In which G.M. Norton looks at the Film Noir ne'er-do-wells.
Since sporting a pencil moustache, I've become fascinated by the 1940s spiv. You know the fellow - hat at a jaunty angle; loud tie; even louder shoes and a pin-stripe suit with lapels so broad, they almost reach the shoulder seams.
A dashing figure, he lives by his wits selling ration coupons, chocolate, cigarettes and nylons.
Yes, they're a small-time crook but they have a romantic charm about them.
Of course, the likes of Flash Harry in the St Trinian's films and Private Walker in Dad's Army are two such loveable rogues that spring to mind.
Before these over-the-top wide boys appeared, the spiv characters were a little darker when portrayed in post-war British films. Please allow me to introduce to you five such characters, some of whom you may already have met.