Bang! You're Dead
|Bang! You're Dead|
|Directed by||Lance Comfort|
|Produced by||Lance Comfort|
|Written by||Ernest Borneman
|Music by||Eric Spear|
|Cinematography||Brendan J. Stafford|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|16 March 1954|
Bang! You're Dead is a 1954 British psychological film drama, directed by Lance Comfort and starring Jack Warner, Anthony Richmond, Veronica Hurst, Derek Farr and Sean Barrett. The film takes as its subject the accidental killing of a man by a child, and the struggles of the child and his companion to comprehend the gravity of what has happened.
Cliff Bonsell (Richmond) lives a solitary life with his widowed father (Warner) in a hut on a decommissioned American army munitions stores depot in rural England. He has few friends, his main companion being the slightly older Willy Maxted (Barrett), a quiet and introverted child who lives nearby with his grandmother (Beatrice Varley). Cliff has developed a fascination for guns from films he has seen, regarding them as fun toys with which to play imaginitive games. Willy's main interest is his gramophone record collection.
Cliff discovers an old army revolver left behind at the depot and is thrilled to have found a realistic toy to play with. He and Willy are out together when they come across unpopular local Ben Jones (Philip Saville). Cliff decides to tease him by threatening him with the gun cowboy-style. When Jones refuses to play along, Cliff pulls the trigger, not realising that the gun is still loaded with live bullets. Jones collapses and the pair at first think he is play-acting, but soon realise that he is dead. They flee the scene in panic.
Jones' body is discovered shortly afterwards by Bob Carter (Michael Medwin), who alerts the local police. However, when investigating detective Gray (Derek Farr) learns that Carter and Jones had recently been involved in a fight over the attentions of the flirtatious Hilda (Veronica Hurst), Carter becomes the main suspect and is taken in for questioning. Cliff and Willy become increasingly tormented as they try to weigh up whether it is better to let an innocent man be punished, or to confess to what actually happened and face what they see as the fearful consequences. Meanwhile, Grey gradually comes to realise that the case may not be as clear-cut as it first appeared.
- Jack Warner as Bonsell
- Anthony Richmond as Cliff Bonsell
- Sean Barrett as Willy Maxted
- Derek Farr as Detective Gray
- Veronica Hurst as Hilda
- Michael Medwin as Bob Carter
- Gordon Harker as Mr. Hare
- Beatrice Varley as Mrs. Maxted
- Philip Saville as Ben Jones
- John Warwick as Sgt. Gurney
- Toke Townley as Jimmy Knuckle
The Time Out Film Guide describes it as "a strange little film (which) can't make up its mind whether it's a thriller or a piece of social conscience, but the performance of the boy lends it charm."