Release dateAugust 1958 WriterJack Popplewell (play), George Minter (screenplay), Denis ODell (screenplay) ScreenplayDennis ODell, George Minter CastDiana Dors (Calico), George Baker (Johnny Mansell), Terence Morgan (Dave Mansell), Patrick Allen (Paddy Ryan), Jane Griffiths (Sylvia), Thomas Heathcote (Sgt. Lamb) Similar moviesDiana Dors appears in Tread Softly Stranger and The Last Page
Tread softly stranger 1958 the robbery goes wrong
Tread Softly Stranger is a 1958 British crime drama directed by Gordon Parry and starring Diana Dors, George Baker and Terence Morgan. The film was shot in black-and-white in film noir style, and its setting in an industrial town in northern England mirrors the kitchen sink realism movement coming into vogue in English drama and film at the time. The screenplay was adapted from the stage play Blind Alley (1953) by Jack Popplewell.
The action takes place in the Yorkshire steel town of Rawborough – Rotherham was used for the extensive location filming – to which native son Johnny Mansell (George Baker) has fled after racking up large gambling debts in London. Johnny moves into a cramped flat with his brother Dave (Terence Morgan), a clerk in a local steel mill, and Dave's girlfriend Calico (Diana Dors), a hostess in a local nightclub. Calico comes up with a plan for the brothers to rob the payroll at Dave's workplace to steal enough money to cover Dave's fraud and Johnny's debts
Diana Dors as Calico
George Baker as Johnny Mansell
Terence Morgan as Dave Mansell
Patrick Allen as Paddy Ryan
Jane Griffiths as Sylvia
Joseph Tomelty as Joe Ryan
Thomas Heathcote as Sgt. Lamb
Russell Napier as Potter
Norman Macowan as Danny
Maureen Delany as Mrs. Finnegan
Betty Warren as Flo
Timothy Bateson as Fletcher
John Salew as Pawnbroker
Michael Golden as St. John's Ambulance Man
Andrew Keir as Inspector Harris
Hal Osmond as Flatcap
Norman Pierce as Publican
Patrick Crean as Blue Blazer
Wilfrid Lawson as Holroyd
Tread Softly Stranger did reasonable business at the box-office on its original release but received little critical attention, being seen as a typical crime potboiler which would be watched once and then forgotten. Its reputation was upgraded in later decades, with critics finding much to admire, particularly the cinematography by Douglas Slocombe with its authentic feel of everyday life in a steel town of the era. The main incongruity in the film is cited as the noticeable lack of Yorkshire accents in characters who were supposedly born and brought up in the county. It is also questionable whether a town such as Rawborough in the 1950s would have been the venue for a nightclub of the type in which Calico is employed, a far cry from the working man's club it purports to be.
The eponymous theme tune was sung by Jim Dale.
Tread Softly Stranger received its first DVD release in the UK in 2008.