(Cinestudio-Trinity College)


If you’ve seen a few forties or fifties film noir flicks, you know what to expect. And you come to expect it. It’s what you enjoy about them. The mood. The characters. The stories…well, they don’t always even make sense. So you learn that that isn’t important. And if you’re like most folks, you’ve mostly seen American film noir.

And when you think of British films, say, the likes of Alec Guinness comes to mind. Maybe it doesn’t. Hey, I’m not you. But I’m sure if you’ve seen some British cinema, you understand their sense of humor, and the quirky mentality that they embed into their cinema.

Perhaps that is what makes “Brighton Rock” so special. In what could have been a standard fifties detective and baddie story in the good ol’ U.S.; becomes a standard forties detective and baddie story with a twist—it’s British.

That is to say, these characters are a bit different than what we expect from this type of film, and it is what makes it so lovely to watch. The ending is absolutely marvelous and the quirkiness is really what makes this film special. The story…about a gangster who goes by the name of Pinkie…a little type guy who refuses to admit his time is up, as bigger gangster business is coming to town…we’ve seen it before. He offs a character who needs to be offed; not anticipating that somebody is going to miss him or somebody is going to ask questions. Questions that shouldn’t be asked. And never underestimate a girl you might bump into in a bar. Because she might just know too much.

So if this movie comes to a revival theatre near you (and I hope it does, prior to a rumored America remake), don’t go expecting to see some great lost story. The story, as it is, is serviceable enough, but not special. Likely it would be lost to the TCM archives if it was a Val Lewton production or something. No, this film is about the main character, and the quirky drunk of a heroine that we never got in America. It is about the ending, and how it is so special, even though we want the rug to be pulled out from underneath the baddie, cause he ain’t really so bad. Well, he’s bad…quite wonderfully and viciously so. But you could probably beat him up.

NOTE:   The film originally went around America as “Young Scarface.” See, now I bet you believe you can beat him up.

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