No Trees In The Street

1958, Movie, NR, 96 mins

Review

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Lom plays a petty thief who controls a London slum area in 1938. Miller is a mother who wants her children to better themselves than she and to escape from the slums. She talks her son, Hayes, into working for Lom in the hope that the neighborhood hero will be their ticket out. Miller tries to get her daughter, Syms, romantically interested in Lom as well, but the girl will have nothing to do with him. When she tries to leave home on her own, Miller gets the girl drunk. She takes her inebriated daughter to Lom, who seduces the luckless Syms. Afterwards, he humiliates her in front of an old lover. Meanwhile Hayes has committed murder, and he returns home to his mother and sister. Syms kills her brother, rather than let him be hanged, and then confronts the man who brought the family such horror. Left alone, Miller has little left to do but scream in the streets. NO TREES suffers from artificiality of plot and dialog. Characterizations are reduced to mere stereotypes in standard situations. Occasionally the proceedings are so unbelievable that the tone shifts from drama to an unintended self-parody. There are some notable exceptions within the drama, however. Syms is surprisingly moving, giving a sensitive performance despite the film's constraints. Holloway's characterization of a bookie's tout is comical and charming, not unlike that of the role he created a few years later in the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady." The camerawork attempts a realistic documentary look, which manages to succeed in capturing the details of slum life that make the setting seem surprisingly naturalistic. The finer points of the film, however, are overshadowed by its faults. leave a comment

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