Although the play Cosh Boy never made it to Broadway, probably too British in its subject matter, the original actor who played the lead on the London stage got to recreate his role for the screen. In the tradition of Richard Attenborough in Brighton Rock, James Kenney is mesmerizing and unforgettable as the dirty little punk who with his gang robs little old ladies of their monies. If anything Kenney is far more loathsome than Attenborough, not even a hint of surface charm. In fact the hardest part of the film to take seriously is having young Joan Collins surrender herself and her virginity to this creep. Still his love 'em and leave 'em attitude is just one more reason to hate this kid. I've seen very few leading villains so lacking in any redeeming qualities. Possibly Lee Marvin in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one. For those of us Yanks for who the film was retitled The Slasher for release by Lippert Pictures here, a Cosh is a kind of truncheon used to whack someone into unconsciousness or beat them severely. That's what he and his gang use. He's the bane of the existence of his poor mother Betty Ann Davies who agonizes over what she did wrong in raising him. She has a new man in her life, American Robert Ayres playing a Canadian, who thinks the kid just needed a good attitude adjustment that was never given him by a father who is not in the picture. In the end Kenney has to account for all his many sins. Besides a very young Joan Collins viewers should take note of the two Hermiones in the film, Hermione Baddely as the mother of Collins who wants to Cosh the Cosh Boy after she finds out what Kenney has done and Hermione Gingold playing a not disguised at all prostitute who is a friend of the Davies/Kenney family. It's a poor section of London these folks live in with evidence all around of the recent war. Kenney's gang hides out in the bombed out buildings still not repaired by 1953. Cosh Boy is still quite a riveting piece of film making and Kenney is unforgettably evil.
Crime / Drama
Crime / Drama
The life of a juvenile delinquent is threatened by his own incessant desire for trouble.
January 12, 2021