Bracknell Film Society Selection

Second of two films showing this month

Quarterly Classic


To book a ticket for this and forthcoming BFS screenings please contact the SHP Box Office on 01344 484123 or click the logo below to book via the SHP website.
Tickets £8.60, SHP members £7.00.
BFS members (BFS shows only) £6.60. You may have to show a BFS membership card. Concessions £7.60. SHP make an additional £0.70 charge when paying by credit card. Reserving a ticket by phone, expect to pay by cash at the box office 30 minutes prior to show time.

Thursday 26th October 7.30pm


Director: Charles Crichton, UK, 1947, 82 minutes
Cast: Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Harry Fowler

A gang of East End kids excitedly realise their favourite comic is being used by crooks to communicate, and set out in hot pursuit
across London's bomb sites. Ealing's first post-war success, skilfully directed and delightfully acted.

Charles Crichton’s exuberant, Boy’s Own-style adventure is generally regarded as the first of the great Ealing comedies.

Harry Fowler stars as Joe, a plucky teen who becomes convinced that his favourite comic contains secret messages intended for a criminal gang.
A meeting with eccentric writer Felix H. Wilkinson (Alastair Sim, on exquisite, show-stealing form) confirms that Harry is indeed on to something.
The boy enlists the help of his friends to hunt for further clues, and so begins a frantic cat-and-mouse chase across
the capital, as the kids begin to antagonise crooks and coppers alike.

Hue and Cry’s trump card is its vivid evocation of a war-damaged east London, not yet recovered from the devastating impact of the Blitz. Harry’s home turf is a wasteland of bombed-out buildings and rubble-strewn streets, imbuing the
fantastical story with a sense of realism. The film concludes in spectacular fashion, with literally hundreds
of kids converging on Shadwell Basin in an attempt to thwart the gangster.

Sinister, but fun GUARDIAN

Must-have movies: Hue and Cry (1947)

Sukhdev Sandhu of the Telegraph admires a near-perfect Ealing film

Most Ealing films are worth watching. But Hue and Cry is truly adorable. Scripted by TEB Clarke, who also wrote Passport to Pimlico and The Blue Lamp, and directed by Charles Crichton, who went on to helm The Lavender Hill Mob, it's a near-perfect synthesis of comedy, action thriller and social drama. Its chief character is bombed-out London, whose rubble-strewn landscapes and pocked wharves serve as both playground and crime scene for a gang of schoolkids who twig that their favourite comic strip is being used by crooks to pass secret messages to each other.

Hue and Cry is usually seen as a kids' film, the cinematic equivalent of C Day Lewis's The Otterbury Incident (1948). But, from Georges Auric's memorable score to its telling use of London's sewers, its story of blackmarketeers importing illegal furs into the capital and its themes of trust and duplicity, the picture is remarkably similar to Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). Those scenes in which teen-hero Harry Fowler is attacked by a bogus cop and in which one of his pals appears to have been abducted are genuinely scary.

It's by no means all darkness. Alastair Sim is delightful as Felix H Wilkinson, an affected comic artist who is appalled by the idea of having to rewrite his strips to help the young boys. Fowler is a very appealing mixture of Cockney cheekiness and plucky derring-do. The cast of mainly non-professional actors are very good, too. And, to cap things off splendidly, a scene towards the end in which hundreds of young boys and girls dash pell-mell across East London towards Shadwell Basin in order to stop the gangsters getting away must surely count as one of the most exciting and visually startling of early post-war British cinema.