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Bass, Alfie (1920-1987)


Main image of Bass, Alfie (1920-1987)

Alfie Bass (born in London on 12 April 1920) was a quintessential Cockney player of over 60 British films, as well as a stage career which began at the Unity Theatre in 1939 and considerable TV popularity in the '60s and '70s, from which he is remembered for The Army Game (ITV, 1957-1961) and Bootsie and Snudge (ITV, 1960-1963).

On screen, short, furrow-browed Bass appeared in several documentaries before his feature debut in The Bells Go Down (d. Basil Dearden, 1943); hovered notably on the wrong side of the law in such Ealing films as It Always Rains on Sunday (d. Robert Hamer, 1947, as Dicey Perkins - the name says it all), and as the timid gang-member of the The Lavender Hill Mob (d. Charles Crichton, 1951); and was a memorable Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities (d. Ralph Thomas, 1958).

Repeating his stage role, he co-starred with David Kossoff in the award-winning short, The Bespoke Overcoat (d. Jack Clayton, 1955), and stayed close to his Cockney and Jewish roots for most of his career. He epitomises the foundation of character-playing on which the palmy days of British cinema were built.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Bespoke Overcoat, The (1955)Bespoke Overcoat, The (1955)

Jack Clayton's Oscar-winning ghost story, based on a Gogol fable

Thumbnail image of Boys in Brown (1949)Boys in Brown (1949)

A progressive Borstal governor tries to reform his boys

Thumbnail image of Hell Drivers (1957)Hell Drivers (1957)

Uncompromising B movie set in the macho world of ballast truck drivers

Thumbnail image of It Always Rains On Sunday (1947)It Always Rains On Sunday (1947)

Robert Hamer's bleak portrait of life in London's East End

Thumbnail image of Kid for Two Farthings, A (1955)Kid for Two Farthings, A (1955)

Whimsical fable set in London's Jewish East End

Thumbnail image of Lavender Hill Mob, The (1951)Lavender Hill Mob, The (1951)

A group of eccentric Londoners plot the perfect crime

Thumbnail image of Pool of London (1950)Pool of London (1950)

Two sailors on leave are caught up in a diamond smuggling racket

Thumbnail image of Tale of Two Cities, A (1958)Tale of Two Cities, A (1958)

Dirk Bogarde stars as an idealistic lawyer in this Dickens adaptation

Thumbnail image of Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The (1956-57)Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The (1956-57)

Arthurian swashbuckler starring later Dr Who companion William Russell

Thumbnail image of Danger U.X.B. (1979)Danger U.X.B. (1979)

White-knuckle drama following a bomb-disposal unit in Blitz-torn London

Thumbnail image of Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1964)Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1964)

ITV adaptation of the Shakespeare play, with Benny Hill as Bottom

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