Brighton Rock

The brilliant author Graham Greene (The Third Man; Our Man in Havana) provides the source novel and screenplay for this Dickensian glimpse into the underbelly of a typical British seaside resort, where sun, sand, and carnivals camouflage another town entirely. In run-down Brighton, the boardwalk is lined with pasty day-trippers and incompetent singing acts, but it's also patrolled by teenage Napoleon Pinkie Brown (Richard Attenborough). Pinkie is looking to make his mark in any way possible, whether literally, with that knife he's constantly twirling, or through murder or, even worse, love, by seducing a naïve teenage girl. With a choirboy's looks and a killer's cold stare, as alien to his fellow gangsters as he is to “civilians,” Attenborough embodies a psychosis matched only by James Cagney in White Heat. “Brighton Rock shows, as clearly as anything ever did, Greene's preoccupation with the allure of sin,” writes Terrence Rafferty; “virtue is uninteresting, and moral weakness, grubby and persistent, is the main attraction.”

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