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There Was a Crooked Man (1960)

Norman Wisdom plays little Davy Cooper, walking the streets and penniless after leaving the Army until he catches up with Flash Dan (Timothy Bateson) – an old pal from his military days – and is taken up by a gang of crooks led by Adolf Carter (Alfred Marks).

They offer the innocent youngster some “demolition work” on a safe, having learned that he is an explosives expert (he used to be a Commando) and an expert lock-picker. He agrees to blow it up for them but during the robbery, Davy is the only one caught and he ends up serving five years in prison.

Upon his release, he gets a job in a mill in a (fictional) town called Sleath (the scenes were actually filmed in Darwen, Lancashire) but finds the boss, Mr McKillop (Andrew Cruickshank) is crooked so brings in some of his old underworld colleagues to save the town from ruin.

They arrive in the town dressed as high-ranking American military officers with a story about Sleath being the ideal site for a rocket base. In the process, a great deal of the town is blown up and the kindly US government – believing it was in some way responsible and in the interests of Anglo-American relations – builds a new Sleath and Davy, naturally, is a hero.

Davy Cooper
Norman Wisdom
Adolf Carter
Alfred Marks
McKillop
Andrew Cruickshank
Station Master
Reginald Beckwith
Ellen
Susannah York
Freda
Jean Clarke
Flash Dan
Timothy Bateson
Taxi Driver
Fred Griffiths
Hospital Sister
Ann Heffernan
Nurse
Rosalind Knight
Dutchman
Reed De Rouen
Ashton
Brian Oulton
Prison Warden
Percy Herbert

Director
Stuart Burge