Monday, 15 June 2009

The Best Of British: THE BOYS 1962

THE BOYS
directed by Sidney J. Furie
screenplay by Stuart Douglass

Starring:
Richard Todd as Victor Webster (for the prosecution)
Robert Morley as Montgomery (for the defence)
Jess Conrad as Barney Lee
Dudley Sutton as Stan Coulter
Ronald Lacey as Billy Herne
Tony Garnett as Ginger Thompson
Felix Aylmer as The Judge
along with a host of familiar British actors and actresses like Wilfred Bramble and Carol White.

When I was writing about 'Two Left Feet' it dawned on me that there were a number of British movies from the 60s and the kitchen sink era that hardly get a mention these days - nor do they come out on DVD either.
THE BOYS is one of those movies that should be available to a wider audience and the reason why is contained in the storyline.
Four boys - Lee, Coulter, Herne and Thompson are all friends who live on the same London housing estate. It is Friday and pay day so they go up town for a night out and a bit of fun. Result they wind up appearing at the Old Bailey charged with the murder of a night watchmen during a robbery at a garage.
Did they do it?
Well, if you listen to the prosecution's witnesses - then, yes, they did. But after hearing the evidence of the boys themselves then doubts set in.
Most of the film is played out in flashbacks so that you see the story unfold and that is where the tension mounts and the viewer finds themself in the position of a juror.
There are several underlying themes contained in this film.
There is the growth of the generation gap whereby the principal prosecution witnesses, although truthful, cannot help but see the four boys as uncontrolable yobs - a frequent word in this film.
But are they?
As a continuation of this theme is the rise in teenage gangs and juvenile delinquentsy in this pre-Beatle era.
Add to the mix the question of hanging as a punishment for juveniles - an arguement that had been raging in real life after the unjust hanging of Derek Bentley a few years earlier.
In my humble opinion 'The Boys' was a milestone movie and should be better known. So it was a good job that John Burke wrote the novelisation of the movie and kept, faithfully, to the script.
The film may be not available on DVD but it can be seen online.
Look out for an unexpected and uncreditted appearance by a certain Ian Fleming - yes, the James Bond creator.
And the film score is written and played by The Shadows.

3 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Never heard of it but love that genre. Will look it up.

Ray said...

Patti - the film can be found on line I believe.

ARCHAVIST said...

i want to see this one.