Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938 and later adapted for film in 1947 and 2010. The novel is a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton. The title refers to a confectionery traditionally sold at seaside resorts, which in the novel is used as a metaphor for the personality of Pinkie, which is the same all the way through. There are links between this novel and Greene's earlier novel A Gun for Sale (1936), because Raven's murder of the gang boss Kite, mentioned in A Gun For Sale, allows Pinkie to take over his gang and thus sets the events of Brighton Rock in motion.
Charles "Fred" Hale comes to Brighton on assignment to distribute cards anonymously for a newspaper competition (a variant of "Lobby Lud"; in this case, the name of the person to be spotted is "Kolley Kibber"). The antihero of the novel, Pinkie Brown, is a teenage sociopath and up-and-coming gangster. Hale had betrayed the former leader of the gang Pinkie now controls, by writing an article in the Daily Messenger about a slot machine racket for which the gang was responsible. Ida Arnold, a plump, kind-hearted and decent woman, is drawn into the action by a chance meeting with the terrified Hale after he has been threatened by Pinkie's gang. After being chased through the streets and lanes of Brighton, Hale accidentally meets Ida again on the Palace Pier, but eventually Pinkie murders Hale. Pinkie's subsequent attempts to cover his tracks and remove evidence of Hale's Brighton visit lead to a chain of fresh crimes and to Pinkie's ill-fated marriage to a waitress called Rose, who unknowingly has the power to destroy his alibi. Ida decides to pursue Pinkie relentlessly, because she believes it is the right thing to do, as well as to protect Rose from the deeply disturbed boy she has married.
Although ostensibly an underworld thriller, the book also deals with Roman Catholic doctrine concerning the nature of sin and the basis of morality. Pinkie and Rose are Catholics, as was Greene, and their beliefs are contrasted with Ida's strong but non-religious moral sensibility. Greene alludes significantly to the French Catholic writer Charles Péguy in Brighton Rock, in relation to ideas about damnation and mercy, and in The Lawless Roads he refers to "Péguy challenging God in the cause of the damned".
Eric Linden starred as Pinky in an original production at the Catholic University of America Theatre in Washington, D.C. written by Walter Kerr and Leo Brady. The show was directed by Kerr and Dr. Josephine McGarry Callan and ran from February 4 to February 10, 1942. The Library of Congress has a theatre program from the production.
Richard Attenborough and Dulcie Gray starred in the original theatrical production, which ran for 100 performances at the Garrick Theatre in 1943. (There had been one-week try-outs at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool and Bristol Hippodrome). Gray's performance as the luckless waitress Rose led to her being offered a contract with Gainsborough Pictures. However, she was passed over for the role of Rose in the 1947 film version of Brighton Rock, in favour of Carol Marsh.
Greene and Terence Rattigan wrote the screenplay for a 1947 film adaptation, produced and directed by John and Roy Boulting, with assistant director Gerald Mitchell. The film starred Richard Attenborough as Pinkie, Carol Marsh as Rose, William Hartnell as Dallow, and Hermione Baddeley as Ida. The climax of the film takes place at the Palace Pier; this differs from the novel, the end of which takes place in the nearby town of Peacehaven. In the United States, the film was released under the title Young Scarface.
Film composer John Barry and lyricist Don Black wrote a musical version based on Greene's novel. The show opened in London's Almeida Theatre on 20 September and ran until 13 October 2004. However, owing to poor reviews, it failed to get a West End transfer.
Rowan Joffé directed a film adaptation which was released in 2010, starring Sam Riley as Pinkie, Andrea Riseborough as Rose and Helen Mirren as Ida Arnold. Location filming for the Pier scenes took place in Eastbourne in October 2009, with Eastbourne Pier standing for Brighton's Palace Pier. Filming of the scenes involving the Regency Café took place in Page Street, Westminster, on 6 December 2009. In a chronological departure from Greene's novel, set in the 1930s, the film is set in the Mods and Rockers subculture of a divided Brighton in the 1960s. The film was featured at the 54th London Film Festival in October 2010, in the coveted surprise film slot.
Brighton Rock may refer to:
Brighton Rock (novel), a 1938 novel by Graham Greene
Brighton Rock (1947 film), a 1947 film based on the novel, directed by John Boulting
Brighton Rock (musical), a 2004 musical by John Barry and Don Black, based on the novel
Brighton Rock (2010 film), a 2010 film also based on the novel
Brighton Rock (band), a Canadian glam metal band
Brighton Rock (EP), a 1985 EP by Brighton Rock
"Brighton Rock" (song), a 1974 song by Queen on the album Sheer Heart Attack
Rock (confectionery), a candy often referred to by its place of origin, for instance "Blackpool rock" or "Brighton rock"