Brighton Rock (1947 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brighton Rock
Brighton Rock.jpg
Directed by John Boulting
Produced by Roy Boulting
Written by Graham Greene
Terence Rattigan
Based on Brighton Rock
1938 novel 
by Graham Greene
Starring Richard Attenborough
Hermione Baddeley
William Hartnell
Carol Marsh
Music by Hans May
Cinematography Harry Waxman
Edited by Peter Graham Scott
Distributed by Charter Film Productions
Release dates
December 1947
Running time
92 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £190,147 (UK)[1]

Brighton Rock is a 1947 British film noir directed by John Boulting and starring Richard Attenborough as Pinkie (reprising his breakthrough West End creation of the character some three years earlier),[2] Carol Marsh as Rose, William Hartnell as Dallow and Hermione Baddeley as Ida.[3]

It was produced by Roy Boulting through the brothers' production company Charter Film Productions. The film was adapted from the 1938 novel Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. In the United States, Brighton Rock was retitled Young Scarface.


This drama film centres on a gang of assorted criminals led by a psychopathic teen-aged hoodlum known as "Pinkie." The film's real-life theme was the race-track gangs of the 1930s, which fought public battles with straight razors in their competition to control crime at racecourses in southern England. One of these racecourses was at Brighton, a popular seaside resort.

Greene and Terence Rattigan wrote the screenplay for the 1947 film adaptation, produced and directed by John and Roy Boulting, with assistant director Gerald Mitchell. The climax of the film takes place at the Palace Pier, which differs from the novel, the end of which takes place in the nearby town of Peacehaven.

In the story, Pinkie is the strong arm for a small gang that operates at Brighton's race track. After a newspaper reporter named Fred writes a story that gets the gang leader killed by rivals, Pinkie takes over leadership and tracks Fred down, murdering him on an amusement park ride. The police think it a heart attack or suicide. But Pinkie still wants to cover his tracks and gets one of his gang members, Spicer, to take care of the matter. But Spicer accidentally leaves a clue that could unravel the murder—a clue that a waitress named Rose discovers. So Pinkie murders Spicer. He also courts and marries Rose so she can’t testify against him. But then, with self-appointed amateur sleuth Ida Arnold asking a lot of questions about Fred's murder, and the larger rival gang taking over racetrack racketeering, Pinkie decides he needs to kill Rose, too, before leaving town. So he convinces her that he will soon be caught and go to the gallows, and therefore the two should commit suicide together. He gives Rose a gun with which to kill herself, promising he’ll kill himself next. Out of love for Pinkie she reluctantly agrees and almost follows through. But a member of Pinkie's gang turns on him and helps the police stop her just in time before Pinkie commits suicide by throwing himself off the pier. But afterwards Rose persists in believing that Pinkie really loved her.



At the time of its release, Brighton Rock received critical acclaim and was the most popular British film of 1947, in the film noir mould. The film currently scores 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was banned in New South Wales.[4]

New adaptation[edit]

A new adaptation of the novel, written and directed by Rowan Joffé, was released in the United Kingdom on 4 February 2010. Joffe has moved the setting from the 1930s to the 1960s, during the mods and rockers era.[5][6]


The original film had a run at Film Forum in New York City 19–26 June 2009, and The New York Times previewed the revival, saying "both [Greene's] Catholicism and his movie-friendliness are in full cry in John Boulting's terrific 1947 gangster picture."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p485
  2. ^ NY Times biography The New York Times. Retrieved 6/14/09.
  3. ^ "Brighton Rock (1947) | BFI". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Film banned in NSW". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: National Library of Australia). 10 July 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (15 May 2008). "Optimum to remake 'Brighton Rock'". Variety. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Elliott, Emily-Ann (19 May 2009). "Brighton set to Rock again". The Argus. Retrieved 17 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "The Screen’s Seduction of Graham Greene" by Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times, 12 June 2009 (6/14/09 on p. AR13 of the NY ed.). Retrieved 6/14/09.

External links[edit]