We Are the Lambeth Boys
British Film Institute • 48m
Directed by Karel Reisz • Documentary • With John Rollason, Thomas Ahearne, Patrick Ahearne • 1959 • 53 minutes
Karel Reisz’s honest and sympathetic depiction of South London teens aimed to challenge the media perception of ‘Teddy Boys’, and would be one of the last films to appear under the Free Cinema banner. One of the key elements of the Free Cinema films was the sympathetic representation of working-class people, something the filmmakers felt was lacking in contemporary British cinema. Here, members of Kennington’s Alford House youth club talk about their lives and interests. By avoiding a strict narrative, We Are the Lambeth Boys gives its subjects space to express their frustrations and aspirations, allowing the youngsters a voice and sensitively capturing the nuances of their daily lives. The film has much in common with Lindsay Anderson's Every Day Except Christmas, which was also produced by Leon Clore, sponsored by Ford Motor Company as part of its ‘Look at Britain’ series, and filmed on 35mm by the usual Free Cinema cinematographer Walter Lassally and editor John Fletcher. We Are the Lambeth Boys is also available on BFI's Free Cinema DVD set, along with the entirety of the Free Cinema films.