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DCA Archive

Hue and Cry

Charles Crichton

Hue and Cry was among the first British comedies after the war, and is generally considered the first of what are now remembered as the 'Ealing comedies'.  The story of a group of East End kids who foil a gang of robbers who are using a children's comic to communicate their plans, the film borrows something of its premise from the popular children's story Emil and the Detectives (first filmed in Germany in 1931).  

While the story has an appealing Boy's Own quality, perhaps the film's most distinctive feature is its use of bombed-out locations in London's East End and Docklands. These rubble-strewn sites become the background for one grand boy's adventure (the children include only one girl - who is just about tolerated by the others), culminating in the film's best known image, in which hundreds of boys from all over London converge on a handful of unfortunate petty criminals. In keeping with Ealing's tendency in the last years of the war to foster inclusive images of British society, the children are mostly working-class, and include a young Scottish boy, Alec.

Apart from a memorable cameo from Alastair Sim as The Trump's eccentric author, the rest of the major parts are taken by the children, led by Harry Fowler as Joe, the fantasist whose daydreams become real.

Don't forget to book your tickets for our free family workshop before the film!

This screening has been chosen to coincide with the current exhibition in our galleries, DCA Thomson, where six artists have taken inspiration from the archives of DC Thomson to create responses in their own style.