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4.2 out of 5 stars
Hue & Cry [DVD] [1947]
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99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 February 2003
This is the beginning of what we have come to know as the Ealing comedy. A charming story of a group of children who believe their favourite comic is being used by crooks to send secret messages, they set out to foil the villains by planting false clues. All the children are excellent as are the adult cast especially Jack Warner and the marvellously larger than life Alastair Sim.
The real hero of this romp is London. Again and again,the postwar bomb-ravaged city provides stunning scenery and a great stage for the action. The children move through ruins without a thought for danger building dens that any child would envy. It is as though the filmmakers wanted to capture this London before it inevitably disappeared. It is part of the vanished innocence at the heart of the film.
One can watch this film again and again with pleasure.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Hue and Cry is considered the first of the Ealing comedies, a string of very funny British films put out by Ealing from the late Forties to the mid-Fifties.

Joe (Harry Fowler), a London East End kid, is addicted to a boy's adventure weekly called The Trump. He begins to suspect that a series of burglaries somehow are related to the weekly storyline...that there are hidden messages in the story that tell gang members the place and time of the next store to be hit. Harry convinces the other boys in the neighborhood and they go to the cops. When the police don't believe them, they set out on their own to stop the gang and capture the ringleader. Along the way they find themselves trying to stop a burglary in a department store, getting noticed by Jim Nightingale, a tough greengrocer (Jack Warner), kidnapping a luscious blond secretary who may know more than she lets on, and trying to deal with Felix H. Wilkinson (Alastair Sim), the eccentric writer of the The Trump's storyline, a man with a distaste for small boys. The film's climax is the wonderful Battle of Ballards Wharf, where it seems every kid in London shows up to confront the bad guys.

The film was shot in 1947, most of it on location, and piles of brick and rubble from WWII bombing are much in evidence. Alastair Sim gives a typically batty, funny performance, but the star really is Harry Fowler. He's completely believable as a Cockney kid outraged that crooks would use The Trump for their criminal purposes. This is a funny, good-hearted movie, very much of its time and place.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2005
Hue and Cry (1947) the first Ealing comedy with a cameo by A.S..is a delight made on location in the bomb sites of London, the city and covent garden
so historically fascinating.
like all movies with Alistair Sim it is 'exquisite' to watch..no other word than that for the delight in him and watching over and over again..
a dvd you must have in a collection of brilliant Ealing films.
At last Mr Sim is transferred to dvd..
'Green Man', 'An Inspector Calls' etc.... more please ?:-)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2013
This 1947 film directed by Charles Crichton, with a script by T E B Clarke, is rightly acknowledged as being something of a milestone in British cinema, it being generally considered as the first of the Ealing comedies and whilst, for me, the film is not on a par with its creators' masterpiece 1951's Lavender Hill Mob, it is a pulsating, exuberant and frequently hilarious piece of film-making. It is also one of the most authentic portrayals of youthful adventure and comic-book fantasy, in telling its tale of 'gang' leader Joe Kirby (Harry Fowler), whose interpretation of just such a comic-book tale (in the The Trump) leads to his (and his cohorts) attempts to foil the plans of a criminal gang in post-WW2 London.

Regular Ealing cinematographer Douglas Slocombe has created an evocative black-and-white look for the film, whether this be in the film's depiction of the bombed out buildings, the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden fruit and veg market or the leafy suburbs of Hampstead. In addition, the film's portrayal of the free-roaming children, alternately playing on burnt-out rubble or sitting on the same mimicking the sound of Boche bombing raids further adds to the film's sense of authenticity (and, indeed, youthful anarchy). A young Harry Fowler is particularly good as Joe, whose amateur sleuthing leads him to conclude that a criminal gang is being given secret instructions via The Trump, a theory which is mocked by Jack Lambert's kindly policeman, Detective Inspector Ford. Joe's gang cohorts, whilst inevitably displaying some tendency towards stilted dialogue (well, these are 1940s child actors), are also initially sceptical, until his theory is corroborated by other chance evidence.

There are particularly good acting turns by the great Alastair Sim as The Trump's story writer, the kindly, but eccentric, Felix H Wilkinson ('Oh, how I loathe adventurous boys!'), to whom the boys turn to verify their theories, and from Jack Warner, whose casting against type as cackling, bantering fruit and veg salesman Mr Nightingale, a man with a dark alter ego, is something of a masterstroke. As Joe and gang pursue their ends to uncover the nefarious goings-on there are number of standout scenes, including that in a department store (with the clever use of a 'speak your weight' machine) and that where they apprehend the suspected 'story forger' the defiant Miss Davis (Valerie White) in her Hampstead home, tying her up with telephone wire prior to a planned torture session ('Couldn't we just tickle her?').

As with all Ealing comedies (and, indeed, Ealing films per se), one is left very much with a 'they don't make them like that anymore' feeling, and Hue And Cry's climactic sequence, as boys are summoned from all over London to congregate at Ballard's Wharf in order to apprehend 'the baddies' is both exhilarating and poignant and (for me) is one of the most memorable in any cinema.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2000
Harry Fowler portrays a young man searching for a job. A Boys' Adventure Comic lands at his feet and he becomes interested in the weekly story. His interest is further piqued when some of the details in the story match actual events. Could a real gang somehow be using the magazine to send a code to its members? Very soon he draws others into his belief and together these boys and girls set out to catch the criminals.
A very entertaining film set in post-war Britain, featuring fine performances from its cast both young and old. Whether you're a fan of Alastair Sim (portraying the author of the magazine story), or the Ealing films, or of good British films then this is one to add to your collection.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2005
The review contains no plot spoilers.
A little gem. Although this is pitched as "the first of the Ealing Comedies", there are few outright laughs and it's perhaps better to approach this a thriller made for children. The imagery of British neo-romanticism is strong here: nature & children reclaiming the bomb-sites along the Thames; the sense of "another world" alongside the normal (secret codes, the sewers, children's street culture, the deserted moonlit streets; and the sense that history has been embodied in the landscape of the river and docklands itself). There are also some uncanny & unexplained touches, that serve to express how these children must have been influenced by growing up during the war; one child with an uncanny voice seems to be able to create real wartime sounds many times larger than himself. Or perhaps it's just the echoes in the bombed out buildings; the viewer is left to decide.
Sadly the transfer to DVD is bad, with the first third in particular looking like it's been taken off an old TV dub. The sound is still good, and the ensemble & adult acting convincing enough. The camerawork and cutting in the final scenes with the villain is excellent, although the scene would have been better done at night (but would then have been too scary for the intended audience).
Watch also for the Helen Levitt style chalk drawings around the opening titles. Overall, the film compares well to similar titles such as Carol Reed's 'A Kid for Two Farthings' and J. Lee Thompson's 'Tiger Bay'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hue & Cry is notable for two things. The first is that it's considered the very first of the Ealing Comedies; the second, being made in 1947, is the extensive use of bomb damaged London locations. If you wanted to re-make it these days, you'd have to build a lot of expensive sets!

In truth, it's more of a kids' film than a regular Ealing Comedy. The plot centres around a gang of kids trying to expose & catch criminals who are being given their orders via crime stories in a tuppenny magazine by a shadowy Mr Big, who is tampering with the author's work. Jack Warner, best known as Dixon of Dock Green, gives a surprising performance, and a good one, as Mr Nightingale, and the film jogs amiably along to an entirely predictable conclusion.

It's OK, but no more than that. The only other thing to point out is that this is included in the 16 disc Definitive Ealing Collection, which costs an awful lot less than buying the 16 films individually, so you may well prefer to buy that set, rather than this single film.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2009
"J,Skade's" review (above) is an accurate and articulate review of this film and I agree with every word. I regard this relatively little known early Ealing film as a masterpiece and the post war London landscape is unforgettable. It has a clever story line and wonderful acting with a menacing Jack Warner, a typically delightful Alastair Sim, and a truly wonderful young Harry Fowler. Don't pass this gem by - give it a try.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2011
Whichever DVD you happen to look at - be it an individual copy of this stupendous film, or the one that comes in a box along with 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' and the immortal 'Passport to Pimlico', HUE & CRY is a little masterpiece that deserves to be placed firmly in British Film's Hall of Fame.

Everything about it is well-nigh perfect: the story, T.E.B.Clarke's witty screenplay, the excellent performances from the mainly very young cast, the sheer energy, the sometimes deliciously potty dialogue, and - above all - the backdrop of a post-war London still licking its terrible wounds as it repairs and begins to rebuild itself in the late 1940s.

Director Charles Crichton ('The Lavender Hill Mob', 'A Fish Called Wanda', 'Painted Boats' and the Dirk Bogarde thriller 'Hunted' to name but a few) is a cultural treasure of British film. At its zenith his work breathes Style, Pace, and Individualism, and here we have a fast and furious romp through cheeky-chappy urchins, low-life, fur coats, and the fruit and vegetables of Covent Garden Market.

We are also treated to the utterly glorious Alistair Sim in what must surely be one of his richest, funniest, and campest roles - that of the crime writer unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in the plot to make away with -

But no! The game must not be given away, the plot must not be spoilt. See for yourself, and revel in 90 minutes of pure joy. (Grit your teeth also at the sound of Georges Auric's ghastly and often intrusive music, but this is a very very minor moan. Think of it as a sign of the times: a fashionable exercise in British film to employ a French composer. He surfaces in many Ealing productions, with sound quality that demolishes both his scores and also any listening eardrum.)

Let it be sufficient to say that HUE & CRY is one of those rewards that should make us grateful for Ealing Studios and the many extraordinary talents that flourished before and behind its cameras.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
They simply don't make films like this anymore, and what wonderful actors, Alastair Sim and his young supporters were. Nice to see the old London, too, showing all the damage done by our friends in the EU.
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