Pink String and Sealing Wax
Pink String and Sealing Wax – 1945 | 89 mins | Drama | B&W
Robert Hamer directed this melodramatic view of Brighton in the 1890′s, Pink String and Sealing Wax may be a whimsical title but the subject matter certainly isn’t, adapted by Hamer himself and Diana Morgan from a play by Roland Pertwee. Mervyn Johns plays a chemist and public analyst, an autocratic father who holds his children in close restraint. His son (Gordon Jackson), whose romantic attempts are thwarted by his father, rebels and seeks solace in a local public house, where he becomes besotted by the landlord’s wife (Googie Withers). She uses the young man in a plot to kill off her husband, obtaining the poison from the chemist’s shop. When the public analyst is asked by the suspicious police to inspect the exhumed body, the woman tries to blackmail him by threatening to implicate his son.
He refuses to be diverted from his stern path of duty, and the woman throws herself into the sea, allowing a sort of happy ending, for the son is at last allowed by his father to pursue his original romantic intentions. The pacing of the film led to a very slow build-up, with a lot of attention paid to a sub-plot in which, just as the son is frustrated by his father, so the daughter is faced with impossible difficulties in attempting a singing career. The publican’s wife, for all her flirtatiousness and open sensuality, is as much a prisoner of her situation as the young man; her passions are kept in restraint by a dreary husband, and her actions arise from a desperate last attempt to escape rather than from cold, calculated wickedness. The film, like much of Hamer’s work, is elegantly conceived, with the starch and bombazine of the era faithfully reproduced, and Googie Withers is excellent, drawing considerable sympathy to the part of a murderess.
ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.
Robert Hamer: Director
Duncan Sutherland: Art Direction
SC Balcon: Associate Producer
Harold Julius: Camera Operator
Richard Pavey: Cinematography
Bianca Mocsa: Costume Design
Michael Truman: Editing
Ernest Taylor: Make-up Artist
Norman Demuth: Music
Ernest Irving: Musical Direction
Michael Balcon: Producer
Hal Mason: Production Supervisor
Diana Morgan: Script
Robert Hamer: Script
AE Rudolph: Sound Recordist
Eric Williams: Sound Supervisor
Marion Horn: Wardrobe Supervisor