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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

No Trees In The Street (1959)

Set in the slums of pre-war London, a young boy (Melvyn Hayes) is encouraged by his mother (Joan Miller) to work for a local racketeer (Herbert Lom) who preys on the families in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, his older sister (Sylvia Syms) is ready to move out and leave the squalor but the racketeer has eyes for her. Based on the play by Ted Willis (who adapted his play for the screen) and directed by J. Lee Thompson (GUNS OF NAVARONE) when he was still doing intimate British "kitchen sink" dramas instead of big budget Hollywood movies. It's one of those "forgive the baby faced killer, he had a bad childhood" kind of movies. In spite of being preachy in certain spots, overall it's an effective piece of social propaganda. What the screenplay lacks is made up for by the quality of the acting especially Syms as the sister trying to stay true to her ideals and Lom as a former slum street kid who transformed himself into a respected "businessman" but still a thug. There's a nice jazzy underscore by Laurie Johnson. With David Hemmings, Stanley Holloway and Ronald Howard.     

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