Film Review: BRIGHTON ROCK (1947)

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Director: John Boulting
Writer: Graham Greene and Terence Rattigan
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, Carol Marsh

88 mins, Rating PG


Later this year sees the release of a remake of Brighton Rock, first Graham Green’s novel then a movie in 1947. Everyone has urged me to watch the 1947 film before viewing the new version. So here I am on a Sunday night watching the original 1947 Brighton Rock, staring none other than a very young Richard Attenborough.

The film, is set in Brighton, the seaside holiday town in South England. A place usually more known for innocent joys of the beach, the pier and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Rock is the story of a seedy underbelly in which gangs rule.

Attenborough plays Pinkie Brown, a small time gangster who in order to stake his place arranges the murder of his rival- Fred Hale. Attenborough is superb as the villainous Pinkie, his performance is evil and electric. Pinkie’s plans hit a snag when Ida Arnold, a boisterous lady who was met Fred before his death becomes doubtful that he has committed suicide. Ida in her investigations becomes suspicious that the sweet waitress Rose, who is in love with Pinkie, knows more than she lets on. Pinkie, aware that Rose could lead to his demise, weds her. Pinkie does this to preserve his alibi because he knows Rose is in love with him and he sees it as a guarantee of silence.
Ida Arnold is played beautifully by Hermione Baddely, as is Rose by Carol Marsh, however nobody in the cast can really compare to Attenborough in every scene where he oozes creepiness.

There is a certain quality you get with black and white crime thrillers, something that any avid Hitchcock fan will know. Thriller’s which are driven by characters with great depth and clever suspense. The tension of original Brighton Rock is brilliantly paced, and the chance to see Attenborough in this role is one you shouldn’t give up.


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