Dir: Basil Dearden
Starring: Earl Cameron and Susan Shaw
The crew members of a merchant ship are given shore leave and soon become involved in smuggling and petty crime in post-war London
This Ealing noir crime film is ground breaking for a number of reasons. It was Earl Cameron’s first film appearance; the first time a black actor had a major role in British film, and is notable today for portraying the first interracial relationship in a British film. The Pool of London is a stretch of the River Thames from London Bridge to below Limehouse which was home to the wharves of the original Port of London. There are some excellent shots of London trams in their final full year of operation, including E1 trams No’s 573 and 599 working route No.70 on Tooley Street near London Bridge. The BR station just creeps into view high up on the edge of some shots and in one of these a steam-hauled service can be seen, but the tender loco is not identifiable. There is a scene filmed on the muddy banks of the River Thames beneath the old Great Eastern Railway Ferry Pier in North Woolwich, and in another scene at the junction of Stoney Street, Bedale Street and Green Dragon Court in Southwark, an ex-SR ‘Schools’ V Class 4-4-0 is passing over the railway arch on a train, running tender first. There is also a shot of cyclists passing Blackfriars railway bridge and the entrance to Blackfriars Underground station is visible. Finally, towards the end of the film Bonar Colleano leaves his hiding place in a Thames barge and struggles to shore. He walks through a barren industrial site which is home to a narrow-gauge railway. Stone tippler wagons are on view along with a pair of industrial saddle tanks. One is in very light steam at the head of a short train of tipplers, but the other appears to be out of use on a wharf, alongside a couple of cranes. The site of this scene is open to some speculation and although several sources suggest that it could be a cement works in the Gravesend area, it may have been filmed in and around Rainham Creek.