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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 20 January 2009
I genuinely believe this to be one of the great British films and I can watch it again and again and never become bored of it. So many memorable images; PC Dixon's fate; the child finding the gun; Dirk Bogarde's chilling performance; the nature of the crime sickening even the most hardened of criminals; and much, much more.
This is truly a window into a lost world - some of the photography of 1950s London is astounding - and I'm sure many modern viewers might find it all a bit silly - this is, after all from an era when accents were either cut glass or "Gor, Blimey Guv'nor" vulgar - but you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be deeply moved by the scene with George Dixon's wife after the shooting.
It also comes from a time before the idea of the "honest copper" was tarnished forever, and when there really were "bobbies on the beat" - a time when many villains could be portrayed as "lovable rogues" but, if you bear in mind that you are watching a slice of lost history - in a very effective semi-documentary style - you will find a lot to enjoy in this film, and the basic sense of justice and ideals of right and wrong as showcased in this film still make very powerful viewing.
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on 27 December 2007
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.
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on 29 July 2007
This was the movie that changed British gangster films for ever,
Originally written by (Lord) Ted Willis, it introduced us to PC George Dixon, part social worker, part father confessor and part copper.
Dirk Bogarde plays a troubled teenager with a gun (even though when the film was made, Bogarde was already a a decorated war hero!) who kills PC Dixon in an alley.
Jack Warner's character was brought back to life to star in the BBC's long running series "Dixon of Dock Green" which ran from 1955 until 1976.
It's a great movie, a real slice of 1950's post-war Britain.
Buy and enjoy.
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on 27 April 2011
Good drama usually stems from pitting the good guys against the bad guys. This film is no exception: old-fashioned police constable Jack Warner (George Dixon) walking the beat, ably assisted by new boy Jimmy Hanley are pitted against the likes of scared robber Dirk Bogarde in an early starring role. In 1950, shooting a 'copper' was the ultimate crime which united even the shady underworld in the search to bring the culprit to book - in this case, the hangman's noose, a fact of which even the child who finds the murder weapon is only too well aware. This is a Britain that no longer exists, with streets with no traffic where a police chase in squad cars with dringing bells encounters no more obstacles than a group of school children crossing the road. It is a London still full of bomb sites where small children play around puddles, dressed in torn rags and live in slums. It is a world where people look so much older than at the same age today - Warner was 'only' 54 in 1950 when the film was released but he already looks ripe for retirement let alone going on to be Dixon of Dock Green until his eighties. One wonders why such a good copper as Dixon was still only a constable at such an advanced age and only a sergeant in Dock Green? Bogarde's love interest, Diana Lewis was supposed to be 17 and although Peggy Evans was admittedly 25 at the time, she still looks nothing like a girl of the same age today. It's an age of raincoats and hats, of barrow boys, of cinema accents which still tended to be rather cut glass (even little Queenie's repeated 'No's!), of where Tessie O'Shea with her ukulele was top of the variety hall bill. There's a whole world of nostalgia here.

The film itself is enagaging with its tear-jerking moments and others of levity and can be watched again and again. Optimum's DVD is a lovely crisp, well-contrasted black and white copy with good sound but has this company's usual failings of no sub-titles or extras.
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on 1 September 2012
This film will appear dated now, but it is a good yarn based on a real life police officer who was shot on duty -P.C. Y807 Edgar who was based at Muswell Hill. Edgar was shot on 13 Feb. 1948. The murder was followed by a long running campaign in the media about hanging and the matter was debated in Parliament. The script writer for the film, E.B. Clarke was an ex.police officer and he secured the full co-operation of the Metropolitan Police for the production at Ealing Studios. The action is almost a documentary and everything was done to ensure accuracy, both in the locations and the uniforms. The film can also be seen as a piece of social history with trolley buses, music halls and dog racing forming some of the backdrop to the action. Dirk Bogarde makes a pretty unconvincing villain and his cockney accent is worse than Dick Van Dyke's! Jack Warner is a convincing copper and of course was resurrected to play the part in the T.V. series Dixon of Dock Green which ran from 1955 to 1976. The film was based on Paddington Green Police Station and in an overlap between myth and reality, officers from that station were pall bearers at Jack Warner's funeral. I love the film, but then I had the honour to wear that uniform and serve under the Blue Lamp.
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on 1 January 2014
Was policing in the capital in 1949 really as it's depicted in `The Blue Lamp'? I like to think so. Many of the young coppers in the film - like Jimmy Handley - had joined the police just after World War II. They knew the meaning of discipline and could be relied upon not to lose their heads; especially when Paddington Green stalwart PC George Dixon is shot dead by a near-hysterical Tom Riley - excellent performances by Jack Warner and Dirk Bogarde, respectively.

Filmed with the co-operation of the then commissioner of police, it has a documentary air about it, plus a great deal of authenticity. Choir practices really were held in police canteens and when both the operator at the Yard's Information Room and the R/T operator in the wireless cars are charting the progress of the excellently staged car chase, they really did send unhurried and unruffled transmissions ("M2GW: Message No. 24 from Information Room begins ..."), just like that - and for years afterwards, as well.

`The Blue Lamp' reflects a calmer, more reasoned time in the Metropolitan Police and it's immensely enjoyable. There is one point that needs to be made, however. No villain ever put up information as to the whereabouts of a police killer, because they thought that murdering a copper put the culprit beyond the pale; they did so to stop the investigating officers turning them over, again and again and discovering whatever dirty work that they'd been up to.

But don't let that bit of cynicism put you off; it's an excellent film. The police are depicted - accurately, I think - as public servants whom the general public liked, respected and trusted. See it for that reason alone, if you like; it doesn't happen nowadays.
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on 28 October 2009
This is a must buy for anyone interested in the Ealing film factory. Best known for the "Ealing Comedies" they also made other classic drama films. Foe example "Dead of Night" and "The Blue Lamp"
Filmed in post WWII West London with many of the scenes showing still bombed out districts, it's a story of a crime going wrong, a policeman getting shot and the subsequent investigation. PC Dixon is superbly acted by Jack Warner whose character was resurrected as Dixon of Dock Green for TV. A young Dirk Bogarde plays the hapless villain in a very convincing performance.

The location of the film has seen many changes since it was made and it shows just what London was like in the late 1940's. No cars, parking meters, etc. The austerity of the time is finely portrayed by the dingy housing and scenes of post war destruction.

The final chase scene is as good as you would get in a modern day film, minus the special effects!!

A mighty film showing that police were not stupid as sometimes they appear and seeing the good old plod on the streets like they used to brought a sting of nostalgia for times long gone, but not forgotten.
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Superb film and well worth adding to your collection - for those 'of a certain age' the scenes of post war London streets will bring back many memories. Yes, one can make fun of the "Evenin' All" type police officers but I, for one, remember coppers being like that - am I that old then????
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on 16 August 2013
Very gritty drama, full of pathos. Gives a wonderful picture of life in grim post war London. Policing as it was, no riot helmets, no questioning of stop and search etc., simple straightforward and very effective "bobbying". The story is uncomplicated but the moving scenes surrounding the outcome of rash criminality are without glamour or gloss. A good film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2014
The Blue Lamp is directed by Basil Dearden and written by T.E.B. Clarke. It stars Jack Warner, Jimmy Hanley, Dirk Bogarde, Robert Flemyng and Peggy Evans. Music is by Ernest Irving and cinematography by Gordon Dines.

Andy Mitchell is a new recruit to the London police force, old hand George Dixon takes him under his wing and shows him the ropes. When Dixon is gunned down by a hot headed crook, Mitchell, the force, and the close knit community, all rally round to catch the villain.

What chiefly makes The Blue Lamp a fine watch is being able to witness the good old days of the British Bobby. It was a time when the copper was a feared and reassuring presence on the British streets, they walked the beat so everyone could sleep easy in their beds, help was but merely a whistle away.

In that, this Ealing Studios production does a wonderful job, the essence is perfect, the locale and the dialect used is absolutely spot on, whilst the story is an accomplished piece that brings to notice the sad emergence of trigger happy crooks, a new breed of thug who's discipline quota was zero. It also looks nice, with a film noir sheen presented for the night-time sequences, while Dearden offers up a great action scene and closes the picture down with a tense chase finale at White City Greyhound Stadium.

There's inevitably some staid performances indicative of the time, and it definitely paints the police and surrounding community through rose tinted spectacles, but they are small complaints that ultimately can't stop The Blue Lamp from being a most engaging viewing experience. 7.5/10
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