The Small World of Sammy Lee

The Small World of Sammy Lee[3] is a 1963 British crime film written and directed by Ken Hughes and starring Anthony Newley, Julia Foster and Robert Stephens.[4] A peep-show compere is hunted across the seedy London underworld of Soho by debt collectors.

The Small World of Sammy Lee
Directed byKen Hughes
Produced byAlec C. Snowden
Screenplay byKen Hughes
StarringAnthony Newley
Julia Foster
Robert Stephens
Distributed byBritish Lion Films (UK)
Release date
April 1963 (UK)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£49,981 (UK)[2]

Synopsis and outline

Sammy Lee has five hours to pay off a gambling debt.

Andrew Pulver wrote in November 2016 for The Guardian, at the time of the film's re-release: "It’s a genuine curiosity: the last knockings of black-and-white, beat-influenced hipster cinema before a tide of gaudily-coloured, new wave-inspired, pop art films. Ken Hughes, its director, reached back to the pre-war working-class bohemianism so perfectly captured by Graham Greene and Gerald Kersh".[5] The film was based on a 1958 television play written and directed by Ken Hughes which also featured Anthony Newley in the lead.



Music for the film was composed by Kenny Graham; a soundtrack album did not appear at the time of the film's release, but one was later released by Trunk Records in 2013.


The film was a box office disaster and caused Bryanston to lose £80,000.[6]


  1. Petrie, Duncan James (2017). "Bryanston Films : An Experiment in Cooperative Independent Production and Distribution" (PDF). Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television: 7. ISSN 1465-3451.
  2. Petrie p 13
  3. The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963), retrieved 6 June 2017
  5. Pulver, Andrew (8 November 2016). "The great lost London beat thriller: why to watch The Small World of Sammy Lee". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. Petrie p 13
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