My Brother's Keeper (1948 film)
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My Brother's Keeper

Credits

Directed by         Alfred Roome
Produced by         Sydney Box
Written by         Frank Harvey
Starring         Jack Warner
                      George Cole
Music by         Clifton Parker
Cinematography         Gordon Lang
Edited by         Esmond Seal
Production
company
       
Gainsborough Pictures
Release date
       9 August 1948
Running time
       96 min.
Country         United Kingdom
Language         English
Budget         £113,600
Box office         £93,600 (by Dec 1949)

My Brother's Keeper is a 1948 British crime film in the form of a
convicts-on-the-run chase thriller, directed by Alfred Roome for
Gainsborough Pictures. It was the first of only two films directed by
Roome (the other being the following year's comedy It's Not Cricket)
during a long career as a film editor. The film stars Jack Warner and
George Cole and was produced by Sydney Box.



Plot

Handcuffed together, George Martin (Jack Warner) and Willie Stannard
(George Cole) are two newly convicted criminals being transported to
prison. Martin is a hardened, cynical career criminal, while Stannard is a
naïve, rather dull-witted youth who has never previously been in trouble
with the law, maintains his innocence of the rape for which he has been
convicted and is terrified by the prospect of prison. During the journey
the pair manage to escape. Martin steals an army corporal's uniform and
passes Stannard off as a deserter in his charge, being returned to face a
military tribunal.

The escape location has been chosen by Martin for its proximity to a
garage run by his mistress Nora Lawrence (Jane Hylton), who provides
the pair with overnight shelter. The following day Martin and Stannard
take refuge in a derelict isolated cottage. While trying to file their
handcuffs apart they are surprised by a hunting man with a gun. A
struggle ensues, during which Martin strikes and kills the man. Shortly
thereafter they manage to separate the handcuffs and Martin abandons
Stannard, going on the run alone while Stannard gives himself up and is
promptly charged with murder.

Martin manages to contact his wife in London, asking if she can find a
way to get money to him. She arranges to travel by taxi to the woods in
which he is hiding. Just as she arrives, the police have tracked Martin
down and have him cornered. Rather than give himself up, Martin makes
a final doomed attempt to escape through a signed minefield, watched by
police, reporters, his wife and mistress and a crowd of sensation-seeking
gawkers.
Cast


   Jack Warner as George Martin
   Jane Hylton as Nora Lawrence
   David Tomlinson as Ronnie Waring
   Bill Owen as Syd Evans
   George Cole as Willie Stannard
   Yvonne Owen as Meg Waring
   Raymond Lovell as Bill Wainwright
   Brenda Bruce as Winnie Foreman
   Susan Shaw as Beryl
   Beatrice Varley as Jenny Martin
   Garry Marsh as Brewster
   Maurice Denham as Superintendent Trent
   Frederick Piper as Gordon
   Wilfrid Hyde-White as Harding
   John Boxer as Police Sergeant Bert Foreman
   Amy Veness as Mrs. Gully
   Fred Groves as Crown Hotel landlord
   Arthur Hambling as Edward Hodges
   Valentine Dyall as Inspector at Milton Wells
   George Merritt as Constable at Milton Wells
   Jack Raine as Chief Constable Col. Heatherly
   Ben Williams as Policeman at Nora's Garage
   Christopher Lee as Second Constable

Production

The film was originally known as Double Pursuit. It was produced by
Sydney Box who had just taken over as head of production at
Gainsborough Studios and was keen to develop new talent. The film was
based on a story by journalist Maurice Wiltshire, his first for the movies;
it was the first screenplay for Frank Harvey, first credit as full producer
for Anthony Yarnborough, first film for Alfred Roome, first film for the
editor and cinematographer, and first starring role for George Cole. It
was shot in 45 days, nine ahead of schedule and £20,000 under budget.
Several who worked on the film were rewarded with long term contracts
at Gainsborough.[2]
Reception

My Brother's Keeper is a well-regarded film, with a reputation as a tight,
tense and fast-moving thriller with Roome's previous editing experience
being well utilised. The characterisation of the two main protagonists is
praised for going deeper than the stereotypes of the tough, reckless
criminal and the dim, hapless innocent. Via the 1950 film The Blue
Lamp, and Dixon of Dock Green, the TV series developed from it which
ran until the mid-1970s, Warner became forever engrained on the British
consciousness as George "Evenin' all" Dixon, the avuncular upholder of
law and order. My Brother's Keeper is often cited as an example of the
dramatic range of which Warner was capable, before he became
typecast. Cole's performance too is credited as one of the factors in his
unusually smooth transition from child star to adult actor. The film's
main weakness is cited as the interpolation of a pseudo-comic and largely
irrelevant subplot involving a newspaper reporter trying to cover the story
while on honeymoon in the area.
Box Office

The film recorded a loss of £9,400.[1]
Location filming
My Brother's Keeper's exterior location sequences were filmed in the
Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire border area, including scenes shot at the
now abandoned Aston Rowant railway station.
My Brother's Keeper
   All men are born brothers and  anything that hurt my brother hurts me.
   If my brother commits a crime then I am a criminal; if he sings, then there
is music in my heart.
   Before you have dealings with any man, ask yourself: 'Am I my     
brother's keeper?'
    The answer is 'Yes'
                                       (Henry Hassett Browne)