'The Gelignite Gang' is an undistinguished British b-picture about a fat headed American detective on the trail of a violent and ruthless criminal group. He tracks them down in the end, and they all get nicked, shot or burned alive. I think one falls off something and dies, but I can't quite remember, it's not the most scintillating 70 minutes I've ever spent. Still, I do like shots like this --
and this --
I also liked this. This just means 'The Golden Cock', doesn't it?
The main point of interest for me is the appearance of 'Cosh Boy' himself, James Kenney, the missing link between Kenneth Connor and Jimmy Cagney. Kenney specialised in little shits: ruthless, arrogant, nasty, greedy little bastards who talk big and collapse into heaps under a modicum of pressure. As if to underline his little shittiness, he fixes us early on with an eminently smackable look of defiance.
A half-baked womaniser, petty gambler and thief, his character here is a lowly paid jeweller's assistant who dips into the safe whenever he runs short of cash, which happens a lot. In the course of cashing in a stolen ring he realises that the elderly pawn broker is one of the heads of the infamous 'Gelignite Gang' and, being a cocky, puffed up prick, attempts to blackmail him. What he fails to realise is that these are serious criminals, not posturing poppingjays, and the pawnbroker has no qualms about shooting him dead, but not before the tough kid has chance to shout, beg, scream, cajole, promise and fall completely apart in a craven and brilliantly done show of mortal fear. It's the best bit of the film. And to think he thought that having his arse smacked was the worst thing that could happen to him.
The film also stars Sandra Dorne, a largely forgotten but once semi-popular glamour girl with peroxide hair, architectural underwear and an extravagant taste in collars.
That's it, really. They can't all be epics, can they?