Forgotten London films: Waterloo Road (1945)

Set contemporaneously, Waterloo Road expertly taps into the tensions between those called up for military duty and those who remained behind in civilian life. It stars John Mills as a soldier who comes home to south east London on leave to find his wife, played by Joy Shelton, apparently enamoured of local spiv, Ted Purvis.... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: The Happy Family (1952)

The redoubtable Stanley Holloway leads the ensemble cast in this 1952 comedy set against the opening of the Festival of Britain the previous year. I say “against” advisedly: the premise of the film is that an administrative error, discovered just weeks before the festival is set to open, means that Holloway’s family home and shop... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: London Belongs to Me (1948)

Released in 1948, this is an adaptation of Norman Collins’ sprawling sub-Dickensian novel of London life, published just three years earlier. The novel teems with stories, and much has had to be trimmed to create a workable film (the book’s current Penguin edition runs to 750-odd pages of small type), but there is still plenty... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: St Martin’s Lane (1938)

Also known by its US title, Sidewalks of London, St Martin’s Lane is the story of a pickpocket, played by Vivien Leigh, who is befriended by a seasoned street performer (Charles Laughton). He discovers she has a lovely singing voice and incorporates her into his act, falling in love with her as he does so.... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: Pool of London (1951)

A gripping and beautifully shot 1951 film noir from Ealing Studios, Pool of London follows two merchant seamen on shore leave who get sucked into a world of petty crime which quickly escalates out of their control. Its principal claim to fame these days is that it features an inter-racial love story – the superb... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: The Boy and the Bridge (1959)

The bridge in question is Tower Bridge, where the boy, played by nine-year-old Iain Maclaine, flees after he sees – or believes he sees – his drunken father get arrested for murder. At heart, this is a rather tender film, as Maclaine’s character works resourcefully to live hidden away in one of the towers, with... Continue Reading →

Forgotten London films: Night and the City (1950)

Unarguably the finest British film noir ever made, Night and the City was directed by American Jules Dassin. Its strikingly dark tone may not be unrelated to the fact that Dassin took the project because studio head Darryl F Zanuck had told him he was about to be blacklisted by the McCarthyite House Un-American Activities... Continue Reading →

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