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Tiger Bay PG rating

A young girl witnesses a murder, befriending the killer and shielding him from the police.

Police drama 1959 113 mins

Director: J. Lee Thompson


Beautifully shot and genuinely involving, Tiger Bay is a flare that signals the impending 1960s. Things were changing. Director J. Lee Thompson shaped a serious child character, devious and maybe even dislikeable were it not for Hayley Mills' skill and charisma. The script was reworked after her casting, and the interplay with Horst Bucholtz is multi-layered and convincing

Tiger Bay comes from a time when filmmakers were part of a wider sense of idealism and there was a pervading belief that films could change society. British audiences had seen this template before – in Hunted or The Yellow Balloon (also directed by Thompson) – but never with such defiance. Its progressive attitude embraces feminism and what Monthly Film Bulletin applauded as 'a firm feeling for outcasts and foreigners, their solidity and their background.' Exquisite photography brings Cardiff to life, hinting at a city that mixes the Dickensian with something more daringly forward-facing. Prime Minister Harold McMillan screened the film for a visiting President Eisenhower upon release. His thoughts went unrecorded.