The London Collection

15/06/2009
  |  Buy to Own: 15/06/2009
  |  444 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

This collection brings together six films, all produced in and showing various locations in post-war London and covering a range of themes from blackmail in a bombed out slum in the East End to dockside smuggling and robbery. In 'Pool of London' (1951) a group of sailors, including Dan MacDonald (Bonar Colleano), a charmer who dabbles in smuggling and Johnny Lambert (Earl Cameron), a quiet and reserved Jamaican, arrive in London. Along the way MacDonald finds himself seriously set up by a gang of diamond smugglers and Johnny falls in love with a white girl. The film is noted as being the first British picture to deal with interracial relationships in the post-Windrush years. In 'The Small World of Sammy Lee' (1963), small time criminal and strip joint compere Sammy (Anthony Newley) has five hours to come up with the money he owes to a group of gangsters. Set in the back streets of Soho, the film follows Sammy trying to come up with a scheme to make some fast cash. 'The Yellow Balloon' (1953) is a tense tale of a young boy, Frankie (Andrew Ray), who is used and deceived by a crook. While playing in a bombed part of their neighbourhood, Frankie's friend falls to his death. When Frankie climbs down to help him he finds Len (William Sylvester) who is in hiding after committing a murder while robbing a pub. Len blackmails Frankie into helping him evade capture, but when he feels Frankie knows too much he sets about trying to get rid of him. In 'The London Nobody Knows' (1967), James Mason narrates as the viewer is taken on a tour round a side of London the tourists don't see. Documenting the street vendors and local characters, and giving a fascinating glimpse of a culture soon to disappear, the film contrasts starkly with the 'swinging sixties' vision of London at the time. In the short musical 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize' (1969), a young man falls in love with a fashion model after seeing her photograph. Most of the film involves following the characters, on bicycle, around the Hampstead area of London, to the accompaniment of a musical soundtrack. In the comedy/drama 'Sparrows Can't Sing' (1963) Charlie (James Booth) returns home from sea to the East End of London expecting to come home to his wife Maggie (Barbara Windsor), but soon finds the house is gone and she has moved in with a married bus driver and has a child. Charlie quickly sets about trying to sort things out while neighbours eagerly watch the ensuing chaos.