The Rainbow Jacket

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The Rainbow Jacket
The Rainbow Jacket UK quad poster.jpg
Original UK quad format poster
Directed by Basil Dearden
Written by T.E.B. Clarke
Produced by Michael Balcon
Michael Relph
Starring Kay Walsh
Bill Owen
Edward Underdown
Robert Morley
Honor Blackman
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Jack Harris
Music by William Alwyn
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release date
  • 27 May 1954 (1954-05-27)( [1] )
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Rainbow Jacket is a 1954 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden, and featuring Robert Morley, Kay Walsh, Bill Owen, Honor Blackman and Sid James. [2] [3] It was made at Ealing Studios produced by Michael Balcon and Michael Relph and shot in Technicolor. The film's sets were designed by the art director Thomas N. Morahan. Location shooting took place in London and at a variety of racecourse towns including Newmarket and Epsom. The film was released by General Film Distributors as a part of a long-term arrangement with Ealing.



A champion jockey, having forfeited his own career by taking a bribe, takes a young rider under his wing. [4]

At a racetrack meeting banned former jockey Sam is checking the perimeter for illicit means of entry and a cheeky young boy, Georgie, shows him how to get in. Georgie show a penchant for horse riding and is befriended by Sam who encourages him to train as a jockey.

He is placed in the stables of Lord Logan at Newmarket. He shows much promise and Sam bets £100 on him to win. Georgie is impressive but a photo finish shows he comes second. On his second race his mother steals £50 from her employer's safe and bets it on him to win. He comes first but a stewards’ inquiry wrongly disqualifies him and his mother loses the money.

On the third race and for his mother’s sake, Sam persuades Georgie to take a fall to throw the race but when Sam visits in the first aid area their connection is exposed. Sam faces another ban but Georgie’s staunch defence of his character to the stewards eventually leads to Sam having his license renewed.

But in the final classic of the season, the St Leger, the two are neck and neck and Sam clearly whips Georgie’s horse to urge it on and to win. He does this because he has realized that Georgie threw the previous race to avoid implicating Sam.

Sam’s actions of course mean he is finally banned from racing and after a final piece of illicit betting he retires to live with Georgie’s widowed mother and all is right with the racing world.



The film premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 27 May 1954, [1] and the reviewer for The Times wrote that, "It is, then, an entertaining film, a film in love with racing and yet not quite so devotedly so as to refrain from suggesting that in the running of the St. Leger there can be some very queer goings-on indeed." [5]

Sixty years after the premiere, TV Guide felt that "a trite outcome mars this fairly entertaining film, which features real-life British racing figures Raymond Glendenning and Gordon Richards" [6] while Time Out noted that the film was "the first collaboration between Dearden and TEB Clarke after The Blue Lamp...Despite its intriguing subject, the film offers little but the cosy, sentimental view of life that is typical of late Ealing films." [4]

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  1. 1 2 The Times, 27 May 1954, page 2: Classified - Picture Theatres - Odeon Leic. Sq. - The Rainbow Jacket Linked 2015-07-06
  2. Barr, Charles (1998). Ealing Studios. University of California Press. p. 157. ISBN   978-0-520-21554-2.
  3. "The Rainbow Jacket". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  4. 1 2 "The Rainbow Jacket | review, synopsis, book tickets, showtimes, movie release date | Time Out London". 18 September 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  5. The Times, 27 May 1954, page 4: Odeon Ceinama - "The Rainbow Jacket" Linked 2015-07-06
  6. "The Rainbow Jacket Review". Retrieved 3 April 2014.