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The Weak and the Wicked (called Young and Willing in the United States)[2] is a 1954 British drama film directed by J. Lee Thompson based on the book by his wife, Joan Henry, starring Glynis Johns and Diana Dors.

The Weak and the Wicked
UK release poster
Directed byJ. Lee Thompson
Produced byVictor Skutezky
Written byAnne Burnaby
Based onWho Lie in Gaol (novel)
by Joan Henry
StarringGlynis Johns
Diana Dors
Music byLeighton Lucas
CinematographyGilbert Taylor
Edited byRichard Best
Release date
  • July 18, 1954 (1954-07-18)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£213,706 (UK)[1]

Based on a best-selling book and prison experiences of author Joan Henry, director J. Lee Thompson's prison saga explores the life of inmates behind bars where innocence is lost in the world of vice. Despite its pulpy pot-boiler title, the film settles for earnest social drama over melodrama.


Frank "women in prison" story that sympathetically tracks several inmates through their imprisonment and subsequent return to society. Some are successfully rehabilitated; some are not.

Female prisoners talk about the events that brought them there and each of their stories is detailed in a series of flashbacks; the upper-class Jean (Glynis Johns), the brash Betty (Diana Dors) and the pregnant Pat (Rachel Roberts). The film follows the inmates' progress behind bars; Jean's ordeal improves after some sympathetic bonding with her fellow inmates, followed by a move to an experimental open prison.



The film was successful at the British box office.[1] According to the National Film Finance Corporation, the film made a comfortable profit.[3]


  1. ^ a b Porter, Vincent (2000). "The Robert Clark Account". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. 20. p. 502.
  2. ^ Love, Bessie (1977). From Hollywood with Love: An Autobiography of Bessie Love. London: Elm Tree Books. p. 154. OCLC 734075937.
  3. ^ "U.S. Money Behind 30% of British Films: Problems for the Board of Trade". The Manchester Guardian. Manchester (UK). 4 May 1956. p. 7.

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