The Gorbals Story (1950) Poster

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Virtually unknown slice of life drama is a very poor thing
davidvmcgillivray-24-90581123 February 2016
Although it will be of almost no interest to anyone, this piece of social realism based on a 1946 play by a left-wing Glasgow theatre group is still a curiosity. It's a shame that probably we'll never know why such a parochial drama by an unknown playwright was deemed worthy of filming. A lot of people live cheek by jowl in a tenement apartment. It seems likely that many of the cast (never heard of again) were repeating their stage roles. They're not awfully good and generally they speak nice drama school Scots rather than the raw Glaswegian we'd expect. There's a fair amount of theatrical make-up on show. The house-mates include an Indian (who appears to be played by a Jew with an accent that wanders too regularly into Welsh) and inevitably a struggling artist desperate to escape the Gorbals squalor. There's much talk of poverty but the drama only comes to life when an irate father finds his daughter sitting on the artist's lap. The mediocre writing is a very long way from Steinbeck or Miller. Apart from establishing shots, the entire film was shot at London's Merton Park Studios. This robs the film of any hope of realism.
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Depressing social realism
Leofwine_draca4 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
THE GORBALS STORY is a cheap slice of social realism, shining a light on those living in poverty in one of Glasgow's most notorious slums. Seen today it's quite hard work to watch, purely because it's depressing more than anything else. The narrative feels long-winded despite the short running time and the events depicted are strictly pedestrian. The plots that take place fail to raise the interest and the film seems to be stuck in a humdrum place from which it never rises.
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That Grim Place Called Home
richardchatten27 November 2019
A relentless tale of poverty driving people mad featuring the Glasgow Unity Players set almost entirely in a cheerless tenement that anticipates Bo Widerberg's 'Raven's End' just over a dozen years later.

Both films make their bleak content tolerable by letting us know it all happened a long time ago, and 'The Gorbals Story' sugars it's pill by first showing us the young hero as a successful artist who eventually escaped this teeming hellhole; thus reassuring us that his story, at least, had a happy ending.

Young leading actor Russell Hunter later became famous on TV as "Lonely" in 'Callan'. Other faces in supporting roles that later became familiar belong to a young Roddy McMillan, Archie Duncan and Andrew Keir.
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Extremely good storytelling
curtishogarth-305237 March 2020
Excellent performance by isobel Campbell and truly wonderful and interesting dialogue
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Subtitles Please!
malcolmgsw2 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film was recently shown on Talking Pictures TV.I didn't know they went in for foreign language films!Now I am sorry if I upset people in Scotland but because the actors were using thick Glasweigian accents this film was virtually unintelligible and I struggled to grasp what was happening.I suppose the best thing I can do is quote Quinlan"Life in the tournaments of a Glasgow slum area,where the vicissitudes of life almost drive a sensitive young man to murder.Eventually he escapes his environment and becomes an artist.Well-intentioned drama,execution of it is on the amateurish side".So now you know.No doubt a valuable record of a Scottish drama company.
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The Other Gorbals Story
wilsonstuart-323466 June 2020
Very stagy and fairly artificial film version of a play of the same name. With the kitchen sink dramas still a good few years away - and I often wondered who was Scotland's answer to Arthur Seaton, Frank Machin and Jimmy Porter? - this was as cutting edge as social commentary was allowed to get.

I'm not going to be too harsh here. Yes, everyone speaks with an Aberdeenshire accent; the tenements look like facsimiles, with none of the filth and grime; the pacing's slow and the acting is variable. However, it was good to see earlier roles from Russell Hunter, Andrew Keir and a couple of others. Some second unit photography of the Saltmarket, The Clyde and the dance halls captures the spirit of the times.

In a couple of ironic twists, I wonder how this feature was received by the local on its release - The Gorbals had over twenty cinemas in the area back in those days, and it was shown back in 2015 in the Citizen Theatre.

Moreover, the action (presumably) takes place a stone's throw from Crown Street, epicenter of the seminal Glasgow novel 'No Mean City'; there's an adaptation we're still waiting for nearly 90 years later!
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Braderz6523 January 2022
Poor, desperate degraded. Someone pushed to the limit. Uncaring governments in an area that has had many those. Thatcher and her croanys and all the other Tories that messed with Scotlands poorest areas. No wonder they away from the UK who can blame. A good film with a good dialogue on the conditions at the time. Not much better now. Well worth a watch.
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