Joe Cornish

The comedian, writer and director known for Attack the Block and The Adam and Joe Show picks Hue And Cry.

The StudioCanal Vintage Classics Collection is a treasure trove, but my personal favourite has to be Charles Crichton’s 1947 Hue & Cry. It’s an early Ealing Studios production written by T.E.B. Clarke, who’d go onto write The Lavender Hill Mob and Passport to Pimlico, that’s kind of hard to categorise. It’s sort of a thriller for kids, a boy’s own adventure movie with noir overtones. Set and shot in London immediately after the Second World War, it follows a gang of street kids who stumble across a group of criminals exchanging coded messages via a strip in a weekly comic. As the plot twists and builds it takes in loads of familiar London locations, a fantastic cameo by Alastair Sim and builds to one of my all time favourite climactic sequences. The final fifteen minutes involves hundreds of London kids swarming across the city to converge on a derelict site by Southwark Bridge to fight a massive pitched battle with the bad guys. As well as being a great yarn, Hue And Cry is a fascinating time capsule of London life, with teen street gangs wearing suits and ties, young people employed all over the city delivering milk, in markets, even as runners at the BBC, and the bombed-out ruins of the city serving as their – and the film’s – playground.

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Charles Crichton1947