April 28th, 2005

Brighton Rock

If you think (as I tend to do) of Richard Attenborough as a cute little ball of snaggle-toothed twinkliness then this is an eye-opener- the movie in which he gives Jimmy Cagney a run for his money. He's in his 20s and he's playing a teenage racketeer. Picture Lord Richard; he's got a soft doughy face, right? But here he's beautiful- in an 'I am the angel of death' sort of a way- thus proving that beauty isn't a matter of regular features but an emanation that great actors can turn on and off at will.

The film, directed and produced by the Boulting brothers (better known for mildly satirical comedies like I'm All Right Jack) is authentically chilling, with tasty noir cinematography, great use of South Coast locations and a twisted, slightly bonkers Catholic dimension to it that comes of having Graham Greene as your script writer.

My fellow Whovians may like to note that William Hartnell appears in a supporting role as an ageing wide-boy in a loud check suit. Very good he is too.