Four teenage teddy boys are tried in the Old Bailey, charged with the “murder in the course of theft” of a garage night watchman, a conviction for which carries an automatic death penalty. Although initial evidence from the prosecuting counsel seems damning of the youthful gang, their unorthodox defence lawyer’s skilful arguments soon throw the jury into confusion and disarray.
An innovatively flashback-structured courtroom drama from the kitchen-sink era, starring Richard Todd and Robert Morley as the legal eagles who go head to head. This gripping period piece exploits the media controversy that engulfed capital punishment at that time (it was abolished in 1965), and was one of the first British social melodramas to acknowledge the rise of teenage gangs and the juvenile delinquency resulting from them.
Key plot points revolve around “old” British currency, referred to in the dialogue through slang:
12 pence (pennys) = 1 shilling (s)
20 shillings == 1 pound (£)
farthing = ¼ penny (¼d)
ha’penny = ½ penny (½d)
tuppence = 2 pence (2d)
thrupence = 3 pence (3d)
tanner = 6 pence (6d)
bob = shilling
quid = pound
The word “shilling” was usually omitted from prices in everyday speech, so “one pound two and six”, for example, was £1 2s 6d.