Film Notes: Tiger Bay (1959) directed by J. Lee Thompson


UK / 105 min / b&w / Independent Artists Dir: J. Lee Thompson Pro: John Hawkesworth Scr: John Hawkesworth & Shelley Smith (pseudonym of Nancy Hermione Bodington), based on a short story Rodolphe et le Revolver by Noël Calef Cine: Eric Cross Mus: Laurie Johnson Cast: John Mills, Horst Buchholz, Hayley Mills, Yvonne Mitchell, Megs Jenkins, Anthony Dawson, George Selway, Shari, George Pastell, Paul Stassino, Marne Maitland Plot Summary: The story follows 12-year-old misfit Gillie (Hayley Mills), a Londoner living with her aunt in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay. Dashing around her tenement block, Gillie inadvertently witnesses Polish sailor Bronik Korchinsky (Buchholz) shoot his girlfriend dead and, without really knowing why, she takes the gun, hides it and lies to the police about what she saw. Desperate to retrieve the weapon, Bronik goes after Gillie and the pair hide out in the hills. As Inspector Graham (John Mills) closes in, Bronik and Gillie establish a tentative but genuine friendship, and she does her best to help him make his escape. (Source: Film4) Release Date: March 1959 (UK) Spanish title: La bahía del tigre IMDb Rating: 7.7

Tiger Bay is a 1959 British crime drama film that was shot mostly on location in the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff, at Newport Transporter Bridge in Newport (12 miles from Cardiff) and at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol. It features many authentic scenes of the children’s street culture and the black street culture of the time, along with many dockside shots and scenes in real pubs and the surrounding countryside. It marks a vital transitional moment in the move towards the British New Wave cinema exemplified a few years later by A Taste of Honey a 1961 film directed by Tony Richardson (Source: Wikipedia)

In a nutshell Tiger Bay ‘touches on issues not often broached in 1950s family film. It’s also an effective, affecting and intelligent thriller that showcases a great performance by Hayley Mills, sensitively directed by Thompson and solidly supported by her father.’ (Source: Film4)

Tiger Bay, 1959 blog post at Noirish.

6 thoughts on “Film Notes: Tiger Bay (1959) directed by J. Lee Thompson

  1. I don’t know why I am surprised that Hayley Mills is in a movie from 1959. I think of her as younger. Sounds like a very interesting movie.

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