Brand new to Killer Reads is the cleverly titled, ‘Crime Film of the Month, which very surprisingly presents you with a classic crime film every month. As the self-styled film buff of the team I was nominated to select the titles so I’m very pleased that the inaugural ‘Crime Film of the Month’ for March is the legendary Brighton Rock….
Brighton Rock is one of the seminal British movies of the 20th Century and regularly finds its way on the list of Best Films Ever.
A sterling cast headed up by Richard Attenborough as the warped gang leader Pinkie, bring to vivid life Graham Green’s classic novel. Directed by the well-known Boulting brothers it was adapted for the screen by the author and dramatist Terence Rattigan.
Concerned with the criminal underbelly of Brighton it follows Ida Arnold, as a blowsy music hall entertainer, who is determined to root out the truth behind the puzzling death of a man she takes under her wing in a bar. Ida is brilliantly portrayed by Hermione Baddeley who gives a career-defining performance as the kind-hearted but interfering busy body. As she gets ever nearer to exposing Pinkie for the murderous psychopath that he is, he forces a vulnerable and weak young woman called Rose into marrying him so that she cannot testify against him as the only witness. There will be no happy ending for Rose.
Attenborough’s Pinkie Brown is a frightening creation and the actor brings his usual depth and substance to the role. The depiction of Brighton as a seething den of vice is well envisioned and the location adds authenticity to the film. It is a prefect example of how to successfully adapt a book for the screen – nothing of value is lost and the story is enhanced by the actor’s contribution. They don’t make them like that anymore…Well they do actually. A remake went into production late in 2009 and sees the setting move from the 1930s to the 1960s.