Monday 1 September 2014

Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough died last week. Here's a clip from the 1947 film version of Graham green's Brighton Rock, directed by John Boulting. Attenborough is the nasty teenage gangster Pinkie (a role he played to great acclaim on stage three years earlier), and the scene shows the murder of a man named Fred on a fairground ghost train ride called Dante's Inferno.

I seem to remember that the murder in the novel was much nastier and involved a stick of real Brighton Rock. Not something to be shown in a 1940s movie.

Attenborough became a rather cuddly national treasure in later years and is much missed. But I like to think of him as in the earlier stages of an illustrious film career, a young actor with great range and depth. Pinkie is a monstrous creation, psychopathic and callow and the film deserves regular revival. Do all you can to avoid the 2010 re-make, updated to the 1960s and featuring mods and rockers.

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