My main interest in this well paced British crime drama was that it was Dirk Bogarde first real feature film. The only time he had been on screen previously was in a 1937 George Formby comedy caper called Come on George in which he played an extra. Mind you although he had a very small speaking part as a police radio operative towards the end of the 1947 film, you don’t get a full facial shot, but with the voice and profile there’s no mistaking him.
Although a fairly predictable crime drama and yes the fisticuffs could have been a little more realistic, it’s quite a enjoyable wee movie which stars real life husband and wife, Richard Attenborough and the fresh faced Sheila Sim (they married in 1945) who portray a young engaged couple trying to survive in the East End of London amongst black marketeers and rationing. Attenborough is Ted Peters trying to scape an honest living driving his cab. But Teds wartime mate Dave Robinson, credited as Bill Rowbotham but now better known as Bill Owen, is not quite so bothered where his money comes from and does odd jobs for a local gangster who along with his associate work out of an office above the local Palais de Danse. One evening Ted drops wide boy Dave off at the dance hall and then pops in the pub for a pint and sandwich but when he goes back to pick up his cab finds Dave dead in the back of the vehicle with a couple of bullet holes in him! As normal with this type of movie the police are clueless. So Ted sets out to investigate the two dangerous villains, Gregory (Barry Jones) and Baker (Barry K. Barnes), who use the Palais as cover for their black marketeering. Fiancée Joy Goodhall gets a job as a hostess helped by another of the dancing girls Annette, played by an uncredited Diana Dors in only her second screen role, and are able to keep a close eye on the pair. As you would expect things soon hot up for Jill and Ted.
Made at a time when Fish and Chips were known as a fish supper even in London and not just in Scotland! The film did not receive many complimentary reviews when it was released on the 25th June 1947 but time has been kind to it and now it can be viewed as a film made at the end of WW2 when budgets would have been non-existent and rationing and black marketeering for real. The strength of this wee movie is in the enthusiasm of its two main stars, Attenborough and his young wife, who put you in mind of the Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, as a sort of crime fighting two.
The director was John Paddy Carstairs who was best known for steering funny man Norman Wisdom to massive box office success through half a dozen undemanding comedies. The original story was by Peter Fraser with a screenplay by our old friend Brock Williams and the DOP was Reginald Wyer whose career spanned over thirty years including such fair as The Man in the Back Seat (1961) and Violent Playground (1958). Made at Cromwell Studios in Southall West London.