Liverpool in the 1930s. Seven-year-old Liam (Borrows) lives in a working class Irish Catholic neighbourhood, with an older brother and sister, devout mam (Hackett) and hard working dad (Ian Hart). But the Depression is beginning to kick, and work on the docks becomes scarce. The once proud breadwinner becomes embittered as he's forced to beg for a day's work. He blames his bosses first, then the Church, and finally he falls in with the Black Shirts and blames the Jews. Meanwhile Liam's suffering spiritual torment in religious instruction as he prepares to take his First Communion. McGovern's tub-thumping and angry humour is potent enough, and the film forces a kind of grim compassion for its painfully misdirected anti-hero. Hart doggedly refuses to soften this man, and that in itself commands respect. But the movie (made for BBC TV) goes straight where you'd expect, and the running gag involving Borrows' saucer-eyed urchin soon wears thin. (From the book The Back Crack Boy by Joseph McKeown.) TCh.
Cast and crew