Pulp Friday: Brighton Rock

Today’s Pulp Friday is linked to my recent post on Nick Triplow’s Getting Carter: Ted Lewis & the Birth of Brit Noir, an upcoming biography of the author of the classic crime novel, Jack’s Return Home, which you can read here.

One of the aspects of the book I enjoyed was how Triplow weaved into his narrative a discussion of the cultural touchstones that would’ve influenced Lewis as he was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. As Triplow makes clear, much of this was American, such things pulp novels and film noir. But among the local influences name checked by Triplow is Graham Greene’s novel, Brighton Rock, filmed in 1947 by John Boutling and starring a young Richard Attenborough as the vicious hoodlum, Pinkie Brown. A screen adaption shifting the story to the early 1960s and making Pinkie a moped driving mod was released in 2010.

The novel, which arguably made Greene’s name as a writer, was first published in the UK by Penguin in 1938 and has been republished numerous times. In addition to the classic orange Penguin cover, the book also received a more pulpy treatment by overseas publishers. One of these includes Australian pulp publisher Horwitz Publications, who released the edition above in 1961. This is one of a number of Penguin books republished by Horwitz, which the Australian company jazzed up with one its trademark lurid covers. I have no idea who is responsible for the art work.

Apart from being a great crime yarn, no doubt, Horwitz would’ve seen appeal in the themes in Brighton Rock focusing out of control youth and increasing crime, both tabloid pre-occupations in Australia, as in many other Western countries, in the 1950s and 1960s.

As points of comparison, below are two editions of Brighton Rock I found on the Internet, published by Bantam in the US, both it seems in 1949, which also highlight the book’s more lurid pulp themes.


2 Responses

  1. Brighton Rock was published in hardback by Heinemann in 1938. It appeared in the deliberately unlurid Penguin paperback edition in in 1943.

  2. Thanks for the corrections, Roger. Always appreciate getting more info from readers on my posts.

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