John Lee ‘Movie Legend’

Lee Film still 08

In the 1920’s picture houses throughout the UK were packed nightly whilst showing the silent film of John Lee’s life. ‘The Man They Couldn’t Hang’ was an over dramatised, over-long kind of documentary displaying Lee’s side of events in his life.

It featured his career in the Royal Navy, his life with Emma Keyse, events ‘below stairs, the murder (of which of course he is not guilty), events at the gallows, his ‘wrongful imprisonment’, the loves of his life and the totally fictitious display of his life after prison.

It doesn’t show his time as a petty thief, his counter threats to various people or the appalling sham that was his real marriage to Jessie Bulled.

Instead the unsuspecting cinema audiences were fed a diet raw facts and a lot fiction.

Hull Daily Mail - Monday 16 June 1924

This is an advert for the film in the Hull Daily Mail – Monday 16 June 1924.

A lot more on the film, including clips, stills and rare footage of those who remember seeing it will be added here very soon – so buy your popcorn now.

Ian Waugh