Sunday, 10 April 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 101: Tuesday Apr 12, 2011

It Always Rains on Sunday (Hamer, 1947): Haymarket Cineworld, 6.30pm

Director Robert Hamer is one of the unsung heroes of British cinema. His best-known film is Kind Hearts and Coronets, the blackest of jet-black comedies, but this noirish East end thriller is thoroughly deserving of attention too. Echoes of the work of Carne, Renoir and Lang have been detected in this fatalistic tale of Googie Withers and the ex-boyfriend convict who comes back into her life.

The bonus tonight is that this Time Out screening as part of a celebration of their 100 Best British Films poll is introduced by novelist and hidden London expert Iain Sinclair. I saw Sinclair talk at the East End Film Festival, extolling the virtues of Joseph Losey's The Criminal and Orson Welles' Mr Arkadin and no doubt he will bring his knowledge of the period and the locale to bear on this affecting and doom-laden drama. It Always Rains on Sunday reached No 37.

Here is Chicago Reader critic JR Jones' review:

Rooted in the film noir of the 40s but anticipating the kitchen sink realism of the 50s, this superlative British drama (1947) transpires in the dingy Bethnal Green neighborhood of east London, where it probably rains Monday through Saturday as well. A former barmaid (Googie Withers) grimly keeps up her end of a loveless working-class marriage, barely concealing her jealousy toward her attractive young stepdaughters. When her former lover (John McCallum) breaks out of Dartmoor Prison and shows up at her doorstep, she can't help but take him in. Robert Hamer, best known for directing Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), shows a fluency with noir's shadowy visual vocabulary, but what really links this to the genre is its sense of haunting regret and lost opportunity. 

Here is an extract.

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