Watch Hue and Cry
- 1 hr 25 min
In the wake of World War II, British cinema experienced a surge in popularity, with audiences hungry for uplifting stories that would help them forget the grim realities of the recent past. One film that exemplifies this trend is Hue and Cry, a charming and whimsical crime caper that delivers plenty of fun and excitement alongside a healthy dose of nostalgia for pre-war London.
The plot centers around a group of young boys who stumble upon a gang of criminals using a comic book as a code for their robberies. Led by the plucky Joe Kirby (played by Harry Fowler), the boys set out to solve the mystery and bring the criminals to justice, with the help of a bumbling but lovable detective played by Alastair Sim.
Sim, who was best known for his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic adaptation of A Christmas Carol, is a delight as the befuddled Detective Inspector "Tubby" Thompson. He brings a sense of warmth and humor to the role, making it clear that he's in on the joke even as he struggles to keep up with the hyperactive young boys.
The rest of the cast is equally engaging, with Frederick Piper as the menacing villain Mr. Crow and Jack Warner as a lovable shopkeeper who provides the boys with the information they need to crack the case. But it's really the boy actors who steal the show, with their boundless energy, natural charisma, and adorable East End accents.
Director Charles Crichton, who would go on to direct the classic heist film The Lavender Hill Mob, brings a lively and inventive style to the film, using clever camera angles and snappy editing to keep the pace moving briskly throughout. The climactic chase sequence through the streets of London is a particular standout, with the boys racing through alleyways, up fire escapes, and across rooftops in pursuit of the criminals.
What really sets Hue and Cry apart from other films of its era, however, is its use of comic books as a central plot device. This was a bold move at a time when comic books were still considered a relatively lowbrow form of entertainment. But Crichton and screenwriters T.E.B. Clarke and Robert Hamer recognized the appeal of comics to young audiences, and cleverly integrated them into the story in a way that would appeal to both kids and adults.
The comic book motif permeates every aspect of the film, from the colorful lettering in the opening credits to the stylized way certain scenes are shot. The boys themselves are often framed in close-up as they read their comics, with panels from the books appearing on screen to illustrate their adventures. Even Tubby Thompson gets in on the act, using a comic book as a guide to help him track down the criminals.
Despite its lighthearted tone, Hue and Cry also manages to touch on some deeper themes. The film is set in a post-war London that is still recovering from the devastation of the Blitz, and there are several poignant moments that acknowledge the trauma and loss that the city has endured. At the same time, however, the film celebrates the resilience and resourcefulness of its young protagonists, who refuse to be cowed by the challenges they face.
Overall, Hue and Cry is a delightful and entertaining film that still holds up well today, nearly 75 years after its release. Its combination of action, humor, and heart make it a perfect family film, and its nostalgia for a bygone era of British culture will appeal to audiences of all ages.
Hue and Cry is a 1946 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.