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Monday, April 9, 2012

50'S FLASHBACK : COSH BOY 1952


INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCERS
PRESENTS
A ROMULUS PRODUCTION
From LIPPERT PICTURES

COSH BOY

starring

JOAN COLLINS as RENE ..
With
JAMES KENNEY      ROBERT AYRES     BETTY ANN DAVIES     HERMIONE BADDELY
 NANCY ROBERTS   HERMIONE GINGOLD   LAURENCE NAISMITH    JOHNNY BRIGGS
         IAN WHITTAKER   SIDNEY JAMES
   Director of Photography - Jack Asher      Art Director - Bernard Robinson  Edited by Charles Hasse
        Music by Lambert Williamson  Screenplay by Lewis Gilbert & Vernon Harris from the stage play -
          "Master Crook" by Bruce Walker   Assistant Director - John Bremer  Produced by Daniel M Angel
                                Directed by Lewis Gilbert ....
    (c)  Romulus 1952  ...   73 mins ..  B/W .. Region 1 DVD from VCI ENTERTAINMENT ..

Made in 1952, "Cosh Boy" was adapted from the play "Master Crook", by Bruce Walker, which also starred James Kenney, who plays the villian Roy, in this film version.  Released around the same time as the notorious court case of Derek Bentley, the young backward boy hanged for the murder of a policeman, partly because his accomplice Christopher Craig, was too young to hang. "Cosh Boy" fell foul of the British censors of the time as they picked up on the similarities in the case and the character of Alfie (Whittaker) is simple and takes the blame for the crimes committed by the thug Roy (Kenney). The censors awarded the film the first of the new X Certificate for adult themed films. They also softened some of the coshing scenes as they were deemed strong content for the time.  Critics commented...

SUNDAY  GRAPHIC  :

" I don't remember such an outcry when it was played on the London stage. I suppose they assume that theatregoers are far steadier fellows than the film public!"


The film was shot at Riverside studios and Hammersmith, with Joan playing another of her teen gone bad roles, although the character of Rene is more virginal than in the other of her "Coffee Bar Jezebel" roles! Rene although fond of a good time, either at the local dance club or a day out on the river, still manages to convey an innocence, which is apparent when she is ambushed into a sexual situation with the ruffian Roy. Joan looks stunning and she brings a touch of youthful glamour to a drab looking London! Incidentally Hermione Baddeley plays Joan's mother in the film, a real battleaxe, who Joan herself had a run in with. Hermione who lived with Joan's old RADA mate Laurence Harvey, didn't take kindly to pretty young actresses and told Joan to her face, " So! This is the new Jean Simmons! Let me tell you, my dear, Jean has nothing to worry about! You don't have her looks. You don't have her talent! And you certainly don't have half the things the papers have been saying about you!" Hermione was obviously typecast, as she plays a ferocious old harridan in this film!  Hermione Gingold also appears as the dotty hooker Queenie and she also appears in Joan's later film "Our Girl Friday". James Kenney later turns up in "The Good Die Young", while Laurence Naismith appears with Joan in later productions, "Quest For Love" and "The Persuaders".
"Cosh Boy" is influenced by Italian neo realist films such as "Bicycle Thieves", it also has the distinction of been banned in Sweden and Birmingham!
More recently the British Film Institute put "Cosh Boy" on the shortlist for it's " 100 Greatest Films of All Time".
While not as shocking today as it must have seemed in the fifties, it still was a film ahead of it's time and deserves it's place in British film history!

(2010) Mark Mc Morrow.....

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