What is bias? Bias is when a person is one sided. Like only believing there is one side to a situation and that that IS the correct side to the situation. Well you could say Peter Medak was bias while making this film because he only shows us his view of what he thinks happened in the Derek Bentley situation and by doing so makes us believe that his view is right. Peter Medak is famous for directing recent films like species II and Romeo is bleeding, but we have been looking at his earlier work ‘let him have it’. Unlike his recent films it was based on a true-life experience that happen in 1953 with a boy called Derek Bentley.
In 1953 Derek Bentley, a London boy, was hanged for the murder of a policeman. But how he came to be in this situation was because of his newfound friend Chris Craig. Chris become Derek’s best friend after he is brought home from approved school for trashing a neighbour’s shed. He influences Derek in to do stupid things like robbing the butchers, which goes horribly wrong and is the beginning to a trail in court for the two boys. But why did peter medak want to make this film? My opinion would be that he wanted to show the rest of the country his view about the trail and the hanging.
There is also another question on my mind, should Derek have been hanged? My opinion to this question would have to be that the hanging was unreasonable and that the case was not saw through properly. The film’s first scene is Derek first contracting epilepsy, from a blow to the head in the 1942 Blitz after his own house collapsed on him. This scene of the Blitz is very intense it is full of emotion and tears, as Derek’s parents struggle to get him out of the rubble of bricks. The camera zooms in on Derek after he has been uncovered from the rubble; he is dazed and unaware of his surroundings.
The film then quickly moves on to a short view of Derek’s child hood. It is the first time that we are given the signs that Derek has contracted epilepsy because he is about to trash a neighbour’s shed with some friend’s and end up been caught by the owner. Derek’s friends flee leaving Derek in the shed. But with his friends gone the owner then shines the touch at Derek to see who it is, this then cause’s Derek to have an epileptic fit. This is the first sign to the audience that Derek has contracted epilepsy. To myself this may be the beginning give audience automatic impression that Derek can be mislead by people.
After this Derek is put into approved school but because of his mental illness his father complains that they are treating him unfairly for someone in his state of mind. From this Peter Madak clearly shows us that Derek is not at the right age, mentally and is actually a few years behind. This will begins gain the audience’s sympathy for Derek right away because Peter Medak makes you feel sorry for Derek in his situation. This is one example of Peter Medak been bias in this film because he is showing us Derek’s situation because he wants to make us feel the sympathy towards Derek because of his epilepsy.
As a year goes pasts, Derek will only leave the house as far as his own back garden. Until on day he wants a new record, which is out at the shops. Iris his older sister persuades Derek to leave the house and go and buy it with her. This begins to show us the strong relationship between Derek and his sister. To me peter medak has shown us this because he wants to show us a reason why iris kept on fighting for Derek’s innocent after he was hung. When Derek is walking to the shop, it is the first time we see Chris Craig. As Derek and Iris walk passed him, he has a smug look on his face just as though he is planning something.
Peter Medak shows Chris Craig as a cool kind of person who is always in with the crowned, but yet there is another side that we can see although to me Peter Medak hasn’t made it to obverse, is that Craig wants to be gangster. This is partly shown by the clothes he wears such as his hats and long coats. Later on Chris catches up with Derek while he is walking the dogs. Chris invites Derek to go out with them on a night. Derek does not refuse and begins to hang about with Chris, he even has his hair done to fit in. but until they are involved with a ship robbery in which Derek gains a new coat and a packet of stolen cigarettes.
Derek the stolen cigarettes to his dad for his birthday but is unaware that the cigarettes have a label on the back which reads ‘Only to be sold and used by military forces only’ Let him have it Peter Medak . From this label Derek’s dad knows that the cigarettes are stolen. This then causes uproar between Derek and his dad who begins to question him about where he got his hair done? His new coat from? And how he paid for them? At this point in the film the audience are caught in the action on the house because Derek’s dad is refusing to Derek see Chris.
This is like a whole burden been lifted of the audience’s shoulders because they know that Derek respects his father and would not do anything to harm or hurt him. But to the majorette of the audience who know the story of Derek Bentley it is the beginning of a new trouble. Derek still continues to see Chris but with out his fathers consent. While out with Chris one night he finds out that Chris’s brother is been arrested for the robbery of the ship and they go to see if he is ok but to their surprise Chris’s brother is shouting and fighting at the police pleading that he has not done any-thing wrong.
As we can tell that Chris is upset about the arrest and refuses to see Derek the next night. This is the first time we see Chris show any affection towards anyone, we can tell that he is devastated that his brother has been caught because he is Chris’s idol. As the film moves on to the next scene it shows us Derek giving the butcher some keys, but as he goes to walk out the shop the butchers calls him back and tells Derek that he has given him the wrong keys. He then asks for the proper ones back but as he does Derek turns to give the butcher the keys back, he takes the key out the door of the shop.
This to me is the beginning of Derek’s life going downhill. When he next sees Chris, He, Chris and the rest of their gang plan to rob the butchers in the night, once the butcher has gone home. On the night of the robbery they get to the butchers only to see that the butchers is still there, tidying up. So two of their refuse to stay go home, but Derek and Chris are still going ahead with the plan. As they are walking to the gate leading to the roof Chris hands Derek a knuckle-duster. “Here, I made this for you” Chris Craig Let him have it
Derek looks confused and you can tell that he doesn’t know what it is. When they reach the gate they begin to climb it one by one. But as Derek climbs the gate a little child notices them climbing and tells her mother who then contacts the police. Unaware of this Derek and Chris climb up on to the roof of the building they try to open the door on the roof leading inside. But as they are trying to do this the police arrive. A Policeman begins to climb the fence then onto the roof were Derek and Chris are. As they hear the police coming up Derek and Chris can’t do any thing but hide.
This may bring surprise on the audience because they may not have expected Derek to go through with the robbery after what happen last time. I believe that Derek has only gone through with it because of his mind been like a child’s he stayed with Chris because he trusted him just like a child trusts an adult. Once the police start to approach the roof Chris comes out from hiding and starts firing his gun up in the air in order to scare the police away but it does not work. Derek comes out of his place and is caught by the police. He gets told to stand next to the officer and wait there.
At this point in the film Derek is not hand cuffed or properly guarded by anyone so he could make run for it, this may cause a bit of distress for some viewers because they would be thinking why don’t you just ‘run away now’. The police sergeant who has got Bentley by his side asks Chris to hand the gun to him but Chris refuses. Then out of the blue Derek shouts “Let him have it Chris ” Let him have it Peter Medak Now that sentence could be took either way by the audience it could be took as let him have the gun Chris or as shoot him, but what ever way it is took, it was took as let him have the gun Chris by myself.
Although the fact that Peter medak has made the film a bit biased I do believe that Peter Medak believes that is how it was meant, hence the title. After Derek says this Chris shots the policeman on the arm. I do think that this was just a lucky shot out of the blue After been struck in the arm the policeman runs to the door were all the other policemen are standing waiting for the order to arrest, shouting for a gun. H then comes back up the stairs with this gun. As he gets on to the roof another police officer comes out to to get Derek, but by doing so, Chris shoots at him and kills the officer by a bullet wound to the head.