just the injection I needed. Those dark and dingy lit sets and purposely framed noir scenes from impossible angles that directors, writers and actors are all willing to go that extra mile to push the boundaries. Brighton Rock has tough scenes. I read on Wiki that a Daily Mirror critic at the time denounced the razor slashing scenes as “horrific” and concluding, “This film must not be shown.” Nowadays such horrifying headlines are thrown on the front page in big large type to sell their newspapers. Back then, not long after the war, it must of been shocking. To me on this my first viewing, it was exciting, thrilling and reminded me how much I love watching film.

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 9/10       IMDB 7.3/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf