February 26, 2017


I Believe in You – 1952 | 95 mins | Drama | B&W

Plot Synopsis

I Believe in You

I Believe in You, is a slice of life look at the workings of the probation service, with Basil Dearden directing a screenplay he wrote with Michael Relph and Jack Whittingham from a story by Sewell Stokes. Cecil Parker plays Phipps, a middle-aged recruit to the service, a retired colonial civil servant looking for a new and worthwhile occupation. Understanding nothing of his clients’ backgrounds, he is at first bewildered, but gradually, with the aid of a dedicated woman officer (Celia Johnson), becomes more humane.

The subplot centres on two charges, Hooker (Harry Fowler) and Norma (Joan Collins), who fall in love and wish to marry but are forbidden by their probation officers, with the result that the youth goes back to his old gang to get money and independence from a robbery. The paternalistic Phipps, now thoroughly alive to his responsibilities, intervenes in the theft; expecting to be asked to resign, he is delighted to find that not only does Hooker get out of a jail sentence, but promotion awaits him. The usual quaint characters flit through the drama – the old lady who suspects that the neighbours are poisoning her cat, the deb who periodically gets smashed and ends up in the police cell, the fierce magistrate with an unexpectedly soft heart, the cheerful police sergeant. One performance that really stands out in the picture is that of a seventeen-year-old Joan Collins who projects a powerful aura of confident sexuality far in excess of what would have been intended at Ealing Green.

Raymond Durgnat perceptively points to her presence as a symbol of the sub-culture from which the film is insulated. What is clearly, if unintentionally, shown is the us-and-them attitude of British society, which draws its authority figures from professional and upper middle-class ranks whose members have no inkling of how the other half lives. One is left with the feeling that Phipps, a decent, kindly and compassionate man, will nevertheless remain firmly in his corner, isolated from the gritty realities of working-class life. The film reinforces the patronising view taken by so many British films, which can only see the world through the eyes of the middle-aged middle class.

ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.

Production Team

Basil Dearden: Director
Maurice Carter: Art Direction
Gordon Dines: Cinematography
Peter Tanner: Editing
Ernest Irving: Music
Michael Relph: Producer
Michael Relph: Script
Basil Dearden: Script
Jack Whittingham: Script


Cecil Parker: Henry Phipps
Celia Johnson: Matty
Harry Fowler: Hooker
Joan Collins: Norma
George Relph: Mr Dove
Godfrey Tearle: Mr Pyke
Ernest Jay: Mr Quayle
Laurence Harvey: Jordie
Ursula Howells: Hon Ursula
Katie Johnson: Miss Macklin
Ada Reeve: Mrs Crockett
Brenda De Banzie: Mrs Hooker
Sid James: Sgt Brodie

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