“Why not tell them — the whole thing? Nobody on our street will blame you; they say she gave our place a bad name.”
A young orphan named Gillie (Hayley Mills) befriends a Polish sailor (Horst Buchholz) who has just killed his faithless girlfriend (Yvonne Mitchell), and tries her best to prevent him from being captured by determined police Superintendent Graham (John Mills).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- John Mills Films
12-year-old Hayley Mills made a stunning screen debut in this atmospheric, intelligent thriller about cross-generational friendship and loyalty. Mills’ part was originally meant for a boy, but her bob haircut and tomboyish manner make her entirely suitable for the role — which, given Gillie’s propensity for unrepentant lying and stealing, is about as far removed from Mills’ ensuing Pollyanna image as one could imagine. Indeed, part of what makes Tiger Bay so fascinating is the way in which it presents eminently real, flawed characters and allows us to sympathize with them — while we know that Buchholz must be caught and punished for his actions, for instance, we can entirely relate to both his and Gillie’s desire to run away and live freely at sea. Although the story itself occasionally defies belief (particularly by the end), the special friendship that emerges between Gillie and Buchholz — refreshingly free of any sexual overtones — makes this unusual film well worth watching.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Hayley Mills as Gillie
- Horst Buchholz as Korchinsky
- John Mills as Superintendent Graham
- Megs Jenkins as Gillie’s aunt
- Effective use of Cardiff locales and locals
- Atmospheric b&w cinematography
- A highly affecting story of cross-generational friendship
Yes, simply for Mills’ stand-out performance. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)