Picturegoer – Feb 18th 1950

Lionel Collier invites you to this weeks Previews and Reviews

The Blue Lamp

Jack Warner – Dirk Bogarde – Jimmy Hanley

W. S. GILBERT once sang that a “policeman’s lot is not a happy one.” Your lot is going to be happy if you see this excellently made film dealing with the work of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Before going into details of the film I should like to congratulate Michael Balcon and Ealing Studios. It is surely something to have presented in a string such pictures as Passport to Pimlico, A Run for Your Money, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Whisky Galore! and now The Blue Lamp. All are in the three star class, and I doubt if a Hollywood producing company can show such a record.

Fundamentally, the story of The Blue Lam is about two inexperienced gangsters and a moll. One of them murders a veteran copper and is hounded down not only by the police but by old lags who despise young amateurs who carry guns.

But it is told, as are most films that come from Ealing,in a documentary manner. Skilfully dovetailed into the drama itself are asides dealing with ordinary police routine – the woman who has lost her dog, the man who beats his wife, the mother who has lost her child’s ration card and dozens of trivialities which daily assail the man on the beat.

Incidentally, the final round-up is as exciting as was that in The Third Man. The chase ends up at the dog course track at the White City and I can promise you a real thrill.

As the old-time “copper” who is well known in the district, Jack Warner is excellent, and Jimmy Hanley has the best part he has had for some time as a young recruit whom Warner regards almost as a son.

As the good-time gangster’s moll who has run away from her parents, Peggy Evans is well in character and Robert Flemyng is very good again as a plain clothes sergeant.

From Dirk Bogarde we have a first-class portrayal of the young hooligan turned killer. -G-F-D-Ealing Studios. British. “A ” certificate. Runs 84 minutes. Directed by Basil Dearden. Screenplay by T. E. B. Clarke. Release date February 20.

Boys in Brown

Jack Warner Richard Attenborough

EXCEPT for the odd joke about Old Borstalians, I didn’t know much about Borstal until I saw Boys in Brown. Now, I think, the film has given me some insight into that system of correction.

Boys in Brown sets out to present Borstal as it is, and in presenting it offers the final Question- “is the system the right one?” Says Jack Warner in his role of the Governor: “We take in one hundred per cent failures and turn out fifty per cent successes.” But it is the remaining fifty per cent that we are left wondering about.

The story centres on Jackie, played by Rtchard Attenborough, who, after a raid on a jeweller’s shop, finds himself inside Borstal. There, he is surrounded by conflicting influences—on the one hand the stern but benign Governor and his staff of masters, and, on the other, by certain unregenerate companions.

Outstanding among these are Dirk Bogarde, who, as Alfie, gives a tremendous performance as a subtly persuasive evil influence.

A warmly human story surrounds Kitty (Barbara Murray), the girl Jackie left behind him. Another strongly sympathetic influence is portrayed to perfection by Jimmy Hanley, who becomes an “Old Borstalian,” and poignantly becomes a “new boy” once more. -G-F-D-Gainsborough. British. “A ” certificate. Runs 84 minutes. Directed by Montgomery Tully. Screenplay by Montgomery Tully, based on the play by Reginald Beckwith. Released January 16.