6.0/10
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15 user 4 critic

The Slasher (1953)

Cosh Boy (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 May 1953 (USA)
Amongst the bomb-sites and dark alleys of postwar London Roy Walsh and his gang of juvenile delinquents waylay and rob old ladies. Without parental control from his war-widowed doting ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Roy Walsh
...
Rene Collins
Betty Ann Davies ...
Elsie Walsh
...
Bob Stevens
...
Mrs. Collins
...
Queenie
Nancy Roberts ...
Gran Walsh
Ian Whittaker ...
Alfie Collins
Stanley Escane ...
Pete
Sean Lynch ...
Darky
Johnny Briggs ...
Skinny Johnson (as John Briggs)
Michael McKeag ...
Brian
...
Police Sergeant Woods
Sidney James ...
Police Sergeant
...
Inspector Donaldson
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Storyline

Amongst the bomb-sites and dark alleys of postwar London Roy Walsh and his gang of juvenile delinquents waylay and rob old ladies. Without parental control from his war-widowed doting mother, Welsh, already on probation, drifts into more and more devious and serious offences. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHOCK STORY OF WAYWARD YOUTH ON THE LOOSE! (original print ad-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Slasher  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Usually reckoned to be the first British film to get an "X" certificate. There were other films before this one that had similar levels of content, and some of those were passed for general viewing. But Cosh Boy was presented for certification just as they introduced the new "X" certificate in 1951. The "X" certificate has since been replaced by the "18" certificate. See more »

Goofs

When Walshy and one of his gang go to play draughts (checkers), the positions of the different coloured pieces seem to swap sides from when they approach the board (black on the left) to when they are seated (red on the left) to when they leave (black on the left). See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Collins: Do you think I'm going to let that little gangster do this and get away with it?
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Crazy Credits

By itself, the "Cosh" is the cowardly implement of contemporary evil; in association with "Boy", it marks a post-war tragedy - the juvenile delinquent. "Cosh Boy" portrays starkly the development of a young criminal, an enemy of society at sixteen. Our Judges and Magistrates and the Police, whose stern duty it is to resolve the problem, agree that its origins lie mainly in the lack of parental control and early discipline. The problem exists - and we cannot escape it by closing our eyes. This film is presented in the hope that it will contribute towards stamping out this social evil. See more »

Connections

Featured in Mike Baldwin & Me (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Valse Elegante
(uncredited)
Music by Frank Cordell
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User Reviews

 
Well worth a look.
2 May 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After reading some of the extremely negative reviews I feel I have to add my tuppence worth. I watched this film recently and I can't believe some of the reviewers watched the same movie. Bad acting? I couldn't see any. All the actors were stage-trained and while I could see some of that reflected in several of the performances it didn't detract from, but rather added to, the underlying documentary approach to a subject that was much in the public and political mind at that time (and still is today).

James Kenney, who I've seen in several movies, gives an outstanding performance of this young undisciplined hoodlum whose hysterical vileness and strutting arrogance propped up with a false bravado that finally cracks like a mirror at the end of the film....well, crime couldn't be shown to pay, could it? And yes, the police of that time were quite willing to let parents or guardians punish their young 'uns if they thought it would do any good. Parents would insist to the policeman, "Leave him to me!" if he brought shame on the house...I know! Alternatively the policemen themselves would give you a clip on the back of the head with their hand (painful) or flick you with a rolled up cape on the bum (very painful). You wouldn't go running to your Dad crying about it for he'd give you another clip saying you must have deserved it.

Social history tells us of how Britain, with four million men in uniform during the war years saw a generation of youth largely grow up without the guidance of fathers or older brothers. Juvenile delinquency figures during and after the war went through the roof and with many de-mobbed soldiers bringing looted pistols and revolvers home with them there was a steady supply of weapons filtering down to the criminally-inclined classes, and resulting in a massive increase in crimes of robbery, assault and murder by those who were 'tooled-up' and who were quite willing to kill their victims rather than let them live to identify their attacker and possibly end up making the acquaintance of Mr Pierrepoint and his neck-adjusting service (which he performed...on a career-best 405 occasions!).

For the time, and of the time, Lewis Gilbert's film stands up well in my eyes compared to the rose-tinted comedic films depicting similar disenfranchised youth such as the funny 'Hue and Cry'…which I also enjoyed enormously.

Taking a film out of its time-period to deliver judgement can't be right.

There were many films made back then (and even now) that are shoddily made with poor acting, dire scripts and non-existent production values that deserve all the brickbats they get, but 'Cosh Boy' isn't one of them....in my humble opinion.


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