DANCING WITH CRIME. Coronet Films Ltd./Paramount, UK, 1947. Richard Attenborough, Barry K. Barnes, Sheila Sim, Garry Marsh, John Warwick, Judy Kelly, Barry Jones. Director: John Paddy Carstairs.

   Richard Attenborough, he of Jurassic Park fame, was very young when he made this film, only 24, but if you’re fond of crime movies taking place against a backdrop of a postwar British dance palace, he’s not the only reason to watch this film.

   To tell you the truth, I’m not sure how man other movies there were taking place against a backdrop of a postwar British dance palace, crime film or not, but it only adds to the semi-noirish aspect of the movie. When a war buddy tries to persuade a young taxi driver named Ted Peters (Attenborough) that there’s easy money to be made in some obviously criminal activity he’s part of, Peters turns him down, only to later find his friend dead in the back of his cab.

   The aforementioned dance palace seems to be the headquarters of the gang, and while Peters goes straight to the police, he decides to do some investigating on his own. Not only that, but his girl friend agrees to go undercover as a hostess at the club. Kind of a lark on both their parts, as neither of them seems to be all that broken up at the death of the friend.

   But lark or not, it’s still very much an engaging sort of story, in which Attenborough gets to show off his athletic prowess as well as his acting ability. At least twice he gets away from hoodlums holding guns directly on him. It’s also good to see a movie in which the villains are entirely bad. Not a streak of goodness in any of them.