Graham Greene

Brighton Rock at the Cinema

The film of Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’….

I thought I would share these wonderful pieces of cinema history with you which I found inside an old copy of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock. It really was a fabulous find and made me consider what an event it was to go to the cinema in the 1940s.

Brighton Rock was first released in 1948, starring Richard Attenborough (1923-2014) in the lead role of Pinkie Brown. Greene wrote the screenplay with Terrance Rattigan (1911-1977) and when it opened the response was a combination of delight and horror. Many critics were shocked by its violence which including razor slashings and beatings but despite the calls for its banning the public response was very favourable and became a box office success.

I have seen both the original and the remake in 2010 when the setting was shifted from the 1930s to the Mods and Rockers fights of the early 60s. Both are good films but the original, despite its ending remains closest to Greene’s book and for any fans of film noir it must surely be a must-see film.

I was intrigued by the programme from the Garrick Theatre in London, I love how one was required to give their coffee order to the attendant before the interval and for those who needed something stronger than Ridgways Tea, there was a choice of Red Tower Lager, Bass, Worthington, Guinness or Whiteways Devon Cyders. By then of course, the Garrick was already over fifty years old and a fine looking building inside and out, and to see a film like this in such surroundings must have been very special.

Included are these fabulous stills from the film including scenes with Fred and Ida before Fred’s fateful end, seeing them now reminds me of the book and the desperation of the man to evade his hunters. Somehow this film should only be seen in black and white, the later remake loses much of the original story’s darkness as a result of its modern cinematography and why Greene and the film’s producers were so keen to try and match the gangster films coming out of Hollywood.

Brighton Rock is well worth a watch, if you have not read the book then the film will set you up for a great read. For more information on Graham Greene please click on the sidebar on the right hand side.


Related reading:

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene 

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