UK Premiere: The Weak and the Wicked
The Weak and the Wicked c/o StudioCanal

UK Premiere: The Weak and the Wicked

classified PG

Bristol UNESCO City of Film Connections


Sun 28 July 11:10

Cinema 1, Watershed

J. Lee Thompson
Glynis Johns, Diana Dors, John Gregson
88 mins, 1954, UK
Primary language

One might expect a gritty film noir given the presence of Bristol-born J. Lee Thompson in the director’s seat here and a pulpy title, but The Weak and the Wicked is a realistic and sobering depiction of the lives of a number of British women serving time in prison. The film was based on the autobiographical novel Who Lie in Gaol by Joan Henry, who spent time in prison herself for forgery after getting into gambling debt; she co-wrote the film adaptation with Anne Burnaby and J. Lee Thompson. Thompson and Henry would go on to marry.

The central character is Jean Raymond (Glynis Johns), who most closely resembles Joan Henry having been convicted due to her gambling habit. She arrives first in a miserly, tough traditional prison, but later is moved to a more relaxed open prison, where the focus is on rehabilitation (when such notions were still very new). Around her, are a cast of memorable characters, most particularly the brash, bolshy Betty (Swindon-born Diana Dors in a key early role).

A new 4K restoration c/o StudioCanal presented with Film Noir UK.

The Weak and the Wicked will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Mon 5 Aug as part of StudioCanal’s Vintage Classics Collection.

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With an introduction by writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet.

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