London Belongs to Me

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London Belongs to Me
London Belongs to Me (1948 film).jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Sidney Gilliat
Written bySidney Gilliat
J. B. Williams
Based onLondon Belongs to Me
by Norman Collins
Produced bySidney Gilliat
Frank Launder
J. Arthur Rank (Executive Producer)
Starring Richard Attenborough
Alastair Sim
Wylie Watson
Joyce Carey
Fay Compton
Stephen Murray
Susan Shaw
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Thelma Myers
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Individual Pictures
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 12 August 1948 (1948-08-12)(London)
  • 13 August 1948 (1948-08-13)(United Kingdom)
Running time
112 mins
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£271,300 [1]
Box office£113,100 [1]

London Belongs to Me (also known as Dulcimer Street) is a British film released in 1948, directed by Sidney Gilliat, and starring Richard Attenborough and Alastair Sim. It was based on the novel London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins, which was also the basis for a seven-part series made by Thames Television shown in 1977.



The film concerns the residents of a large terraced house in London between Christmas 1938 and September 1939. Among them are the landlady, Mrs Vizzard (played by Joyce Carey), who is a widow and a believer in spiritualism; Mr and Mrs Josser (Wylie Watson and Fay Compton), and their teenage daughter Doris (Susan Shaw); the eccentric spiritualist medium Mr Squales (Sim); the colourful Connie Coke (Ivy St. Helier), the young motor mechanic Percy Boon (Attenborough) and his mother (Gladys Henson).

Percy is in love with the Jossers' daughter and turns to crime to raise money to impress her with, but he bungles a car theft and finds himself accused of murder. Mr Josser digs into his retirement fund to hire the boy a lawyer. Mr Squales testifies against Percy, but in the process exposes to his fiancée Mrs Vizzard the falsity of his claims to be able to contact the dead and to predict the future.

Percy is found guilty, but his neighbours rally to his defence. With the assistance of Mr Josser's staunchly socialist Uncle Henry (Stephen Murray), they gather thousands of signatures on a petition to win him a reprieve. At the end of the film, Percy's supporters march through the rain to the Houses of Parliament, only to discover just before their arrival that clemency has already been granted.



Filming started 6 November. The film was shot at Pinewood Studios. The main street was an interior set, but additional location filming took place around London, [2] and at Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire.

Patricia Roc was originally cast in the female lead, but says she pulled out because she did not want to keep playing Cockney roles. She was replaced by Susan Shaw. [3] [4] [5] Sidney Gilliat however says Earl St John asked if Gilliat could use one of Rank's contract stars like Pat Roc, Margaret Lockwood or Jean Kent; Gilliat chose Roc as he had worked well with her on Millions Like Us. "And she was all wrong and I had to throw her out, so it cost a lot of money and a lot of pain," said Gilliat. [6]

The film includes the first screen appearance of Arthur Lowe, who makes a brief and uncredited appearance as a commuter on a train.


Trade papers called the film a "notable box office attraction" in British cinemas in 1948. [7] Producer's receipts were £93,400 in the UK and £19,700 overseas. [1]

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "Norman Collins' story, which is Dickensian in the richness of its pathos and kindly humour, has been triumphantly captured on the screen." [8]

Television series

The novel was also adapted for Thames Television as a series, broadcast in seven one-hour episodes from 6 September to 18 October 1977. [9] The cast included Derek Farr as Mr Josser, Madge Ryan as Mrs Vizzard and Patricia Hayes as Connie Coke.

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  1. 1 2 3 Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 354. Income is in terms of producer's share of receipts.
  2. Reel Streets
  3. "GOSSIP AMONG STARS". The Argus . Melbourne. 23 December 1947. p. 9 Supplement: The Argus Woman's Magazine. Retrieved 7 July 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  4. Jock Phillips. 'Kiwi – A kiwi country: 1930s–2000s', Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 5-May-15
  5. "PATRICIA ROC QUITS PICTURE". The News . Vol. 49, no. 7, 595. Adelaide. 6 December 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  6. Fowler, Roy; Haines, Taffy (15 May 1990). "Interview with Sidney Gilliat" (PDF). British Entertainment History Project. p. 96.
  7. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p211
  8. "Monthly Film Bulletin review".
  9. "London Belongs To Me". BFI website. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2013.