Brighton Rock

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United Kingdom | 1947 | 92 Minutes | John Boulting

February 16, 2014

Adapted from the Graham Greene novel, John Boulting's Brighton Rock opens on a sunny Whitsun bank holiday at the slightly tacky seaside resort of Brighton (the title refers to a local hard candy), people are dancing to the bands on the pier, and the shooting galleries, souvenir stands, and tea rooms are packed with day-trippers. 

But Fred Hale, busy caching newspaper giveaway cards around town under the futile alias "Kolly Kibber," keeps looking over his shoulder for Richard Attenborough's mystical psycho "Pinkie," razor-wielding teenage head of a racecourse gang, so ruthless that he marries naïve, underage waitress Carol Marsh just to tie up a crime's loose end.

Brighton Rock was the breakthrough starring screen role for future Oscar-winning director (Gandhi) Richard Attenborough, who had played the same role on stage four years earlier. The Boulting Brothers' (John alternated with identical twin Roy as director and producer) adaptation of Graham Greene's serious thriller was scripted by the author himself, after he was dissatisfied with playwright Terence Rattigan's initial, happily-ended draft. Greene's script-plus dazzling location shooting by Harry Waxman (The Wicker Man), with crowds of seemingly unobservant holiday-goers in the background of chase scenes across major intersections-serves the blackest of Noir treatments for this darkest of British Noirs.

  • Director: John Boulting
  • Principal Cast: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 1947
  • Running Time: 92 Minutes
  • Producer: Roy Boulting
  • Screenplay: Graham Greene (from the novel by), Terence Rattigan
  • Cinematographers: Harry Waxman
  • Editors: Peter Graham Scott
  • Music: Hans May
  • Filmography: Seven Days to Noon (1950), Private’s Progress (1956), I’m All Right Jack (1959), Heavens Above! (1963)
  • Format: 35 mm
  • US Distributor: Rialto Pictures