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  1. #1
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    I wonder if any of you read The Guardian's list of 1000 films to see before you die. Unexpectedly, one of the films listed is Ken Hughes' The Small World of Sammy Lee. When this was first released it had an X certificate and I was too young to get in. I've never managed to catch up with it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK kelp's Avatar
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    Anthony Newley was quite a big name at the time having just come off a good run on Tv with "The World Of Gurney Slade" Remember that quirky theme anyone????

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England wideboy's Avatar
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    Opens with a long tracking shot up a deserted early morning Berwick Street, seemingly unchanged since 1962. A tour of Soho streets presents all too brief views of the legendary 3 I�s and Heaven and Hell coffee bars, and then small-time entertainer and currently strip club compere Sammy Lee (Anthony Newley) emerges into the cold light of day � and the surely symbolic early morning rubbish collection. He�s lost at poker to a Soho big shot and has till evening to find the �300 he owes him, pursued by sixties cinema�s favourite heavy, Kenneth J. Warren, and his hot headed young sidekick Johnny (Clive Colin Bowler).



    Lee�s efforts are hampered by the necessity of turning up on the hour, every hour, to host the historical tableaux of (nearly) naked girls at Robert Stephens�s authentically seedy strip club. The punters only want to see the girls, not hear his jokes, provoking increasing contempt from Sammy as his life disintegrates (a viewer at the BFI screening pointed out the similarity between Lee�s cynicism and Archie Rice in The Entertainer).



    Trying anything he can think of to make a buck � whisky, watches, or in almost the only excursion out of Soho, a quick cab to Whitechapel to try to borrow the money from his grocer brother, (Warren Mitchell), but thwarted by the unexpected arrival of his sister-in-law, Milly (Miriam Karlin, for once allowed to look attractive). A powerful scene of disappointment and unfulfilled desires, given extra depth by strong playing and the authentic Jewishness of the actors, and for me the best scene in the film, though oddly also one which could have easily been excised in what is a long (107 minutes) and sometimes slowly paced film.



    The main attraction here is the Soho atmosphere provided by director Ken Hughes, a long-time habitu� of London�s den of vice. Sammy Lee�s small world is effectively conveyed by regular scenes of Lee dashing ever more desperately through the Soho streets from club to apartment to any possible source of money as time runs out. His only comfort is the unexpected appearance at the club of Patsy (Julia Foster) , a young runaway he�d previously met while on tour in the north. Now in London looking for a job and a friend, Patsy is unaware of the true reality of Sammy�s existence. Foster, a most touching actress, brings her customary warmth and emotional depth to the part, as well as an unaccustomed sensuality � to say more would spoil the plot.



    Memorable supporting players include Wilfred Brambell as Sammy�s much put-upon gofer; the wonderful Toni Palmer as the tart with the heart of gold, and aficionados of Alfred Burke will not be disappointed�



    But this is Newley�s film � as Julia Foster commented after the screening, this part fits him like a glove � the desperation, the obsessive perfectionism, the need for love from an audience. He�s never been a favourite of mine, but no one could have played this part better.



    A plaintive jazz score by Kenny Graham, and wonderful b&w photography by Wolfgang Suschitzky complete the credits. All this � and a love scene in Victoria coach station! What more could fans of 60s Soho films want? Which makes it a shame it isn�t available � and no-one at the BFI screening knew why.

  4. #4
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    The bit that I never understood was the ending.



    As I recall he decided to make a run for it and ended up being caught at the railway station, where the heavies gave him a kicking.



    How did they know which station to watch?

  5. #5
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    Not been too well last few days so manged to drag myself out of bed while my wife was at the sales.



    Watched the above movie that I managed to track down (thanks Kev ) and it could be my all time fave b/w white movie about London in the 60s, excellent acting by Newley as a small time hustler who works in a sleazy Soho strip joint, his debt is mounting by the day and he must keep one step ahead of a villianous Kenneth J Warren who is sent by a bookie to get money or get a healthy beating.



    Vivid location scenes and a script that zips along make this one of the best films I've seen, Newley was a very talented performer who left GB for fame and fortune in the States and was wasted by UK film makers imho.



    Don't know why this is not on proper DVD by now as it's one of the best Brit films from the golden era.




  6. #6
    Senior Member dpgmel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingbman
    Not been too well last few days so manged to drag myself out of bed while my wife was at the sales.



    Watched the above movie that I managed to track down (thanks Kev ) and it could be my all time fave b/w white movie about London in the 60s, excellent acting by Newley as a small time hustler who works in a sleazy Soho strip joint, his debt is mounting by the day and he must keep one step ahead of a villianous Kenneth J Warren who is sent by a bookie to get money or get a healthy beating.



    Vivid location scenes and a script that zips along make this one of the best films I've seen, Newley was a very talented performer who left GB for fame and fortune in the States and was wasted by UK film makers imho.



    Don't know why this is not on proper DVD by now as it's one of the best Brit films from the golden era.





    Yep this is a very under rated little gem and IMHO AN has never been better



    The Anthony Newley Appreciation Society have being trying to get a legit release of this for some time now but currently sadly to no avail, still never give up hope.

  7. #7
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    Agreed, an excellent film and an outstanding performance by Newley.

    Last TX was on Bravo circa 1995.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    It showed at The South Bank earlier in the year and I was hoping that might lead to a kosher release, but no luck yet.

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