Remembering Richard Attenborough: 6 Defining Career Moments
6. Breaking Out (Brighton Rock, 1947)
Brighton Rock was first published as a novel in 1938. Written by Graham Greene, it focuses on the sociopathic Pinkie Brown, who pursues a newspaper reporter responsible for indirectly causing the death of his gang's leader by exposing one of their rackets, becoming involved with a naive waitress named Rose and pursued by an amateur sleuth named Ida Arnold. A theatrical production of the novel began on the West End several years later, in which Richard Attenborough made the role of Pinkie his own and earned a number of plaudits for his portrayal. This led to him being cast as the character in a 1947 film adaptation, despite the fact that his film experience to that point consisted of a few walk-on and minor supporting roles. Directed by John Boulton, the film was the most popular British release of 1947, and its success allowed Attenborough to work consistently as an actor in the years that followed and make his name more widely known across Britain. A remake of the film was released in 2010, starring Sam Riley in the Pinkie role, but it failed to generate much in the way of interest from filmgoers, earning back just a sixth of its budget. The original (as well as the novel) is still considered a classic, however, immortalised not only by its perfect 100% score on RottenTomatoes but also by Attenborough's chilling portrayal of its psychotic lead.