It is always interesting to surmise what was happening in the world when you were a very small child. This intriguing black and white film from 1947, Hue and Cry has some of the answers. It is set in the feral landscapes of bombed out London. However, the spirit and humour of the kids captures some of the trauma of the recent blitz but much more the youngsters resilience. The following clip shows a little of what I mean.
I found this DvD in one of my local charity shops and was intrigued by the fact that the plot revolves around a children’s comic called The Trump. The blurb on the reverse also mentioned that it was the first of the famous Ealing Comedies and there were fascinating shots of post-war London’s exterior locations. In fact as I watched the film it in some parts reminded me of seeing the recent gang wars of Sondheim’s West Side Story as filmed by Spielberg. Indeed some of the visual tropes or tricks were similar too. This second clip gives details about the locations of the film and how they look today.
Passing beyond the psychogeography of “Hue and Cry” I also thought there was a sort of undertext. The working class children with their naïve and energetic enthusiasm overcome the sharks and spivs in their criminal activities. Very much the product of those heroic times when the Atlee government brought so much to recovery. There was something democratic if somewhat frenetic here which vividly contrasts with life here today. The hectic has become frenetic in a Governent of the Posh Boys and what used to be known in Lambeth as Wide Boys.
To finish on a more upbeat note; this film has amusing glimpses of life in the old Covent Garden Market. It is worth watching for that alone. However, the acting of Lambeth born Harry Fowler, Jack Warner and especially Alastair Sim is superb. Talking of markets let me conclude with these lines from Charlotte Mew’s Saturday Market.