Blu-ray Review: It Always Rains on Sunday [Special Edition] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, July 4th, 2020  

It Always Rains on Sunday [Special Edition]

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Nov 19, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s been four years since barmaid Rose (Googie Withers) had a torrid love affair with the handsome Tommy Swann (John McCallum), a patron at the pub who swept her off her feet while keeping his livelihood a mystery to her. Days before they intended to elope, Tommy is arrested in a smash-and-grab, and is handed down a long prison sentence. Heartbroken, the jilted Rose eventually married the good-natured George Sandigate, a widower fifteen years her senior with three mostly-grown children. She holds little love for the man, but is grateful he provides for her.

On a cold, rainy Sunday in 1947, Tommy Swann escapes from prison. The target of a front-page police manhunt, Tommy hides out in his ex-lover’s garden shed. Surprised by his sudden appearance, Rose provides him with food and a warm room in which to hide until nightfall. As she desperately scrambles to conceal his presence from the police and her husband, the flames of their old romance are reignited.

Tense and grimy, It Always Rains on Sunday has grown in prominence over the decades; once little more than a lesser-known Ealing, it’s become of the best-regarded British noirs of all time. The thick atmosphere not only derives from the time of day – you’ll feel the cold and wetness just from watching It Always Rains – but from the post-War, blue collar setting. This is a world where shopkeepers moonlight as criminals and jazz saxophonists, and where petty burglars share tips with police investigators over pints of Guinness. Beyond Rose’s poor husband, there’s not a single character in this movie who seems happy with their lot in life – they’re begrudgingly contented, at best. Rose herself is a miserable character, mean to her stepchildren and clearly married out of convenience. Yet, in the hands of Withers and director Robert Hamer (Kind Hearts and Coronets), she feels surprisingly sympathetic. It Always Rains on Sunday builds to a climax that’s low on dialogue but overflows with nail biting action and some wonderfully dark, shadowy cinematography.

Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray edition of the film notably includes a new commentary by the ever-reliable and informative noir scholar, Imogen Sara Smith, as well as an appreciation of the film by historians and filmmakers who count themselves among its fans. Highly recommended.



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