The words "gritty" and "drab" are very appropriate for this excellent film. It is, by its very nature, desiged to be set in the drab environment of post-war Britain.
Rose Sandigate (Googie Withers) was engaged to a local "wide boy", Tommy Swann (John McCallum). However, Tommy becomes involved in armed robbery and is sentenced to a harsh term in jail. Conditions are very harsh and Tommy manages to escape and goes "on the run". He hasn't a clue where to go, but decides upon the only person he ever really trusted: Rose. He hides in the dank, dark bomb shelter in the back garden of her house, which is no longer used. He doesn't realise that his one-time fiancé is now married, albeit not very happily and is living in a dingy, cramped house, but at least she is respectable.
She finds him by chance and, despite everything, still feels something for him; for what might have been; for the life that could have been so much different from the one she lives now. Through a series of extremely tense scenes, she manages to conceal Tommy, although the tension shows. The acting is absolutely first class (only to be expected of Googie Withers) and gives a true sense of the squalor and difficulties people faced in those desperate times.
The film depicts a situation that, even today, happens all too often, where people fall in love, become involved and, for one reason or another, it doesn't work out. It is a story of reality; real lives and real people. It is also interesting, as the escaped convict was subjected to severe "corporal punishment", at the hands of the authorities; something that, certainly in the UK, has long since been outlawed.
Despite his crimes, one cannot fail to feel a degree of sympathy for Tommy, who was treated in such a savage and barbaric manner, in what was supposed to be a civilised society, still reeling from the punishment that Nazi Germany wreaked upon so many. And one also cannot help but feel sorry for the woman who loved him and who stills loves him and wants to try to help him. She wasn't a criminal; she was in love and desperately wanting to find a way out of her dreary and hum-drum life.
Take a look at the squalid houses which, to all intents and purposes, were pretty good in their day, when people didn't seem to have the same concerns over interior decoration, so long as they had a roof over their head and enough food to get by. It was very much a question of "getting by" and hoping that the future would hold something better. If we think things are going to get bad here, with the calls for austerity and "cut-backs", perhaps a sobering look at post-war life will bring us back to reality. We don't know we're living. You certainly wouldn't be sentenced to physical punishment and hard labour, for robbery (albeit armed). Prisoners in the UK, now, don't face the death penalty and life in prison is nowhere near as harsh, as it was when this film was made.
Googie Withers is absolutely superb in the role and the supporting cast are also excellent and very realistic. An excellent film, very atmospheric and sad. A story of love, courage, squalour and the grim realities of life in a country that was escaping from the hell of war, only to propell itself into...........
Watch it and think!