During the late 1940s and the 1950s the subject of juvenile gangs and delinquency took a hold in London. The culmination of this was the creation of the image of the "Teddy Boy", who was like our delinquents
a young adult with attitude problems. In the hands of some writers it
became a subject of national malaise as in the play LOOK BACK IN ANGER, with the young upset at how they were being cheated of their futures by the so-called blunders of the previous two or three generations. But in the here and now it also led to the recognition of a criminal problem: The urban youth who had nothing to do but have sex and get into trouble. A series of youthful killers in the early 1950s culminated in the Derek Bentley - Christopher Craig case, where a constable was killed, and the the actual killer could not be tried (he was too young). His mentally challenged friend, who made the mistake of shouting, "Let him have it Chris", was hanged. We still are not sure if Bentley wanted Craig to shoot or to hand the gun over to the constable.
Comically the figure of the Teddy Boy was spoofed as a clumsy idiot by Peter Sellers in THE LADYKILLERS. But the really less pleasant aspect of such a type was well played by Tony Wright as Jack Havoc in this film. He is the terror of every soul in the district of London he resides in, most of whom clam up when the police try to find out who is terrorizing them, and where he is. Nobody will reveal a fact - he claims that he has all the answers - he knows how to control the world. It is not brains or cunning: He has discovered the "Science of Luck". He believes if you believe in luck you will create it for yourself. It is not until his world blows up in his face, as it did in that of his older American contemporary Cody Jarrett in WHITE HEAT, that he realizes there is a limit to such luck.
Bernard Miles as his older gang lieutenant (originally the boss until Jack took over) is wonderful as a seedy type who would like to break Jack's neck but knows if something goes wrong he will be lucky to be left a cripple only. Laurence Naismith plays the decent local church canon, whose one effort to help this psychotic ends in his near murder. Donald Sinden is the local decent common man who helps bring down the local monster.
It's not shown too frequently (I saw it about 1983 or so). But it was a really good little thriller well worth the watching.
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