Cosh Boy (1953) Movie Review

Cosh Boy (1953)   3/53/53/53/53/5

James Kenney and Joan Collins in Cosh Boy (1953)

The Tale of Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh (James Kenney - Ambush in Leopard Street) lost his father during the war leaving his widowed mum, Elsie (Betty Ann Davies - The History of Mr. Polly), to bring him up on her own, not an easy task when what he really needs is the firm hand and guidance of a father. After Roy and his friend Alfie (Ian Whittaker) end up in court after they attacked and robbed a little old lady they find themselves put on a year's probation which also includes attending a youth group in order to keep them off the streets. But Roy has no intention of keeping his nose clean as he continues to lead his gang on a series of increasingly violent robberies. The question is whether he can curb his bad boy ways when it comes to Rene (Joan Collins - These Old Broads).

Before "Cosh Boy" starts there is some intro text which basically says that the following movie has been made to highlight how children need proper parenting or they can end up as delinquents on the road to a life of crime and prison. As such what follows is a movie which pretty much focuses on young Roy Walsh who is a bully and a thug who isn't even adverse to bullying his own widowed mum and attacking the bloke she is dating whilst thinking he is the boss who can do what he likes. Basically "Cosh Boy" is a look at the teen stage of a criminal before he graduates to a life of crime, almost like a look at one of the Krays as a teenager.

The thing is that "Cosh Boy" has a style and script which wants to imitate American movies. What that means is that Roy ends up of those characters who is surprisingly adept with not only stringing sentences together but at times seems to be on the cusp of saying "you dirty rat" and as such it doesn't ring completely true even if it is entertaining. What is clear is that James Kenney does a brilliant job of playing young Roy and he seems completely at home playing the teen thug and bully. In fact watching this you wonder why Kenney's career didn't really take off like others because in this he has the same power as a young Richard Attenborough, bringing the same level of menace to the roll to make Roy Walsh a memorable character.

What this all boils down to is that "Cosh Boy" is far from being perfect with it trying too hard at times to sound like its American counterparts. But it is worth watching for the intense and menacing performance of James Kenny as Roy Walsh as the longer the movie goes on the more dangerous and out of control you feel he becomes.