[to Wilkie, the local mob boss, after her brother is killed]
You killed him, months ago you killed him! You said you wanted to help him. You never helped anyone the whole of your rotten life! You're greedy and wicked, you're a devil, you're a devil to boys like Tommy! Your smart suits, your sweet talk and your easy money!
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I was impressed with this one, a young hoodlum mugs someone (we never actually see the mugging) and is caught knife in hand by a local off duty policeman who drags the young lad home and gives him a lecture about a lad just like him that he knew some years earlier the film is then told as one big flashback to a time just after the war when small time organised crime was ripe (a slew of British gangster films were made on the subject look up The spiv cycle) due to rationing and post war poverty a time when a some parts of england were reduced to rubble and slums were allowed to fester poverty bread desperation and violence and a few petty criminals were able to up their own living standards slightly but considering the mob live on the same street as the kid in question their little empires were nothing more than a joke. one such mobster has fallen head over heals with a decent working class girl who does no wrong and looks after a family that consists of elderly, disabled, alchaolics and her beloved little brother who has developed an obsession with small time gang boss Herbert Lom seeing Lom get everything he wants watching him throw money around and wearing expensive suits makes quite an impression on the young lad and before long hes packing heat and involved in petty crime and giving money to his sister and mother wearing expensive clothes and generally impersonating Lom. His sister hates it and although she wants the good life lom can offer her (as do the family) she at first resists his advances (in my opinion to show the brother money cant buy everything) but eventually she gives in and this seals her little brothers fate. Fantastic film fine acting lom as usual fine as a mobster (although he doesn't actually do much because he wants out of the rackets for a normal life while the young lad very much wants to replace him) mesmerising start to finish great use of location and makes for an interesting look at the squalor of post war england. i don't want to give the ending away but its right up there with all of the best gangster film endings absaloutley brilliant and still after all these years packs one hell of a punch.
if you get the chance to see this don't pass on it.
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