Adapted from Graham Green’s 1939 novel, which became one of the most successful British noir titles when a twenty-something Richard Attenborough starred in the first film version in 1947, Brighton Rock has been imagined once again, this time in 1960s mods and rockers’ era Brighton.
The 2011 adaptation, which premieres at Brighton’s Duke of York’s Picturehouse on 26 January, stars Sam Riley (Control) and Andrea Riseborough (Made in Dagenham) as gangster Pinkie and the vulnerable waitress Rose he seduces into silence after she stumbles upon evidence linking him to a revenge killing.
Having established that there was nothing in the book to link it to the year (1939) in which it was set, the film’s screenwriters and director felt that Pinkie’s intent to overthrow the organised order of older gangsters fitted well with the youth-fired social change that the 1960s bore witness to.
The 1960s also saw the death penalty abolished in Britain and gangsters such as the notorious Kray Twins begin to enjoy celebrity status.
While the film is set in Brighton, much of it is filmed in Eastbourne, which location scouts felt has retained the look of a more authentic 1960s seaside resort. However, the Lanes and other Brighton locations are easily recognisable in the chase scenes, as they were in the original film.
With perfect period outfits such as the dusky pink babydoll Rose wears with white tights and Mary Janes for the bedroom scene and the mass of sharp mod suits that descend upon the seafront, we’re looking forward to the stunning visuals of this film as much as the dark drama.
Book tickets to see the film here.
Fans of the original Brighton Rock can also take a guided tour of locations used in the film and those that are thought to have inspired the book, hosted by local guide Julian Clapp. See www.brightoncitywalks.com for more details.
Words: Jo-ann Fortune