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. This film, which screens as part of the Big Screen Classic season at BFI Southbank, is also being shown on February 2nd and 27th. Details here.
Chicago Reader 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 (and above) is an extract.