Pool of London (PG) | Home Ents Review
Dir. Basil Dearden, 1951, UK, 85 mins
Cast: Earl Cameron, Susan Shaw, Bonar Colleano, Renée Asherson
A cracking restoration of a wonderfully atmospheric insight into London life at the dawn of the 1950s, this Ealing noir is an absolute must see.
Dan (Colleano) and Johnny (Cameron) are two merchant sailors whose ship has just docked in the Pool of London, right by Tower Bridge. As they head off to enjoy the delights of Borough and South London, Dan has more more on his mind that catching up with an old flame. He’s been approached by a shady character who wants him to stash stolen diamonds aboard the boat when it moves on to Rotterdam.
Meanwhile, Johnny, a black Jamaican, meets and falls for Pat (Shaw) who works at a music hall. Their interracial relationship is fraught, and not just because of the morals of the times; for Johnny is slowly being sucked into Dan’s dangerous scheme.
The performances are all pitch perfect and resolute, the edgy pacing and editing never stops the docklands noir mood from flowing free. This is a nice heist film, a daring tale of interracial love and an engaging look at the London of yesteryear – the quantity of location shooting will leave you excitedly guessing where the characters are in relation to a now very different city.
Review by Colin Dibben
Pool of London is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD & EST, fully restored in 2K.