Review: ‘The Bells Go Down’

Like Fires Were Started this film depicts the activities of life in the London Auxiliary Fire Service. But the first one out was more legitimate in that it was portrayed by actual members of the service.

Like Fires Were Started this film depicts the activities of life in the London Auxiliary Fire Service. But the first one out was more legitimate in that it was portrayed by actual members of the service.

Viewed as a mere low comedy, The Bells Go Down [from the book by Stephen Black] ambles along amiably. There is a running commentary patterned on the lines of those made familiar by Quentin Reynolds, and the fire scenes alternate with the wisecracking of Tommy Trinder, which are often without provocation. Thrillingly effective conflagration scenes deserve a large share of the honors.

Trinder enacts a lovable East Side young man whose mother runs a fish-and-chip shop, and who owns a racing greyhound that never wins until his comrades have gone broke backing the pooch.

The supporting cast is very well chosen, with Mervyn Johns offering a scintillating portrayal. James Mason, as a fireman, scores as usual; Beatrice Varley, as Trinder’s mother, and fully a score of others can be set down as efficient support. Direction, production and photography are praiseworthy.

The Bells Go Down

UK

Production

Ealing. Director Basil Dearden; Producer Michael Balcon; Screenplay Roger MacDougall; Camera Ernest Palmer; Editor Sidney Cole, Mary Habberfield; Music Roy Douglas; Art Director Michael Relph

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Tommy Trinder James Mason Mervyn Johns Philippa Hiatt Finlay Currie Beatrice Varley
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