Graham Greene's novel about two-bit hoods in the shabby seaside town of Brighton gets a sharp, noirish production (1947) from the Boulting brothers (producer Roy and director John, best known for comedies like I'm All Right Jack). Young Richard Attenborough steals the movie as Pinkie, a 17-year-old gangster with ice water in his veins, who stalks and kills a trembling squealer, then conspires to cover his tracks by romancing a gullible, love-starved waitress. The Catholic themes that Greene developed so artfully in later novels tend to stick out like a sore thumb in both the book Brighton Rock and this adaptation, which he scripted with playwright Terence Rattigan. But by this point Greene was already a master of intrigue, and the cat's cradle Pinkie plays with in idle moments becomes an apt metaphor for the fate closing in on him.
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