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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable British gangster film
Brighton Rock, Graham Greene's novel about the British criminal underworld, has been improved by this adaptation for the screen. Most movies are worse than the book, this movie is better.
On the surface the story is easily told. Set in post-WW2 Brighton, the story revolves around the activities of teenage gangster "Pinkie". He commits murder, courts and marries the...
Published on 17 Oct 2002

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Blu-ray (Digital Remastered ????)
What a disappointment:

(1) The Source Print for this Blu-ray has not been cleaned up in any way. Other than the addition of grain (which to me is of no benefit) makes this re-mastering a fraud.

(2) The DVD Source Print in the "Graham Greene Collection" was better quality and when up-scaled to 1080p looks better than this Blu-ray.

(3) The...
Published 16 days ago by Harry F. Korbl


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable British gangster film, 17 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Brighton Rock [1947] [DVD] (DVD)
Brighton Rock, Graham Greene's novel about the British criminal underworld, has been improved by this adaptation for the screen. Most movies are worse than the book, this movie is better.
On the surface the story is easily told. Set in post-WW2 Brighton, the story revolves around the activities of teenage gangster "Pinkie". He commits murder, courts and marries the witness to prevent her bearing testimony against him.
For Greene this story seems to have had a wider meaning and his novel invites the reader to reflect on the moral, metaphysical and theological significance of these events. The movie invites this multi-layered analysis too and viewers can be as cerebral as they wish as they try to work out the "moral" in this morality tale set in the jolly-sinister carnival atmosphere of Bank Holiday Brighton.
But there are other pleasure too. Firstly, it has to be one of the best performances Attenborough has given. He is more memorable for this chilling performance as the demonic "Pinkie".
than anything else I've seen him in. Other performances also get under the skin, especially "Ida", Pinkie's nemesis.
Secondly, there is the pleasure of the black-and-white, highly atmospheric camera work, the lip-smacking scene setting, the delightful character acting, and a trip in time to a period in British history that is rarely represented in cinema (or any other format). This is one of those movies you watch over and over just to see the clothes people used to wear and how they used to hold their beer glasses or eat ice-cream.
Thirdly, there is the pleasure of contrasting this movie with other gangster movies e.g. from USA or Japan, especially those featuring teenage gangsters. You can never watch Marlon Brando or James Dean after this without contrasting them with Pinkie. Compared with the skinny, thread-bare, thoroughly nasty Pinkie the well-fed, well-dressed, terribly nice Americans seem like the boys-next-door and about as threatening as a used teabag and the Japanese, though more violent, are somehow far less malevolent.
But you should watch this great little classic of British cinema for yourself and reach your own conclusions and write your own moral. Highly recommended if you want to build a library of DVDs you'll watch over and over and gain something new every time you do. Worth every penny.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What Do All These Athiests Know About Hell" - Pinky Brown, 16 Oct 2006
By 
Nobody (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
`Brighton Rock' is essentially a tale of a teenage gangster, Pinkie Brown, and his attempts to silence a potential witness, Rose, to a crime. John Boulting (Thunder Rock, 1942; I'm All Right Jack, 1959) directed it in 1947 and was producer by his twin brother Roy. The screenplay was adapted from the Graham Greene novel of the same name by Terence Rattigan. There are significant differences at the ending of the film in relation to the novel (the book is more brutal) but I think that it takes nothing away from the film or the book. Due to BBFC rules at the time some changes had to made to the intended ending (the record scene) of the film because they wanted it to have a happy ending, which I think in retrospect made it better. The only feature really missing is the strength of character development one could only expect from a novel. However saying all that, the adaptation is excellent.

`Brighton Rock' featured two brilliant performances from Richard Attenborough (In Which We Serve, 1942; A Matter Of Life And Death, 1946) as Pinkie and Carol Marsh as Rose. Richard's performance is a career highlight for him, which could be regarded as the emergence of the `angry young man' in British cinema, but it was Carol's performance that I really loved. Her performance of innocence is something we so rarely see in modern cinema that it is remarkably refreshing to watch. One thing worth pointing out though is that Rose in the novel was not quite as pretty and we see more of her family life and the possible reason for her attachment to Pinkie. Carol Marsh never made many other significant films that I feel it's a bit of a shame because I think we've missed something there. I place her performance alongside Dorothy Malone's bit part in `The Big Sleep' (1946) who we also never saw enough of sadly.

Cinematography on `Brighton Rock' was by Gilbert Taylor who would later work on films such as `Repulsion' (Polanski, 1965) `Dr Strangelove' (Kubrick, 1964) and the much loved `Star Wars' (Lucas, 1977). Other films adapted from Graham Greene novels worth watching are `This Gun For Hire' (Tuttle, 1942) which has a similar theme and the excellent `The Third Man' (Reed, 1949). I loved this film and I loved the novel and I recommend both to you.

`Brighton Rock' is ranked No.15 in the BFI Top 100 British Films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course it's true, these atheists don't know nothing., 5 Jun 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
Brighton Rock is directed by John Boulting and written by Graham Greene (also 1938 novel) and Terence Rattigan. Produced by Roy Boulting, it stars Richard Attenborough, Carol Marsh, William Hartnell, Hermione Baddeley, Harcourt Williams and Wylie Watson. Music is scored by Hans May and cinematography is by Harry Waxman. Plot finds Attenborough as small time Brighton hoodlum Pinkie Brown, whose attempts to cover up a murder sees events spiral out of control for himself and those closest to him.

1947 was a good year for tough, gritty British drama, in fact it was a key year in the progression of British cinema. It was the year that would see the release of They Made Me A Fugitive, It Always Rains On Sunday, Odd Man Out and Brighton Rock. The latter film, arguably the one that looks the most dated, is the one that shocked the most upon its release. Refreshing, then, to find that in spite of the aged edges of the narrative frame, it still today has a power, a bleakness, that justifies the classic status afforded it. Part seedy seaside noir, part character driven observation on Catholic guilt and torment, Brighton Rock overcomes some slight old time technical flaws to thrive on thematic potency and a tense narrative.

Many authors find their respective work losing impetus during the translation to the big screen, Graham Greene is one who hasn't had to suffer in that department. Key issue for those adapting his work is to understand the characterisations at work, thankfully the Boulting brothers grasp that Pinkie Brown, surely one of Greene's greatest creations, has a complexity that needs him front and centre of the brewing maelstrom. The plot then tumbles out around him, as the seedy underbelly of Brighton's everyday life is exposed. The casting of Attenborough as Pinkie was a masterstroke, fresh faced and wide eyed, Attenborough plays it as coiled spring like, his psychosis troubling and ready to explode at any given moment. His cold hearted relationship with the homely, desperate for love, Rose (Marsh), is utterly disturbing, and it's that relationship that underpins the story.

Story is set amongst two sides of Brighton, one side is sunny, full of lights, fun-fairs and candy floss, the other features grimy boarding houses, penny café's and loud back street beer houses. The neat trick the Boulting's pull is that we know the sunny side is merely a facade to darker forces, much of the badness is played out to the backdrop of seaside frivolity and relaxation. With the iconic pier serving as a dual witness to both the good and bad side of Brighton's current denizens. Aided by Waxman's oppressive photography, J Boulting paints in claustrophobic strokes, perfectly enveloping the lead protagonists in a number of restrictive set-ups, where the surroundings deftly match the mood of the individual. It's going to end bad, it has too, the atmosphere tells us that, but the makers are reveling in tightening the noose one turn at a time, and that's a sure fire bonus for film noir lovers.

Film is well cast across the board, with Hartnell most notable as Pinkie gang member, Dallow, while Baddeley as Pinkie's bold and brassy adversary, Ida Arnold, is suitably annoying. Memorable characters, one and all, each one serving to add fuel to Attenborough's malevolent fire. How great it is to also take away a number of memorable scenes from the movie. From the pulse raising chase at the beginning; to the weird and haunting brutality of a ghost train sequence, and to the cruel finale that drips with cynicism, it's a film that refuses to leave the conscious after the credits have rolled. The ending may have been toned down from that of the novel, but what remains still bites hard, as does, in truth, the whole film. 9/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of the Genre, 8 Mar 2011
By 
Mr. D. Gumble "Dan" (Herts, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
The British gangster genre is one of which I have never afforded much time. A genre, which, for the most part, has developed an unforgivably lazy attitude towards each and every aspect of filmmaking. Whilst America has generally led the way in regards to gangster movies with obvious classics such as The Godfather trilogy, Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) and Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995) the UK has conjured up Guy Ritchie; a director of such dire ineptitude as to have single-handedly destroyed the genre by steeping his films in a world of pantomime villains and wholly insufferable cockney geezers. Sadly, due to the inexplicable box office success to have met some of these abominations, films of this ilk appear to have set the template for the genre as a whole, leaving masterpieces such as Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast (2000)much maligned and unjustly forgotten.

On watching John Boulton's original Brighton Rock (1947) the level of the genre's decline was made even more apparent. The film follows Pinkie Brown (Richard Attenborough), a
young gangster running a protection racket at a race course in Brighton. After he and his gang have a rival mobster murdered in a way that looks like suicide, a local woman named Ida (Hermione Baddeley)becomes suspicious and sets out to discover the truth behind the mans death. On meeting a young waitress called Rose (Carol Marsh), Ida realises that the girl may be able to reveal the truth as to what really happened. The ensuing events force Pinkie into an increasingly desperate situation, as he tries to maintain his status and keep the truth from being revealed.

Aside from the thoroughly gripping storyline Brighton Rock displays an exceptional film noir aesthetic and exposition. Far from the present day cartoonish tone of films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie, 1998) in which the characters are presented in a misguided fashion of larger than life comedy, Brighton Rock holds its veneer of brooding menace and underlying tension throughout.
This brilliant construction of dark intensity and imminent threat is embodied to perfection by the performance of Richard Attenborough, whose portrayal of Pinkie holds the film together spectacularly. His stern and, occasionally manic demeanour is not only hugely iconic, but also highly intimidating, often staring into space whilst fiercely and randomly wrapping a piece of string around his hands as if he is preparing to strangle someone with it.

The performance of Carol Marsh as Rose is also extremely impressive, providing just the right level of innocence and naivety to the character to keep the audience on her side, even as she continues to protect Pinkie in spite of his terrible crimes.

However, in spite of Brighton Rock's numerous outstanding attributes, it is still a far from perfect piece. One particular thing which I found frustrating was the occasional moment of erratic nastiness from Pinkie. For instance, when recording a gramophone message as a present to Rose, he inexplicably rants about how he hates her and is only marrying her to secure her silence. Not only is this action extremely stupid and uncharacteristic due to the fact that he is trying so hard to keep his secret under wraps, it is also a completely pointless device to remind the audience that he's the baddie; a fact that should be pretty obvious to anyone from the moment Attenborough first appears on screen.

Although Brighton Rock may not be quite the masterpiece I had heard and read so much about, it is still immeasurably superior to the vast majority of films belonging to the genre to have been produced in recent years. One can only hope that in the renewed interest generated by Rowan Joffe's 2011 remake, future directors might just look back to this as their template for the next stage in the development of the British gangster flick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brighton Rock - rocks!, 7 Nov 2009
By 
Roy Anderson "War Buff - and civilian combatt... (Mount Brydges, Ont. Canada.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
Great technical advancements in film-making have tended to spoil 'modern' film goers with all manner of 'special' effects and the wonders that are now possible due largely to computers. If these things are necessary for a person to enjoy a film, then Brighton Rock is probably not for them.

Brighton Rock was made in an age where acting, camera work, directing and writing - ALONE - combined to decide the worth of a film and Brighton Rock was found to be one of the outstandingly fine films of its age.

Brighton Rock shows that the Americans did not have a 'lock' on gangster movies. While, admittedly, being on a smaller stage, Brighton Rock has gangster lore a plenty and Attenborough's performance is top notch.

A brilliant novelist's excellent book has enabled brilliant Directing, Camera work and Acting to produce a film that compares favourably to the best of its kind ever made.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, cold-blooded movie with Richard Attenborough by way of Graham Greene, 1 Sep 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
We make our own sordid hell and then we live in it, and the innocents among us deserve what they get because they can't tell the difference. Not exactly Graham Greene with his Catholic conflicts, but this excellent film written by Greene (and Terence Rattigan) from Greene's novel certainly sets up the issues. Brighton Rock is an excellent movie, scarcely dated, and features one of Richard Attenborough's most effective performances. His Pinkie Brown will wipe away all those avuncular grandfathers and Santas he's been playing the last few years.

Pinkie leads a small criminal gang in Brighton in the late Thirties. The gang's former leader was betrayed by a man named Fred Hale. When Hale is spotted in the guise of newspaper reporter Kolley Kibber passing out coupons near the Brighton pier in a promotion stunt for the paper, Hale's health is about to fail. Pinkie and the gang face Hale in a pub, then follow him through the streets of Brighton waiting for an opportunity to kill him. On the Brighton pier Hale meets Ida Arnold, a blowzy, cheery woman he encountered in the pub, and pleads with her to stay with him. She agrees, but then must leave him for a moment to retrieve a handkerchief. Frightened out of his wits, he gets on a tunnel of frights ride...and at the last moment Pinkie slips into the seat next to him. Hale is dead before the ride ends. Now Pinkie realizes there are a couple of loose ends. He kills one and marries the other, an innocent young waitress named Rose who saw more than she should have. A wife, after all, can't testify against her husband. Before long, Pinkie is plotting a double suicide for himself and Rose. Naturally, she'll go first. I'm not giving anything away, but things at last don't turn out Pinkie's way.

Did I mention? Pinkie is a puritanical sociopath. He doesn't smoke, doesn't drink and prefers to use a straight razor. He's 17. His gang has only three other members, all older. He dominates them because he knows what he wants, he's calm and he doesn't hesitate to take action. He can become violent, but with all the emotion of a snake. He marries his young waitress to get an alibi. While she naively loves him with all her heart, he can barely keep from showing his impatience and revulsion for her. On the Brighton pier together she sees a recording kiosk where people can make a record of their voices. Make a recording for me, she begs Pinkie, so I'll always have something that tells me how you feel. While Rose, outside the booth and unable to hear, gazes at him through the glass, Pinkie speaks into the mike. "You wanted a recording of my voice, well here it is. What you want me to say is, 'I love you'. Well I don't. I hate you, you little slut... " They don't have a gramophone so Pinkie knows she can't play the record. Pinkie wants security and power. He sees both slipping away as stronger competition from another gang moves in, as his own gang starts to crumble and as the relentless Ida Howard dogs his steps, pulling the police behind her. It all comes together in the rain late at night on the pier.

Attenborough was 24 when he played Pinkie. It was his breakthrough performance, and he's so good it's a wonder he wasn't typecast. Pinkie's age is not made much of; we learn it only when we learn he is underage, as is Rose, and must utilize a corrupt, aged lawyer to arrange the marriage ceremony. The off-hand way we realize how young Pinkie is makes his youth and his cold behavior even more disturbing. Hermione Baddeley as Ida, loud, vulgar and loving a drink and a good time, and William Hartnell as Dallow, the senior member of Pinkie's gang and a hard man with a certain degree of loyalty, are excellent. One of the major stars is Brighton, itself, and how it has been photographed. There's the pier and the rides and the beach chairs, of course, but this Brighton also has grubby and depressing boarding houses, loud pubs and narrow, dark streets and alleys. The location photography brings out all the grit and desperation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-hitting And Unsentimental, 20 Sep 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
The Boulting brothers' 1947 film version (John directing, Roy producing) of Graham Greene's novel is a brilliantly evocative depiction of gangland Brighton in the period between the two world wars. With a script co-written by Greene and Terence Rattigan, the film begins with an amusing rolling screen introduction re-assuring viewers that the vicious acts of violence peppering the film are now a thing of the past and that Brighton is now a peaceful and idyllic place (little knowing that mod vs. rocker violence was soon to erupt during the 1960s). Boulting's film captures an authentic mood of the British seaside resort, full of ice-cream cone licking couples, threepenny deckchairs and variety shows on the pier, but cinematographer Harry Waxman also demonstrates a sharp eye for the macabre with some superb close-up and off-kilter shots of the film's gangland protagonists.

Of course, this definitive film version of Greene's novel (which is far superior to the 2010 remake) showcases a terrifyingly convincing performance by a 24-year-old (playing someone 7 years his junior) Richard Attenborough as the ruthless, murderous gangster Pinkie Brown, whose chance for the 'big-time' has arisen with the killing of erstwhile gang leader, William Kite. But the non-drinking, non-smoking, Catholic Pinkie has not reckoned with young waitress Rose who is a witness to events which could lead to Pinkie facing the gallows. With his increasingly violent and risky approach, Pinkie is also struggling to retain the loyalty of his gang of henchmen, namely, worrier Spicer, mercurial Cubitt and steadfastly loyal Dallow, played with superb assurance by (respectively) Wylie Watson, Nigel Stock and William Hartnell. Also on the acting front, Hermione Baddeley is suitably blustering as psychic vigilante Ida Arnold who determines to hunt down Pinkie and Harcourt Williams is excellent as crooked lawyer Prewitt. Indeed, for me, the only weak acting link is provided by Carol Marsh as Rose, whose soft spoken vocal delivery is a little too deliberate (probably the only element where the 2010 film version scores over this one in Andrea Riseborough's performance in this role in the later film).

Whilst re-watching the film I also began to wonder what Hitchcock might have done with this story, since Pinkie's Catholic guilt (The Wages Of Sin) would have played nicely into a Hitch obsession. Equally, some of the film's outstanding set-piece scenes also bear a striking similarity to Hitch - for example, the seafront Dante's Inferno tunnel ride where Pinkie carries out his deadly deed (cf. the Tunnel Of Love sequence on Strangers On A Train) and the scenes where Pinkie is first introduced, face unseen as he plays cat's cradle on the bed, and that where Pinkie pulls the hair out of the doll ('It reminds me of church') he has won at the shooting gallery.

Boulting's film does not pull any punches and remains stubbornly hard-hitting and unsentimental to the end. Indeed, the ending, where Dallow's loyalty to Pinkie finally snaps, followed by the brilliant twist where Rose finally listens to Pinkie's recorded love dedication, provide a fitting end to one of the outstanding British films of the period.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a gangster film., 2 Feb 2004
This review is from: Brighton Rock [1947] [DVD] (DVD)
Fantastic film adaptation of the Graham Greene novel. I had read the novel prior to seeing the film and was not disappointed at all. Very realistic, sinister and disturbing gangster movie with a murder-mystery twist which makes it even more compelling. This film really blew me away!
The DVD package unfortunately has nothing to offer other than the "chapter selection". No subtitles, production notes or behind the scenes facts. Very disappointing for such a wonderful film but definitely worth adding to any serious movie collection.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Greene's novel in a very fine screen adaptation., 15 Nov 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
I first saw "Brighton Rock" on its first release in 1947 and it has been a favourite ever since although I cannot agree with the British Film Institute who in 1999 voted it the fifteenth best British film ever made.

An incredibly young Richard Attenborough brilliantly portrays the vicious Pinkie Brown juvenile leader of a Brighton race track gang in the 1930s, gangs that existed in real life enforcing protection racket payments with cut throat razors.

The gang members are well cast, William Hartnell as Pinkie's friend Dallow and Nigel Stock young and slim, very different from our usual perception of him. Hermione Baddeley is brilliant as the coarse seaside concert party entertainer who becomes obsessed with proving Pinkie guilty of murder.

The harrowing end of Graham Greene's novel has been altered to provide a soft landing for the waitress (Carol Marsh) that Pinkie so callously marries to prevent her testifying against him.

This is a very fine film indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 April 2008
By 
Mr. Ross Maynard (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brighton Rock [DVD] [1947] (DVD)
Tense and fast paced from the start, with superb cinematography, and strong performances, this is not what you expect from a 1947 British film. What you expect is plummy accents and melodramatic performances - and you get some of that from the Ida Arnold character - but the central performances from Richard Attenborough, Carol Marsh and William Hartnell are superb. The film is every bit as good as "The Third Man" with Attenborough probably outclassing Orson Welles. A classic and as good as any British thriller I've seen.
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Brighton Rock [VHS] [1947]
Brighton Rock [VHS] [1947] by John Boulting (VHS Tape - 1999)
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