When veteran London policeman George Dixon (Jack Warner) is shot trying to arrest a couple of crooks, new recruit PC Andy Mitchell (Jimmy Hanley) takes up the case with a vengeance.
Produced by Michael Balcon and scripted by TEB Clarke – a former policeman who penned Ealing comedies such as Passport to Pimlico (1949) and The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) – this classic film yet again revealed the influence of the documentary on postwar British cinema, with its realistic depiction of the austere times that pushed some people into crime.
Jimmy Hanley is a touch lightweight as the police colleague of genial Jack Warner whose local bobby character went on to star in BBC TV’s long-running series Dixon of Dock Green.
But the rest of director Basil Dearden’s cast are outstanding, particularly a pre-stardom Dirk Bogarde as Tom Riley, the petty crook whose confrontation with Warner produced one of the most memorable – and shocking – scenes in British film history.
PC George Dixon
PC Andy Mitchell
Betty Ann Lewis