This film was the acorn from which sprang the oak of Dixon of Dock Green, the longrunning TV series featuring Sergeant Dixon, amiably wise local uniformed policeman, who always started and ended each episode with a homespun homily. My grandmother never missed.
In the film, Dirk Bogarde's young gangster shoots dead the then Police Constable Dixon and is pursued relentlessly but with almost amusing gentility by the Metropolitan Police, who, naturally, capture him in the end.
The film is skilfully made and the raffish atmosphere of postwar London brilliantly shown. Ground and aerial shots of the main areas used (Little Venice, Maida Vale, Paddington, North Kensington) are of interest not only to the film buff but to social and architectural historians. As an ex-Little Venice resident myself, I was once more amazed to see how much has changed (sometimes for better, sometimes not) in the Regent's Canal area and elsewhere and how much of the redevelopment has been the work of planners and local councils, rather than the Luftwaffe, who (outside the docks and nearby areas of the City and East London) really damaged London, overall, scarcely at all during WW2. Another interesting point is the paucity of traffic in those poor and petrol-rationed days. Dirk Bogarde is able to drive at speed down deserted streets, pursued by the squad and area cars of the police. The main car chase is, in today's terms, "iconic" and, with its near massacre of a school party on a pedestrian crossing, surely must have inspired the almost identical scene in the watchable Sixties film Robbery (based loosely on the Great Train Robbers).
The final scenes before Bogarde's capture, in the crowded yet lonely confines of a dog-racing track (White City, I think) are classic, capturing the clammy despair of a criminal like that in those days when a crime like his would lead inevitably to the hangman's rope. A British classic.