Kick-Back Friday: #203
The return of Kick-Back.
Brighton Rock (1947) and Brighton Rock (2010): A compare-and-contrast exercise of the screen adaptations of Graham Greene’s novel of young love, sociopathy, moral rectitude, and (perhaps) divine intervention. Both film versions suffer from the fact that the casted actors for the teenage leads, Pinkie Brown, a mobster thug, and Rose, a waitress, are much too old—particularly in the 2010 film. Consequently the actors fail to capture and convey the utter rawness of youthful cruelty and the purity of young love. The more recent film also makes a fatal flaw by undermining Greene’s essential underlying conflict between amorality (as embodied by Pinkie, an abstinent Roman Catholic) and secular morality (as embodied by Ida Arnold, a dissolute older woman). But I’ll say no more on this point, other than to note that Greene co-wrote the 1947 screenplay. So important character and plot elements of the novel are more common in the first film, including a vital disinterest that empowers the solid backbone of Ida’s character.
The 1947 movie stars a nearly angelic-looking Richard Attenborough (as Pinkie), and the second film features a surprisingly wizened Helen Mirren (as Ida).
Addendum: A note on the similar endings for both movies (so…spoiler alert).