20 September 2019 | boblipton
Jimmy Sangster's movie of the Battle of Stepney -- he also appears as Winston Churchill -- is a deliberately dry affair, shown, in no small part, through the eyes of the girl friend of one of the participants, played by Nicole Berger. Like all real-life events, it was far more complicated and confused than any attempt to portray it in a finite work of art. It is shown as the work of emigre anarchists (a term that in contemporary terms included all violent leftists) trying to finance their movement by robbing a jewelry store by breaking through from a building abutting the premises.
After the battle was done, two of the anarchists' corpses were found in the remains of the building. The official story was that they were all of the people involved on that side, although the movie shows one getting away. The government prosecuted four people; one was convicted, although the verdict was overturned on appeal and he was released after spending two years in prison. Three policemen were killed in the fight, two were wounded, and one fire fighter died in the fire that started during the battle.
Contemporary cameramen caught large parts of the fight, including Churchill, who was Home Secretary, on the site during the fighting. The fight itself was fictionalized in Hitchcock's 1934 version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.
Sangster's movie shows a marked sympathy for anarchists.