Friday Night Movie Number 42 – Tiger Bay

An excellent if unusual film for this week’s offering as Friday Night Movie. ‘Tiger Bay’ is a movie made in 1959 and stars Sir John Mills, Hayley Mills and Horst Buchholtz. It is set in the multiracial port area of Cardiff’s Tiger Bay and revolves around Gillie Jenkins a tomboyish teller of tall tales played by Hayley Mills. Living in the same shared house is the fiance of a Polish sailor Bronislaus Korchinski who returns home from a long sea voyage only to find that his fiance has engaged in an affair with a married radio sports commentator and no longer wants to marry Korchinski.

An argument ensues between Korchinski and his former fiance, which spirals into a physical struggle during which Korchinski grabs his former partner’s handgun and shoots her dead. The killing is witnessed by Gillie and she sees where Korchinski hides the gun and retrieves it in order to play cowboys and indians with.

Korchinski realises that Gillie has not only seen the killing but has in her possession the weapon used. Korchinski confronts Gillie and although Gillie is initially frightened of Korchinski the pair form a bond of friendship. Gillie attempts to shield Korchinski from the police and this movie tells of the unlikely friendship between the fugitive and the tomboy.

It is a fabulous film and in my opinion is a hidden gem from Britain’s film industry of the 1950’s. It is incredibly well-lit and well photographed and was produced by John Hawkesworth who later found fame as the producer of the long running ITV drama series Upstairs Downstairs. I originally thought that Beaconsfield studios who made this film was on the site of the new M40 motorway services but I’ve been corrected on this.

This is Hayley Mills’s first screen role and she easily steals the show even when put together with talented older actors and actresses.

I loved this film and I hope you enjoy it too.

2 Comments on "Friday Night Movie Number 42 – Tiger Bay"

  1. Terrific film, wayward geography:
    Beaconsfield Studios has been used for decades, and still is, by the National Film School. Part of the site has been sold and redeveloped for housing in recent years but it is all some distance from the M40 and probably about a mile from the services.

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