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DVD review

It Always Rains On Sunday

added: 12 Nov 2012 // release date: 12 Nov 2012
certificate: Cert PG // director: Robert Hamer
studio: Studiocanal // film length 87min
reviewer: Claudia A

It-Always-Rains-On-Sunday Printable version
This re-mastered 1947 Ealing Studios classic – for once not a comedy – has steadily grown in stature as one of the earliest and best examples of gritty British thrillers.

The film is a realistic drama set in the rain-drenched streets of a post-WW2 East End one Sunday.

Googie Withers gives one of the best performances of her career as Rose Sandigate, a disillusioned former barmaid who is now a Bethnal Green housewife stuck in a dull marriage with husband George (Edward Chapman). Bitter about the dreary environment she lives in, and jealous of the burgeoning social life of one of her stepdaughters, her world is turned upside down when escaped convict and murderer Tommy Swann (Googie’s real-life husband John McCallum) turns up at her place. On the run from the police, he asks his former flame for help. Rose still has feelings for the dashing criminal and agrees to first hide him in a disused air raid shelter, and later on in a spare bedroom upstairs.

However, hiding Tommy in the upstairs room is easier said than done due to the usual domestic routine unfolding around them. Sunday lunch needs to be prepared, the kids are all over the place, and Rose’s husband makes demands (as does Tommy). On top of it, nosey neighbours won’t mind their own business, and a police inspector turns up – warning Rose that Tommy has escaped and that he might try to contact her…

The strain becomes more and more intolerable as the day goes on, and Rose finds it increasingly difficult to hide her growing anxiety over the whole situation. Meanwhile, a crafty newspaper reporter learns about the former romantic involvement between Tommy and Rose and, having found out her address, turns up at the house to indicate he knows of Tommy’s hideout. Panic-stricken and hysteric, Rose tries to shake off the intruding reporter but Tommy knocks him down, then he flees the scene while Rose tries to kill herself. Soon after, the police close in on Tommy, ensuing in a dramatic and action-packed chase along the railway yards of Stratford.

Based on the novel by Arthur La Bern (the original author of Hitchcock’s ‘Frenzy’) and directed by Robert Hamer (‘Kind Hearts’ and ‘Coronets’), It Always Rains On Sunday is a multi-layered portrait of life in a bleak, post-war East End. Scenes of bustling markets, seedy boarding houses, petty criminals flogging their ill-gotten gains and slum-like housing are interspersed with scenes of hopeful teenagers escaping this dreary existence at Saturday night dance halls.

To coincide with the BFI Southbank’s Ealing retrospective, this classic Brit-thriller will be screened on October 26th.

It is also available as a brand new special edition DVD and first ever Blu-ray, with bonus material including ‘Coming In From The Rain’ featurette, locations featurette, original trailer as Behind The Scenes stills gallery.

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