(director: Sidney J. Furie; screenwriter: Stuart Douglass; cinematographer: Gerald Gibbs; editor: Jack Slade; music: The Shadows; cast: Richard Todd (Victor Webster), Robert Morley (Montgomery), Dudley Sutton (Stan Coulter), Felix Aylmer (Judge), Ronald Lacey (Billy Herne), Tony Garnett (Ginger Thompson), Jess Conrad (Barney Lee), Patrick Magee (Mr. Lee), Allan Cuthbertson (Randolph St John) Wilfrid Brambell (Robert Brewer), Roy Kinnear (Charles Salmon), Carol White (Evelyn May); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sidney J. Furie; Gala Film Distributors (Columbia Pictures); 1962-UK-B&W)

An overlooked British social-conscience drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An overlooked British social-conscience drama ably directed by the Canadian filmmaker Sidney J. Furie (“The Ipcress File”/”The Leatherboys”/”The Naked Runner”) and finely written by Stuart Douglass.

Four London working class teens, referred to as Teddy Boys, are charged with the theft and murder of an elderly night watchman (Wilfrid Brambell) at a garage. During the trial, the events of the incident are depicted in flashback. Richard Todd is the prosecuting attorney. The brilliant defense attorney is Robert Morley. The judge is Felix Aylmer. The accused are Dudley Sutton, Jess Conrad, Richard Lacey and Tony Garnett. Though the evidence, at first, seems cut and dry against them, things become muddled by the time the defense lawyer chips away at the adult witnesses a during cross-examination.

The unfairness of capital punishment in Britain, especially to the underprivileged, is the film’s liberal theme. It depicts the period as the rise of youth gangs, an increase in the generation gap and an explosion in violent crime.