The Swann which Withers a Rose
When you think of movies which came out of the Ealing Studios it would be fair to say most people are likely to think of their comedies. But Ealing studios made more than just memorable comedies, they did amongst other things crime dramas and "It Always Rains on Sunday" is one of their most interesting. I say it is interesting because in effect "It Always Rains on Sunday" is two movies in one with a main storyline about an escape convict being aided by his former girlfriend who is now married. But interweaving with this storyline is a secondary movie which looks at life in post-war London where the scars of the bombing still show themselves and people live in each others pockets.
It's just another typical rainy Sunday for London housewife Rose Sandigate (Googie Withers), she has her two step daughters to deal with whilst making sure husband George (Edward Chapman - School for Scoundrels) is cared for whilst also cooking Sunday lunch. But it becomes very untypical when she finds former boyfriend Tommy Swann (John McCallum) hiding in her Anderson shelter having escaped from prison. Still with deep feelings for Tommy, Rose decides to help him out, giving him food and allowing him to rest up keeping him a secret from the rest of her family, but with the police and the press hot on his trail it's only a matter of time before they start asking questions.
So as already mentioned "It Always Rains on Sunday" has the feeling of being part crime drama and part look at post-war London and both sides are strong. The main part is very much about Rose Sandigate helping her one time love and now escaped convict Tommy Swann after she discovers him hiding in her Anderson's shelter. Now what she does as in feed him and let him rest up whilst she dries his clothes is not what is interesting but how having her one time exciting love suddenly show up especially when her life now, married to a middle age man and with step children is dreary, affects her. And as such you watch as she is excited to see the man she still loves and cares for, bringing excitement into her boring life leaving her a dilemma of whether she should risk everything for Tommy or stay with the secure life she knows. There is more to it than just this and there are a couple of powerful and surprising twists which paint a very bleak picture of Rose's situation as she assists Tommy.
But that is just one side of "It Always Rains on Sunday" as interweaved into this drama we have a look at life in post-war London. We see how small time gangsters try and shift stolen goods whilst a Spiv wheels and deals his way to what ever he wants. There are also married men having affairs, the community spirit of the market, people living in each others pockets as well as the visual scars left by the bombings. As such not only does "It Always Rains on Sunday" serve up entertainment from the drama of Rose aiding Tommy but also paints an effective picture of life in post-war London and the various characters you would meet.
At the centre of "It Always Rains on Sunday" there is Googie Withers as Rose Sandigate who not only delivers the authenticity of a London housewife, making ends meets and repairing things but also the conflict of having her true love return. You can really sense the battle she is having with herself when it comes to following her heart of head. And to be honest whilst there are equally good performances from the likes of Susan Shaw, Sydney Tafler, John Slater and Jack Warner it is Googie who really stands out.
What this all boils down to is that "It Always Rains on Sunday" is a fascinating movie from the Ealing Studios. Not only does it deliver an entertaining and bleak crime drama but paints an authentic picture of life in post-war London, which adds something extra when watching it now.