It isn’t long after this opening bit of carnage that two women come to be recurring thorns in Pinkie’s side. One is a young waitress named Rose (played by Carol Marsh with a sweetly smiling susceptibility) whose pure-hearted naïveté is buttressed by her unwavering Catholicism and who, by an accident of chance, stands to fatally complicate Pinkie’s alibi. The other is a fixture of the surrounding amusements, an entertainer named Ida (Hermione Baddeley) who all but witnesses the killing and becomes a force of probing morality. But she is not Catholic. Officious, superstitious and betokened by an ear-splitting cackle, she cares more for earthly justice than the great mystery of redemption. Rose, stupidly but sublimely, falls for Pinkie, while Ida hopes to wrest her away from his evil influence. The vile, seemingly sociopathic Pinkie then becomes a hopeless candidate for saving grace. Whether Rose’s love is exerted in vain is the operative spiritual question.
Do read Folk Devils & Moral Panics if you’re into that sort of thing (although if you are, you’ve probably read it already…)