Let Him Have It


Crime / Drama / History

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 3476

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
January 03, 2022 at 02:11 AM



Ronald Fraser as Niven's Judge
Walter Sparrow as Nightwatchman
Tom Bell as Fairfax
Edward Hardwicke as Approved School Principal
1.03 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rmax304823 7 / 10

Thoughtful Docudrama.

Christopher Eccleston is Derek Bentley, a marginally retarded, epileptic, working-class British kid growing up in the 1940s. He's been in trouble with the authorities for much of his life. By the age of nineteen, he's more or less a member of a teen-age gang, though his father, Tom Courtenay in a solid role, and the rest of his family try to protect him from the adolescent impulses of the gang's world.

They're not benign impulses either. Britain was a nation of shopkeepers, as someone said, and there are lots of shops around to be burglarized and robbed. The gang members imitate in their dress and style the villains of the films noir they're seeing on the screen. (One imagines Tommy Udo as prima inter pares.) They dress in suits and ties, black overcoats, and black fedoras. They may carry knives and brass knuckles, and sometimes one or two of them may carry a pistol, giving them an advantage of sorts over the unarmed police.

Eccleston and his Jungian shadow, a young kid played by Paul Reynolds, are interrupted during a burglary. The police officer who intrudes manages to clap his hands on the pliant Eccleston and put him under arrest before Reynold whips out his pistol and wounds the officer in the shoulder. A horde of cops descend upon the rooftop scene because, London not being Newark, all those noisy gunshots are disturbing the public. Reynold manages, perhaps half accidentally, to shoot a constable through the forehead. Then he jumps off the roof and is captured.

That shoot out is interesting. Paul Reynolds does a fine job of projecting the exhilaration a feral kid can feel when his reptilian brain is unleashed, shooting wildly in the air, pinging bullets off his surroundings. The adrenalin rush doesn't last long but while it does, you're the monarch of all you survey. You -- how do the firing range cadre put it? -- you "command your environment." Through all this brouhaha Eccleston has been behaving like the dumb but essentially harmless kid he is. When the first officer on the scene tells Reynold to give up the gun, Eccleston shouts, "Let him have it," meaning give him the gun. When the officer is shot and helpless, Eccleston doesn't try to escape.

At the trial, that shout -- "Let him have it!" -- is interpreted by the jury as meaning, "Shoot him!" Reynolds, only sixteen years old, is given an indeterminate sentence. Eccleston, nineteen, is sentenced to hang despite the jury's verdict of "guilty but with a recommendation of mercy." It's a true story. The trial generated not just publicity but outrage at the sentence imposed on Eccleston. He was hanged apace, but the obvious miscarriage challenged the mortmain of the death penalty and led to Britain's joining the rest of the Western societies in banning capital punishment.

The film is "thoughtful" and made for adults. Eccleston is no hero. He's a disturbed and stupid kid who hangs out with people in his neighborhood, as all kids do, only these kids are kind of malignant.

I'll give an example of how this movie could have gone irretrievably wrong. It could have followed the model already established, and imitated many times, and given us an extremely detailed description of the preparation of the inmate for execution. See "Ted Bundy" for a beacon of meretriciousness. Instead, there are a few relevant scenes of Eccleston in the slams, mostly discussing his appeal with his family. The execution itself is over with in two minutes. No long parade to the gallows led by a pastor reading from the Bible. No lugubrious climbing of thirteen steps. No inquiry from the warden about any last words. No last words.

Reviewed by Theo Robertson 6 / 10

Despite The Do-Gooder Agenda A Searing Example Of Injustice


Forget the examples of " Innocent " Irishman from republican ghettoes who just happened to be visiting England during IRA bombing campaigns during the mid 1970s and being " falsely accussed of crimes they didn`t commit " . The most glaring example of injustice is the case of Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig . Bentley and Craig were caught breaking into a warehouse in the 1950s . 19 year old Bentley was arrested by the police on the scene . Minutes later 16 year old Craig shot a policeman dead . Guess who the state hung for the murder of the cop ? That`s right the 19 year old who was already in police custody and had nothing to do with the shooting

I repeat this is the greatest injustice ever carried out by an English court , a great wrong that can never be put right was carried out . However I do have a problem with LET HIM HAVE IT and that is in the portrayal of Christopher Craig . Poor Christopher , poor poor Christopher who shot a policeman was really a victim of the system . He grew up in poverty , he was surrounded by criminals , guns were easy to access , all those Hollywood movies put ideas into young Christopher`s head and tradgedy of tragedies Christopher`s big brother was arrested by the old bill and sentenced to a long prison term . Poor unfortunate Christopher , what chance did he have in life ? or at least that`s what the film seems to be trying to tell us . It also insinuates that he actually shot the policeman ( Whose name I`ve forgotten - You do get the impression only Bentley and Craig are the victims here ) by accident . And there`s an incident that goes against all the other accounts I`ve read on the case - The scene where Craig " falls " off the roof . I`ve read elsewhere from several sources that Craig shouted " Give my love to < His girlfriend > " and jumped . Instead we see a revenge filled Fairfax growling at Craig with the heavy hint that the criminal was thrown off the roof by the detective .

There`s one other thing that bothered me about the events in this account . There`s a lot of sympathy for both Bentley and Craig ( perhaps too much sympathy for the latter ) so why did the film show the most controversial aspect of that fateful night ? This is where Bentley screams " Let him have it Chris " , hence the title . Over the years Craig is on record as saying that Bentley had said no such thing and that the police had lied and despite what he`d done in the past there`s absolutely no motive whatsoever for Craig to keep up this pretence . It`s almost certain the police at the trial lied under oath by saying Bentley somehow encouraged Craig . Of course in those days lawyers , judges and most especially juries believed what the police would tell them and it`s strange that a film with cynical 1990s sensibilities seems to take what the police said on that night as gospel truth . In many ways it jars with the bleeding heart attitude that makes up the rest of the film .

Flaws aside I`ll give the film its due . The director has picked a very good cast with Brit vets Tom Courtenay and Tom Bell adding experience to the two newbie stars of the film : Paul Reynolds who unfortunately seems to have disappeared and Christopher Eccleston who`s great here and is great in everything else he`s done which gives hope to even the most disillusioned DOCTOR WHO fan

So watch the film and decide for yourself what you think about the death penalty . Bare in mind that there were two victims that night and neither of them were Christopher Craig

Reviewed by paul2001sw-1 8 / 10

On death and belonging

This review contains what may be considered as SPOILERS by those who do not know the true story on which this film is based.

Derek Bentley was one of the most unfortunate men to suffer the death penalty in Britain. He was mentally sub-normal, he didn't kill anyone personally and even his fatal cry to his accomplice, Christopher Craig, echoed in this film's title, was disputed in court and is anyway ambiguous in meaning. And even after his conviction, both judge and jury recommended clemency. But a policeman had died, Craig (who shot him) was too young to hang and so Bentley was murdered by the state.

The strength of Peter Medak's reconstruction of these events is that neither man is presented as a devil or an angel; Craig (played by Paul Reynolds) is just a boy with fantasies of becoming a gangster (but no less dangerous for that); Bentley (Chris Ecclestone) a sad and lonely figure, motivated by the desperate need to belong. Both young actors are excellent. Their portrayals are set against a bleak but convincing backdrop of the forgotten rhythms of life in austerity Britain, a period (perhaps because it predated rock and roll) rarely celebrated by cheap nostalgia.

'Let Him Have It' is not the most entertaining film ever made, but its power grows as you watch it. Certainly a film with the power to make proponents of the death penalty uneasy.

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