An escaped convict tries to hide out at his former lover's house but she has since married and is far from keen on the idea.
It Always Rains on Sunday is a classic look at the life of the working class residents in a corner of post-war London. Its combination of drear boredom and criminal intrigue make it a multi-tonal portrait of the times. Rose (Googie Withers) is a Bethnal Green housewife living with her older husband, his two grown-up daughters and their son. Sunday is not a treasured day for them, despite the leisure it brings – in a drab home full of stymied people, a day of being shut indoors together creates itchiness and ennui. The streets outside are little better – full of rain, petty criminals and thronging crowds.
Newspaper reports detailing the hunt for escaped smash-and grab-thief Tommy Swann (John McCallum) invigorate Rose’s day – years before her present situation, Swann romanced her, committing the crime that convicted him in a bid to make enough money to marry her. Rose relives her boredom through meditating about their time together, before daydreams of Tommy take an unexpected twist towards reality as the day progresses.
The featurettes that accompany this release are what make this edition a little bit special; the film industry fans consulted offer context to how the film stood out from its peers in 1947 (when big screen stars tended to stick to plummy accents, and films shrunk at showing even married couples in bed) and why it holds enduring value as an artistic social document. The quick nip round various locations shown in the film also holds interest, especially for those expecting to see Bethnal Green street signs.
Though this classic Ealing drama may be rather slow going for a modern audience, there’s a humanist understanding of those struggling along in uncelebrated roles in lowly circumstances that deserves respect. As people lower down the ladder could confirm even today, life in a downturn isn’t all romantic struggle; sometimes it’s a slow, scraping drudge. It Always Rains on Sunday was a (hugely popular) forerunner of the strong British filmmaking tradition of speaking up for the working classes, and it’s a mission that could do with reappraisal in the industry today.