Sunday, 3 January 2016

Miracle in Soho (1957)

John Gregson and Belinda Lee
You want a miracle? Here you have one: It's a miracle this film ever got made! Written and produced by Emeric Pressburger, you immediately take notice and think "This might be interesting." Don't be fooled. It isn't. Instead, it's a rather pointless little film about a roadworker (John Gregson) with a taste for the ladies, who finds love with a respectable Italian girl (Belinda Lee) while working in Soho.

The film starts well, with a view of a London skyline and a narration that lists the myriad nationalities living in Soho and describing the area as a "foreign island" within London. Expecting this to a visual treat of street scenes filmed on location, the viewer is instead treated to a rather obvious studio set ...

... that immediately undermines any hope that we might be treated to a fascinating historical record of London in the late 1950s. Though the film offers us an idea of the inhabitants of this "foreign island" ...

... it's studio setting undermines any natural charm. Instead we get caricatures of Soho-dwellers and a stock wistful Irishman (a hard-drinking, hard-working, womaniser with no desire to settle down who just happens to love listening to classical music) ...

... as the romantic lead. Plus we are expected to suspend our disbelief sufficiently first to think that Belinda Lee would fall for John Gregson (who was 16 years her senior), and, secondly, to imagine these two as sisters:
Rosalie Crutchley

Belinda Lee
And we also have to endure Ian Bannen attempting to do an Italian accent:

The romance is a little forced, the situation is un-engaging and I, for one, didn't really care about any of the characters.
Here's who else appears:
Barbara Archer

Wilfred Lawson

Cyril Cusack

Billie Whitelaw

It is available on DVD for those who might be interested ...

... but I really can't recommend it.

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