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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Classic Film Review: Hue and Cry (1947)

Hue and Cry tells the story of a group of street boys led by Joe Kirby (Harry Fowler) who realise that a comic is being used to tell a gang of thieves when, where and how they should commit their latest robbery. Joe's accusations are dismissed by the police and his boss so he and his friends decide to do some digging on their own. They first suspect the writer of the comic Felix H. Wilkinson (Alastair Sim) but then they identify the code and realise the culprit must be someone in the production process. But will anyone believe a bunch of troublesome kids?

Once this got going, I enjoyed it. The opening scenes introducing the kids are a little tricky because there are so many of them introduced in a short burst but once the focus settles more on Joe it's easier to follow. All the kids are good actors too, something I was surprised about. It's not laugh out loud comedy but there are some funny moments and some genuinely tense ones. Alastair Sim is playing his usual type of part but it's enjoyable enough in this context, especially when the boys don't know whether to trust him or not.

The ending of the film is quite fun and there is a sense of real danger, even though it's a comedy and everything should work out fine. All in all, this is a good film with some excellent performances from younger actors. I couldn't remember where I'd seen Harry Fowler before but it turns out I watched him in another Ealing production Went the Day Well? (1942, reviewed here) where he was equally as impressive. Something to look out for on a trivia level is that Fowler later married his co-star Joan Dowling, though she committed suicide after only a few years of marriage. My advice with Hue and Cry is, if you're struggling to get into it, give it a little longer to capture your attention.

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