Murder Most Foul

The U.K. was a major beneficiary of the Marshall Plan, along with Germany and the rest of Western Europe. Yet food rationing did not completely end in Britain until 1954, provoking endless bitter jokes about who actually won the war. The black market flourished, and many a man (and woman) crossed the line into crime. To its everlasting credit, England’s movie industry was Johnny-on-the-spot with a lorry load of unflinching pictures infused with social commentary. Rialto’s Best of British Noir collects a right fiver [recast – huh?], highlighted by a pair of rediscoveries. Richard Attenborough gives a harrowing performance as a maniacal teenage hood cutting a swath through the tea and crumpets in John Boulting’s Brighton Rock. Also released in 1947, Robert Hamer’s wonderful It Always Rains on Sunday deftly merges the rhythms of everyday life in London’s East End with the fraught tension of an escaped con on the run. If you’ve somehow never seen Michael Powell’s excruciating and brilliant Peeping Tom(which snuffed his illustrious career) and The Third Man and The Fallen Idol (both directed by Carol Reed), now is the time to cash in your coupons.
Sept. 11-16, 2009

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