A while ago I did a Book vs. Movie post on Graham Greene’s famous novel Brighton Rock, comparing it with both adaptations. However, I decided to pay the two films a very close look as well!
Pinky, far to young for the job, is the leader of Brighton gang. When they murder Fred Hale he has his hands full trying to cover everything up. Most of all he needs to take care of Rose, a young waitress who is a witness…
To be honest, I found the 1947 movie completely by surprise. Back in December I was ill and couldn’t sleep. Switching through TV channels at 2 in the morning I found this little gem.
Coincidentally I had only finished the novel two weeks earlier!
Anyway, what we get is a very atmospheric black and white picture with a more than fabulous staff. Richard Attenborough is exactly what I had imaged Pinkie to look like. He captures his essence perfectly. Young and inexperienced, wanting to be taken seriously, to be one of the big players, getting more than he can handle. Furthermore, Carol Marsh is just wonderful as Rose. It’s so easy to believe her in innocence and naivety and more important in her change. Not many actresses could have pulled that role off as convincingly.
I also love the fact that the movie is black and white. Brighton Rock is just the kind of story that needs to be in b/w. It gives the whole thing the perfect gloomy atmosphere. So I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the 1947, actually I was even surprised how good it is!
When it comes to the 2010 movie, I have fewer positive things to say. For some reason the story is set in the 60s. Even if I hadn’t known from the book that it’s supposed to be in the 30s, I could have sensed that something didn’t quite fit. What irritated me most is that the riots in Brighton (Mods vs. Rockers) were somehow incorporated but not addressed. You can see some of the fighting going on, at one point Pinkie even dresses up as one of them, but there is absolutely no context, or any connection to the plot. I do love the 60s style but I just didn’t fit the story at all.
Furthermore, Sam Riley is definitely not the right guy to play Pinkie. Although I love his performances, he is too old to play Pinkie. His ages, his looks and simply the way he moves doesn’t fit the role. You can clearly tell that he’s simply no teenager in over his head. That takes away a very important part of the film.
Well, the rest of the film is rather decent, but for me the mentioned negative points are enough to pull the film down to a mere average crime flick.
While the 1947 movie is fascinating, dark and thrilling, the new version is a rather big letdown. It can in no way compare to the old film, neither in casting nor in atmosphere.
Did you see one of the films? Let me know in the comments what you think!