LOWER EAST END
The British director Robert Hamer is best known for his black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, but two years earlier, in 1947, he made It Always Rains on Sunday, a fascinating noirish look at life in London’s East End. The movie, at Film Forum March 7-13, has a mixed background of Jewish and non-Jewish petty criminals, gamblers, and adulterers. “I know all about you and your little shiksas,” a harassed wife says in a startling London accent. On the edge of the marketplaces and arcades lives a lower-middle-class family in which Rose Sandigate (Googie Withers) has taken refuge after a stormy love affair with Tommy Swann (John McCallum), a local gangster. When Swann escapes from prison and shows up, she has to face the possible destruction of the life she’s made for herself. The scenes between Withers and McCallum (who later married) are stunningly erotic, and the movie ends with a spectacular chase through the London streets and rail yards. It was shot by Douglas Slocombe, whose use of lighting deep within the frame may prefigure Robert Krasker’s work in The Third Man.