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UK 1947
Directed by
Robert Hamer
92 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

It Always Rains On Sunday

The best thing about this Ealing Studios crime movie is its depiction of Lindon's immediate post-war East End which is photographed in black and white with documentary realism by master cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, a one-time photo-journalist and  news cameraman whose film career started as a camera operator at Ealing.  This “sociological” approach is carried over to the script which over a 24 hour period weaves together an assortment of characters living in Bethnal Green.

The epicentre of the story is the Sandigate family with Googie Withers as Rose Sandigate, wife to George Sandigate (Edward Chapman) and step-mother to his two grown daughters (Susan Shaw and Patricia Plunkett). When Rose’s former boyfriend, Tommy Swann (John McCallum), escapes from Dartmoor she hides him but the police and in particular Det. Sgt. Fothergill (Jack Warner) are closing in on him. Mixed in with this core drama are various characters who typify this heavily Jewish area of East London.

Whilst Hamer's direction is awkward in places particularly when it comes to the criminal elements, giving it a decidedly B grade quality that has its own very British charm, it is the studied depiction of working (and non-working) class lives that is really the focus of the film. This is signaled, somewhat repetitiously, by the way that it keeps returning us to the Sandigate’s terrace house with its trains seemingly constantly passing over a viaduct at the end of the street. And speaking of trains, the penultimate sequence in which Tommy is pursued through through the streets and into a railway yard at night is well-staged by Hamer and strikingly filmed by Slocombe.

It Always Rains on Sunday is by no means a great film but given the limited resource of post-war British film industry it is a solid one and anyone who enjoys this period of British film will be well-rewarded.




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