Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 197: Monday July 18

It Always Rains on Sunday (Hamer, 1947):
Sanctum Soho Hotel
, 20 Warwick Street, London, W1B, 7pm

I have been praising the Society Film Club @ Sanctum Soho for some time and this looks another terrific evening. Their film nights are clearly going from strength to strength as this news item in West End Extra testifies.

Tonight they are celebrating novelist Alan Brownjohn’s 80th birthday and his most recent novel, Windows on the Moon - a brilliant evocation of London in the bitter winter of 1947/48 - by recreating a night at the pictures in late 1947. The austerity of ration cards and the glamour of the New Look will be hanging in the air. There will be newsreels; period clothing; ice creams nestling between crispy wafers and the sound of the mighty Wurlitzer.

They are also promising, for one night only, in the great tradition of Soho a live nude tableau,  performed by the “Spring chickens”. I am told: "They will be - oh so tastefully - recreating for us the art of the great masters of centuries past."

As far as the film is concerned, 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.

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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