Brisk, efficient British post-War crime melodrama set in London – part of the ‘Spiv’ movie cycle(films with roots in 30s American Gangster movies, featuring characters profiting from wartime rationing in a similar fashion to 30s bootleggers, but not so clearly glamorised as their Stateside equivalents – see also the superior NOOSE). Richard Attenborough stars as former soldier, Ted Peters, now making a living as a London cab-driver who becomes involved with a criminal gang headed by dance hall owner and criminal mastermind Mr Gregory (the seriously undervalued Barry Jones), whose henchman and M.C. Paul Baker (Barry K. Barnes) has offed Ted’s childhood friend and former army buddy Dave Robinson (Bill Rowbotham, better known to U.K. audiences as Bill Owen, star of long-running U.K. T.V comedy series LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE). At Ted’s behest, his girlfriend Joy (Sheila Sim) gets a job as a dancehall hostess in Gregory’s dance hall as part of Ted’s attempts to expose the criminal gang and the true nature of the crime lord’s enterprise is gradually exposed. Punchily directed by John Paddy Carstairs, and redolent with post-War atmosphere, this is another example of the type of popular genre fare which entertained U.K. audiences in the 40s at the same time as the now revered ‘noir’ movies similarly engaged their U.S. contemporaries. Deserving wider acclaim, the movies from this post-War U.K. genre are valid, and diverting, social documents which often gave early exposure to burgeoning talents (in this instance, an uncredited brunette Diana Dors and a ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ Dirk Bogarde) and should, by rights, be as revered in their country of origin as the more celebrated and documented U.S. post-War crime movies. Worth checking out.
1947, B&W, 83 minutes