Cracksman, The

Date: 1963
Director: Peter Graham Scott
Production Company: Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC)

Stars: Charlie Drake, Nyree Dawn Porter, George Sanders, Dennis Price, Percy Herbert, Eddie Byrne
Location(s): Buckinghamshire, London

Region(s): ,


An honest locksmith, who can’t resist the challenge of a lock, gets conned into a safe cracking scheme by ruthless gangsters.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson from source material provided by John Tunstill. Uncredited ‘now’ images by PW.


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Establishing shot showing St. Lukes Church with its distinctive spire.

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Whitecross Street looking towards Old Street, London EC1.

Tilt shot from image crama001. The street on which locksmith Ernest Wright's shop stands.

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Whitecross Street, London EC1.

Ernest Wright (Charlie Drake) walks along Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1. The location was seen in 'Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter', 'A Dandy in Aspic' and 'Too Hot to Handle'.

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Now. SJ

Ernest crosses the road just before being asked to break into a car by Grantley. The Junction of Lambeth Road and Lambeth Palace Road SE1.

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Surprisingly difficult to replicate. Junctions, trees, street furniture and traffic islands are all in the conspiracy. SJ

Grantley (Dennis Price) visits Ernest's shop.

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The building where the shop is no longer exists and that side of the street has been redeveloped. Whitecross Street EC1.

Ernest leaves Wandsworth Prison after serving his sentence for a burglary. The imposing prison entrance also features in 'The Criminal’, ‘Daybreak’, ‘Calculated Risk’, ‘Emergency’, 'Time Without Pity', 'The Was a Crooked Man' and 'The Dock Brief'.

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I wonder if you paid for parking in 1963? (RL)

Ernest visits his local, the Friendly Hand public house, which is just along the street from his shop.

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The pub still stands and is now known as The Trader. Whitecross Street, London EC1.

After being ostracised by customers in the pub, Ernest heads for the Embankment.

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Temple Place above Temple station, London WC2.

A view along the Embankment from Temple Place WC2.

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The same location now.

Lunch time overlooking the Thames. Temple Place WC2.

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Victoria Embankment Gardens above Temple station.

Ernest is taken in by Sandra (Wanda Ventham) and agrees to open a safe for her.

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Victoria Embankment Gardens on Temple Place WC2.

Grantley in Trafalgar Square, London WC2.

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I should be a bit further back and to the left. SJ

Grantley heads for the Tiki nightclub.

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Buckingham Street at the corner of John Adam Street, London WC2.

The Tiki Nightclub on Buckingham Street, London WC2.

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The same building now - almost as exotic.

Ernest leaves Springhill Prison in Bierton Road, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire after serving time for cracking the safe.

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The same place now. The prison is now a Young Offenders Institute.

Ernest is driven away from prison.

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Just outside the main gates of the prison on Bierton Road, Aylesbury.

Ernest takes a taxi to meet with the criminals who plan to steal the Stamford Collection of Fine Gems. By coincidence it takes "a cabby" to locate this one. Tony Kutner tells us that it is Fitzjohn's Avenue, Hampstead, London NW3 looking south with Lyndhurst Road/Akenside Road to the left. (RL)

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Having identified the location Tony provides an up to date shot and even waited for a taxi to approach. (RL

The Prince Edward Museum where the Stamford Collection of Fine Gems are on display.

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Peter identifies this location as Little St. James's Street off St. James's Street in London SW1 and provides the proof.

After the crooks are caught by Ernest with the help of undercover policewoman Muriel, the pair get married. Whitecross Street, London EC1.

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The side of the street where the shop and advertising boards stood has now been redevelped.

Ernest and Muriel (Nyree Dawn Porter) set off on honeymoon by bicycle.

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Whitecross Street EC1.

As crowds watch, Ernest and Muriel cycle away.

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Nick Cooper identifies this as The Merchant Navy Memorial, Tower Hill (from the south-west) and sent this Google Image in support. (RL)