Flame in the Streets

Watch Flame in the Streets

"Emotional Dynamite!"
  • NR
  • 1961
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 6.6  (402)

Flame in the Streets is a 1961 British drama film directed by Roy Ward Baker, starring John Mills, Sylvia Syms, and Brenda de Banzie. The film explores social and racial tensions in 1960's London, focusing on the relationships between working-class white British characters and their immigrant neighbors from the Caribbean. The story follows Jacko Palmer (John Mills), a well-respected union leader and father of five, who lives in a predominantly white neighborhood with his family. However, Jacko's ideologies are challenged when his daughter Kathie (Sylvia Syms) falls in love with Jamaican jazz musician Nigerian-born Charles (Earl Cameron), and he is forced to confront his latent prejudices.

As the union is negotiating a wage increase for their members, Jacko finds himself at crossroads with his fellow workers after he learns that they are planning to strike against the employment of Black immigrants. The simmering tensions come to a head when a neighbor's house is burned down - an act of racism that forces Jacko to take a stand against his colleagues and fight for his beliefs.

Flame in the Streets brilliantly present a series of complex relationships and topics in British society during the late '50s and early '60s, including family dynamics, interracial relationships, prejudice, and unionization. Despite its attempt to render racism obsolete, the movie portrays it as much more than just violent outbursts or menacing undertones associated with the American violence. The film is a contemplative look back on a society that was learning, rather painfully, how to assimilate individuals from the islands and continent into its rigid social structure.

The film is populated with a talented cast, led by John Mills as Jacko Palmer. Mills convincingly plays the role of a hardened, working-class industrial leader turned contemplative and emotionally vulnerable father. Sylvia Syms is also persuasive as Jacko's liberal-minded daughter, who is willing to go against her father's prejudices and embrace love, regardless of race. Earl Cameron's performance as Charles the Jazz musician is notable, adding dignity and quiet nobility to his character.

The cinematography in Flame in the Streets uses documentary-style visuals to provide life to its environment. The London is occasionally gray, which emphasizes the movie's dark undertones, highlighting how the dreariness of their surroundings parallel the themes of bigotry, isolation, and animosity.

Throughout the film, characters deliver memorable lines and speeches, laced with an emotional intensity that showcases their concerns and fears with great power. Instead of peddling hate speech, the movie's dialogue is enriched with empathetic insight, humanizing the characters despite their prejudices.

We witness the painful realization and ultimate path Jacko takes, forced to acknowledge his own embedded stereotypes after seeing his daughter's happiness in her relationship with a black man, at a time when this was seen as sinful. Jacko must come to terms with the fact that liberation means more than a raise in salaries, and that for true change to occur, one must change their perspective too. Flame in the Streets is a deeply moving portrayal of personal growth, human relationships, and an insight into the economic-social conditions that breed discrimination.

In conclusion, Flame in the Street is a significant and interesting film that tackles sensitive and timely issues and remarkably explores different facets of race relations among common working-class people of the era. The film's relevance to today's society is still evident, even though society has changed in many significant ways over the last sixty years. Flame in the Street remains a relevant, thought-provoking study of racial and social inequality that has the power to make audiences reconsider their own preconceptions.

Flame in the Streets is a 1961 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

Flame in the Streets
Where to Watch Flame in the Streets
Flame in the Streets is available to watch free on Plex and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download on demand at FuboTV and The Roku Channel. Some platforms allow you to rent Flame in the Streets for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (402)