Open main menu

Cosh Boy (released in the United States as The Slasher) is a 1953 British film noir directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring James Kenney and Joan Collins. It was made at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

Cosh Boy
"Cosh Boy" (1953).jpg
Directed byLewis Gilbert
Produced byDaniel M. Angel
Screenplay byLewis Gilbert
Vernon Harris
Based onplay Master Crook by Bruce Walker
StarringJames Kenney
Joan Collins
Music byLambert Williamson
CinematographyJack Asher
Edited byCharles Hasse
Release date
Running time
75 min
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£112,918 (UK)[1]



Based on an original play by Bruce Walker, the film tells of the exploits of 16-year-old delinquent youth Roy Walsh (James Kenney) and his gang in post-World War II London.

The gang starts off by mugging women. Later, Roy becomes infatuated with Rene (Joan Collins), the sister of one of the gang members, but already having a boyfriend, Brian, she rejects Roy, to his fury. Later the gang beats up Brian. Roy menaces Rene, who eventually submits to him. When she informs him that he has made her pregnant and urges him to marry her, he decides he wants nothing more to do with her.

Roy's mother, Elsie Walsh (Betty Ann Davies), is involved with Canadian Bob Stevens (Robert Ayres), who urges her to marry him so he can take Roy "in hand" before it's too late. Roy hates Bob.

Bob works as an assistant manager at the Palidrome dance hall, which becomes a target for the gang. Another member of staff appears on the scene whom they shoot and wound.

Later that night, a mob of women arrive on the doorstep with Rene's mother, who adds that the police are on their way. Bob arrives, removes Rene's mother from the premises and decides to give Roy a thrashing - for his own good - before the police arrive in the belief that if the judge hears he has already received a thrashing, his sentence might be lighter, which will be easier for his mother to stomach. The police arrive just as Bob is brandishing his belt in readiness. Bob lets them in, and they ask who he is. He tells him he is the boy's stepfather, as "his mother and I were married this morning".

The leading officer congratulates him, then, seeing the belt in his hand, smiles, and suggests to his colleague that they go and arrest the other gang member first and come back for Roy later. Bob begins thrashing Roy as the scene cuts to outside and the mob of women listening to Roy's cries and shrieks for help. The detectives then walk away, into the night.



Cosh Boy has also been named The Tough Guy, or The Slasher. It was among the first British films to receive the new X certificate. It was given a Certificate rating of 16 in Norway (1953), and banned in Sweden.

The film's release coincided with the trial of Derek Bentley and some media linked the film to Bentley's crimes. "Today you'd show it to 10 year olds", Lewis Gilbert commented in 2000.[2]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p499
  2. ^ Jones, Nicholas (10 March 2000). "Of human Bondage". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2016.

External linksEdit