Pink String and Sealing Wax (3 stars)

Pink String and Sealing Wax

(PG) 86min (Optimum)


This is the debut feature from Robert Hamer, the talented but troubled (by the bottle) filmmaker who went on to make the superb Kind Hearts and Coronets and terrific School for Scoundrels. Having contributed a segment of the anthology horror film Dead of Night, Ealing Studios gave Hamer his first long-form assignment, an adaptation of Roland Pertwee’s play about a Brighton pharmacist (stern Mervyn Johns) whose son (wet Gordon Jackson) is blackmailed by a drunken publican’s adulterous wife (sultry Googie Withers).

It’s a cautionary tale with both a conservative and a liberal message that says sons should listen to their fathers and fathers shouldn’t stifle their offspring’s growth (otherwise they’ll take to booze and bad women). Sour and sweet in tone, Pink String displays none of the wicked wit and black humour of Hamer’s later films. But it’s a nicely performed and charming little film that speaks for the importance of family in the immediate post-war period. No extras.

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