Brighton Rock Unseen
Serendipity. So here am I undertaking a little running challenge this month and, having spent 10 years setting up and running [excuse the pun] grassroots art galleries and organisations in the East End of London, curating, making, etc etc, I find myself still on dozens of different mailing lists.
Today this info popped into my mailbox:
As part of Cine-city, Brighton Rock Unseen is a series of stills from a key scene in Brighton’s cinematic history: Fred Hale’s run to the Palace Pier in the 1947 film Brighton Rock. Shot by Harry Waxman using hidden cameras, the real and fictional collide as Brightonians are captured going about their business as Fred runs for his life through the city. These still images from the classic 1947 film noir, place the bystanders centre stage, revealing hidden details behind one of the country’s best loved crime thrillers, the film that put Brighton on the movie map.
I’ve always loved movie chase scenes [in all their different guises] from the sewer chase of The Third Man to the rooftop pursuit [actually a maguffin] of Vertigo to Bullitt‘s car chase to Live and Let Die‘s speedboat chase to the unrelenting pursuit of the eponymous Terminator to the snowmobile chase in Die Hard II to the Parkour Chase of Casino Royale. Often however one feels they are there just because the film-makers’ bible says “30 minutes in, time for a chase scene”. Even more dire is the Hollywood ‘one-upmanship’ evident in many chases; you chase with cars, I’ll chase with trucks or helicopters or jumbo jets or … whereas the most thrilling chase scene is a simple, well executed, intelligent foot-chase [though I’ve always questioned the trope of chasees automatically running ‘up’ whilst trying to escape their chasers; up tall buildings, up mountains, up radio antenna].
Afterall a great foot chase scene has a low-fi kinetic energy that is universal; we’ve all had to run, so when watching Jason Bourne legging it through the narrow streets of Morocco our legs tingle with memory because the sense of running is deeply carved into our psych.
What I really love about the Brighton Rock ‘chase’ scene is that only the protagonist is ever seen running [arguably the only chaser is the soundtrack?] and the very British [1940’s British that is] carrying of his coat over his arm, even though he is running for his life! An altogether very genteel kind of chase given the ‘brutality’ of this noir masterpiece based on the Graham Greene novel.