Thursday, March 16, 2023

More notes on children and bombsites in British films

It's time to add a few more notes about children and bombsites in post-war British films.


I watched The Blue Lamp from 1950 again the other week, this time with an eye to any bombsites that might appear.

And there were bombsites: early on we saw a car chase across one. Later on, a small girl is shown playing with a gun there, though it turns out she found it in or by a nearby canal.

The film also makes the bombsite, which is half flooded, look unappealing, and the children we see on it are grubbier than in the other films with this theme.

As the screenplay of The Blue Lamp was by T.E.B. Clarke, who also wrote Hue and Cry and was inclined to be indulgent towards children who played on bombsites, this confirms my judgement that by 1950 the tide was turning against the idea that they might do so.


Another film I need to watch again is Hunted, a superior Dirk Bogarde film from 1952. Jon Whiteley (who did find a gun on a bombsite in The Weapon four years later) is running away from harsh foster parents when, if I call recall rightly, he goes on to a bombsite and stumbles across Bogarde hiding the body of his wife's lover.


If awful things befell adults on bombsites, there was always the chance they would be rescued by a boy out of Hue and Cry.

At least that's what happened to William Franklyn in Pit of Darkness in 1961. You can see the scene above.

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