Film to be made about Olympic gold medal winning boxing policeman from Shoreditch
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:21 15 April 2013
A film about a policeman who went on to be an Olympic gold winning boxing champion is in the works after the producer was inspired by his story.
Harry Mallin, a former Met policeman and middleweight boxer, had been a member of the Eton Mission Boys’ boxing club which was part of the Eton Christian mission set up by Eton college to raise living standards in Hackney Wick. He trained for the 1916 Olympics – which were cancelled due to the outbreak of war – and instead went to Scotland as part of the Admiralty Police to train sailors in army combat.
He later went on to win the Olympic medal at both the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 and Paris Olympics in 1924, and helped train boys at the Eton Manor Boys’ club (which was set up by former Etonians to provide sporting facilities that were separate from the mission in 1909) in Risehholme Street, Hackney Wick in his spare time.
Jon Pettigrew, a former consultant to Olympic committee LOCOG and film producer, became interested in making a film about Mallin two years ago and is calling it The Wilderness after the nickname given to the club’s sports grounds on Hackney Marshes.
He teamed up with former Coronation Street and Titanic actress Alexandra Boyd – a friend who he met at BAFTA. She will direct both a short film and full-length feature about Mr Mallin, if enough money can be raised.
The short film, which will cost £50,000 to make, will be a taster to demonstrate how Ms Boyd “intends to shoot the boxing sequence in the film”.
As part of research for the film, Ms Boyd has spoken to boxers such as Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua, world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and boxers that were trained by Harry. She added: “I learned that for boxers, they are training for a performance – almost like acting.”
She added: “Not a lot is known about Harry. He owned a pub in the East End and he had a younger brother Fred who was a champion boxer. His older brother was a champion bare knuckle fighter who made a fortune doing so.”
To view a short six minute film about the project, visit the film’s fundraising page at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1249928131/the-wilderness-a-feature-film