Go to Blazes

Date: 1962
Director: Michael Truman
Production Company: Associated British Picture Corporation

Stars: Dave King, Robert Morley, Daniel Massey, Norman Rossington, Dennis Price, Coral Browne
Location(s): Hertfordshire, London

Region(s): ,

Storyline:

Three incompetent criminals steal an ancient fire engine as a getaway vehicle.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson.

 

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Looking very much the perfect gentleman, Harry (Daniel Massey) walks through town carrying chocolates and roses. Finchley Road in London NW11.

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A remarkably similar view now by Peter.

Harry makes his way towards a jewellers.

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The junction of Hampstead Way and Finchley Road in Temple Fortune, Barnet captured by Peter.

The jewellers window is smashed and gems are stolen. Finchley Road NW11.

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Peter took this shot from the Barclay's bank entrance. The traffic lights have replaced the zebra crossing and may have been repositioned.

Harry climbs into a getaway car driven by Alfie as the shop owner rushes out. Finchley Road, London NW11.

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The same location now from Peter.

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The Citroën heads away from the scene. Members of the Britmovie Forum identify this as Finchley Road between Dunstan Road and Wycombe Gardens.

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As the getaway car speeds past, a police car begins pursuit.

This road was recognised by Ian McGeevy as the northbound carriageway of the A41 Hendon Way in London NW11.

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Not that we needed proof Ian, we believed you, but thank you. (RL)

The two cars negotiate a roundabout as Bernard examines the stolen gems. This is the roundabout at Five Ways Corner, the intersection of the A41 Watford Way and A1 Great North Way in NW7. Location found by Ian McGeevy.

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And Ian now provides a photo of the same location saying that the kerb lines have been realigned at least a couple of times over the years. (RL)

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With the police car gaining, a queue of traffic lies ahead which halts the escape. Ian advises that this is approaching Brent Cross on the northbound A41 Hendon Way.

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After the getaway car is held up by stopped traffic, the police catch up and Sergeant (David Lodge) runs forward to apprehend the gang. The southbound carriageway of Hendon Way near Wessex Gardens NW11 located by Ian McGeevy.

As they are arrested, the Sergeant tells the robbers that everything stops for the fire service. The junction with St Albans Road on the A1 facing the Stonehouse Hotel to the west of Hatfield. The Hatfield Tunnel of the A1(M) ploughed through this area in the early 1980s and the view disappeared.

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The entrance to the Galleria car park from Coronet Way (A1001), Hatfield. Image copyright Google Maps. (PW)

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The gang are taken away by 'Black Maria' after appearing in court but being stopped by the fire engine gives Bernard an idea for the next robbery. Looking towards Knightsbridge from South Carriage Drive in London W1. The road layout has been changed since the construction of Piccadilly (or Hyde Park Corner) Underpass.

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After two years inside, a Warder (Arthur Lowe) bids farewell to Bernard (Dave King), Harry and Alfie (Norman Rossington). Looking through the main gate of Wormwood Scrubs on Du Cane Road W12.

The boys leave the Scrubs and head back out into the world . . . . .

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Best possible angle given parked cars and height. (RL)

. . . . . and immediately, Harry attempts to steal a car. Temple Fortune Lane, London NW11.

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Spotted and snapped by Peter.

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Across the street, Alfie works on another car. Wulfstan Street at the corner of Du Cane Road in London W12. The road featured in 'The Horses Mouth'.

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When the lock is cracked, the others get in and Alfie drives away. Wulfstan Street in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. A Standard 8, for which we are looking to add to the Cinema of Darkness pages. Could this be the one?

The gang sell the car. Exiting Somers Mews onto Radnor Place in W2. The area has been redeveloped. Identified with help from the Britmovie Forum.

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Mmmm, Richard prefers the mews. (RL)

Bernard counts the money as Alfie tries the door of a parked car. Looking towards the crossroads with Sussex Gardens and Norfolk Place from Radnor Place in London.

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From a similar viewpoint now. (RL)

Bells are heard which make Bernard, Harry and Alfie turn round. Radnor Place W2.

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In the centre distance of the screen capture can be seen this porch of a building that still stands on the undeveloped Norfolk Place. Image provided by Peter.

A fire engine speeds through the streets as a Policeman stops traffic. Facing the junction of Craven Terrace and Craven Road with Devonshire Terrace, London W2.

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What looks like a pub on the left in the screen shot is now a pharmacy. Information and picture from Peter.

The gang run to buy a fire engine for their next robbery. In the background can be seen the tower and archway of St. Mary's Hospital. London W2.

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The same location now from Richard Lovejoy. (RL)

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When they find that they can't afford a new fire engine, the gang buy a scrap one from a Dealer (Wilfrid Lawson) and load it onto a lorry. Unknown location.

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That night, the 'borrowed' lorry and it's load are driven to Wales. Unidentified location.

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In fictional Llandyssullyog, the gang wait until the coast is clear before swapping their scrap fire engine for the one in the village's fire station. David Humphreys recognises this as Pickford Road in Markyate, Hertfordshire and wouldn't be surprised if the village fire station wasn't used as well. (RL)

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Two Lovers (Dudley Sutton and Diane Clare) run through the lanes as the swap takes place.

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The Boy catches up with his Girlfriend before kissing her as the village is rocked by an explosion at the fire station.

Having successfully destroyed the evidence in Wales, the gang drive their 'new' fire engine to a lock-up. Giltspur Street in London EC1 with St Bartholomew's Hospital on the left.

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Giltspur Street is now a Bus Terminus. Picture from Peter.

West Smithfield facing the junction with Long Lane in the City of London.

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The parking toll booth has been relocated and the Smithfield Goods Depot sign is long gone. A smart new Free toilet has been added (the little cottage type structure) with entrances in the basement. Image and information from Peter.

The entrance of the railway Goods Depot, West Smithfield.

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The same place now by Peter. The black & white building in the right of the screen capture is just out of shot.

Charterhouse Street in EC1 with Smithfield Market in the background.

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The same location now provided by Peter.

The next heist is planned to be a bank robbery in Mayfair.

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Berkeley Square in the City of Westminster, London W1 by Peter.

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The gang arrive by taxi at their chosen bank near Berkeley Square and the journey from the lock-up is timed to take 24 minutes. A studio set included for completeness.

The day of the robbery sees the fire engine making the journey to the bank. Facing Smithfield Market from West Smithfield in EC1 with the archway of Grand Avenue to the right.

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A good 'now' image by Peter.

Bernard and Alfie drive past The Old Bailey as Harry makes his way to the bank by taxi. Facing Old Bailey from the grounds of St Sepulchre's Church at the start of Holborn Viaduct in London EC1.

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From behind the same fence now by Peter with wahat appears to be an early Xmas tree in front of the Old Bailey.

The fire engine continues through the city.

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Peter identified Farringdon Street as seen from Holborn Viaduct in EC1 and sent this image.

Alfie sounds the bell and enjoys driving at speed through the city. Turning from Aldwych into Strand WC2 with St Clement Danes church in the right background.

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The Australian flag flies from Australia House in this shot by Peter.

As predicted, traffic stops or moves over to let the fire engine pass. Strand at the junction with Aldwych.

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The same location now from Peter who notes that the building in the right of the screen capture has been demolished to make way for Luxury flats.

More vehicles pull over. Kingsway WC2 facing Bush House on Aldwych.

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Bush House straight ahead. Image by Peter.

Strand with Charing Cross station frontage on the right.

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The same location now from Peter.

A Policeman holds up the traffic as the engine approaches.

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Peter sent in this shot looking from Trafalgar Square onto Strand WC2 with Charing Cross station in the centre right background.

Trafalgar Square with the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament visible at the end of Whitehall to the right.

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The same familiar spot from Peter.

Good time is made as the engine is waved through by a another Policeman. Piccadilly W1 at the junction with Bolton Street with Green Park to the right.

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The same location now by Peter.

Harry arrives by taxi and is dropped close to the bank. Berkeley Square in W1. We were here before with a Nightingale!

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Peter sent this image of the same square today with the post box hidden by street furniture. You have to be kind to Westminster City Council and not mention clutter.

Berkeley Square at the corner of Berkeley Street with Charles Street in the background.

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Captured by Peter.

When they realise that they're running far too early for the planned heist, Alfie pulls over. London Wall which also features in 'Three Hats for Lisa', 'Sebastian', 'The Sandwich Man' and 'Blow Up'.

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Roughly the same place now taken by Peter.

A suspicious Motorcycle Cop approaches so Alfie pulls away. London Wall in EC2 identified by Peter who recognised the lamp posts.

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Peter remarks that this is a difficult place for a comparison shot as the area has had three rebuilds since the 1960's.

Back in Berkeley Square, a police car pulls up as Harry waits. Moyses Stevens' florist stands to the left in this view of Berkeley Square from Fitzmaurice Place.

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The same corner now, taken by Peter.

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Harry watches as the Sergeant that arrested the gang two years earlier gets out of the car. A studio set included for completeness.

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As the Sergeant looks for an address, Harry takes refuge in an alleyway. Unknown location.

Alfie and Bernard drive in circles to kill time. Passing the car dealership of Stewart & Ardern in the South East of Berkely Square.

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The statue was sited in the square in 1937 but was rotated 180 degrees in 1994. Stewart & Arden were located at the S-E corner of Berkely Square. Information and picture from Peter.

Berkeley Square facing Fitzmaurice Place. The building on the left, with Moyses Stevens florist on the ground floor, has since been demolished and replaced.

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The same location now from Peter with vans taking up the parking spaces instead of cars.

The two criminals continue driving around the streets of Mayfair, London W1.

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Hay Hill looking towards Grafton Street by Peter.

The time of the robbery nears and Alfie heads to the bank. Berkeley Street looking into Berkeley Square with the corner of Bruton Lane to the right.

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The same corner in this comparison shot from Peter.

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A Man (Derek Nimmo) runs into the road and stops the engine, demanding that the 'firemen' come to pump water from his flooded home. This appears to match Norfolk Crescent facing Cambridge Square before redevelopment.

When the gang hesitate to assist, the Man tells them that he will report them to some passing policemen. Southwick Street looking towards the crossroads with Sussex Gardens in W2. The area has been redeveloped but buildings in the distant background still stand on Star Street.

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Peter captured the area with this image taken from further along Southwick Street but showing the type of architecture that once stood on the redeveloped portion.

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The fake firemen arrive at the man's flooded home and the robbery doesn't take place. A studio set included for completeness.

Two Gentlemen (Kynaston Reeves and Ronald Cardew) discuss the general lowering of standards in the world. Bill Rice tells us that this is looking towards King's Road along Royal Avenue from St. Leonard's Terrace in SW3.

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Hampered by parked cars, Peter provides this similar view.

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The fire engine is driven past with hoses trailing, proving the gentlemen's point.

The despondent gang realise that they need to be trained as firemen if they are to be successful. Looking south eastwards on High Street, Watford. Gade house now occupies the site of the Fire Station.

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From a similar angle now. (PW)

The three peer into the fire station. At the time of filming, the cinema in the background was a Gaumont but it closed as an Odeon in 1983.

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You'll have to trust me that this is a comparison shot! (PW)

A Fireman (Hugh Lloyd) eyes the strangers. High Street, Watford. The fire station stood at the corner of Bentine Lane but the whole area has been substantially redeveloped.

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The buildings across the road are still recognisable. (PW)

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Seeing firemen climbing the drying tower makes the boys feel uneasy. Whippendell Road Fire Station, Watford. The site has since been redeveloped.

Whey they overhear news that Withers, a crooked Fire Chief, is up for a disciplinary hearing, Bernard makes a plan. Looking out onto High Street, Watford in Hertfordshire.

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The cinema is no more but the building to the left still stands. (PW)

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The disgraced Withers (Dennis Price), walks away from the fire station after being dismissed. David Humphreys says that this was the rear of the old fire station in Alexandra Road, Hemel Hempstead.....now a car park! (RL)

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Looking like detectives, Bernard and Alfie approach Withers and enlist his help. Unidentified location.

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After the fashion house next to the target bank is set alight by accomplice Arson Eddie, the fully trained gang arrive to carry out the robbery. Studio set included for the sake of completeness.

As motorists and passers-by stop to watch the fire, a hole is blown in the wall of the haute couture shop's basement to enter the bank's vault.

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Facing Charles Street at the corner of Fitzmaurice Place off Berkeley Square W1 by Peter.

Policemen hold back the gathering crowd as the bank's money is loaded into the fire engines water tank.

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Peter sent this image of the same Berkeley Square location now.

A real fire engine races to the scene. Berkeley Street looking into Berkeley Square again.

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Snapped again by Peter.

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The watching Sergeant becomes suspicious when Chantal (Maggie Smith) and Colette (Coral Browne) recognise Harry and Bernard as they escape with the loot. Studio set included for the sake of completeness.

The police take chase as the vintage engine speeds away with the proceeds of the robbery.

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Berkeley Square, looking north west from Fitzmaurice Place by Peter.

As the gang escape, Alfie steers the engine through building work. Talgarth Road, London W6 with the east end of the Hammersmith Flyover under construction.

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Ian McGreevy provides this shot of the location with the construction work well behind us. Taken from the footway outside the well known ARK building. (RL)

The pursuing police car negotiates the construction site. This appears to be Talgarth Road W6. The tower of St Paul's church can be seen on the extreme left.

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Whilst on the footway outside the ARK Ian took a shot to cover this view but St Pauls Tower is obscured by obstructions, as we find too often these days. (RL)

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After they lose the police car, the engine is driven into the country. Carole Semaine locates this as the High Street end of Hadley Green Road in Hadley End, Barnet, Hertfordshire.

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A village pond is passed. Looking across Joslin's Pond at Hadley Green Road in Barnet identified by Carole Semaine.

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As they continue their flight, the gang agree to help two children whose treehouse is on fire. Approaching Ludgrove Hall on Games Road, Monken Hadley Common identified by Carole.

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The gang ready the engine to extinguish the fire. Carole Semaine advises that this is Ludgrove Hall on Games Road.

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A Fisherman (John Le Mesurier) sleeps as Alfie carries a hose to draft water from the nearby pond. As a child, Carole Semaine remembers watching the filming of these scenes in Hadley Woods, where she managed to get Dennis Price's autograph along with several others.

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Withers and the gang prepare to pump water onto the burning treehouse . . . . . . and in the process all of the money is burned as it is 'squirted' into the flames. Ludgrove Hall on Games Road, Barnet in Hertfordshire located by Carole.