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The Siege of Sidney Street

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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The Siege of Sidney Street
Theatrical Release Poster
Country UKD.jpg UK
Directed by Robert S. Baker
Monty Berman
Release Date 1960
Language English
Studio Rank Pictures
Distributor Regal Films International
Main Cast
Character Actor
Inspector Mannering Donald Sinden
Peter the Painter Peter Wyngarde
Toska Kieron Moore

The Siege of Sidney Street was a 1960 British thriller based on the events surrounding the infamous Siege of Sidney Street (also known as the Battle of Stepney) in January 1911 when over 200 armed London policemen cornered a group of Latvian anarchists inside the house at No. 100 Sidney Street. The film brings the myth of "Peter the Painter", a legendary anarchist who may or may not have even existed, to life as a romantic failed artist who lost his 18-year-old son to "the cause".

The film spans the time from the Tottenham Outrage in January 1909 through the Houndsditch murders in December 1910 right up until the titular Siege of Sidney Street on January 3, 1911.

The following firearms were used in the 1960 film The Siege of Sidney Street:

Double-barreled shotgun

During the Siege of Sidney Street, many London policemen fire at the anarchists with hammerless side-by-side shotguns, as they did in real life. However, while not shown in the film, the shotguns in real life were supplied during the battle by a local gunsmith.

1960s Era Commercial Stevens hammerless side by side shotgun - 12 Gauge.
A policeman is handed a shotgun and a box of shells on Sidney Street.
A policeman aims at the anarchists holed up on Sidney Street.
A policeman fires his shotgun from an alleyway.
A policeman takes aim with his shotgun.

Webley .455 Mk IV

Many London policemen, including Inspector Mannering (Donald Sinden), Sgt. Withers, and Scotland Yard Superintendent Blakey (Godfrey Quigley) carry Webley Mk IV revolvers chambered in .455 Webley.

In 1911, the London police had very few weapons at their disposal. Most that had revolvers at Sidney Street carried gate-loading Webleys chambered in .450 Adams, some of which had lingered unused in station arsenals for almost thirty years. The Siege of Sidney Street and the superior firepower of Svaars and Sokoloff led to the London police adoption of the .32-caliber Webley & Scott semi-automatic pistol.

Webley Mk IV - .455 Webley
Mannering enters a country house with his Webley drawn.
Blakey fires his Webley.
A detective breaks open his unloaded Webley in front of a beggar to prove a point.
A policeman fires his Webley from an alleyway
A plainclothes detective aims his Webley at the house on Sidney Street.

Walther P38

The Walther P38 is the unofficial (and anachronistic) star of the film, featuring in the hands of most Latvian gang members, including "Peter the Painter" Piaktow (Peter Wyngarde), Alex Svaars (Leonard Sachs), Toska (Kieron Moore), Lapidos (T.P. McKenna), Carl Gardstein (Maurice Good), and Hefeld (James Caffrey). Hefeld and Lapidos are shown using Walther P38s during the Tottenham Outrage in 1909. In real life, Helfeld and Lepidus - as their names were actually spelled - carried an FN Model 1900 and a Bergmann 1894, respectively.

As its name suggests, the P38 was developed in 1938 in preparation for World War II and thus would be very anachronistic for a film set in 1910-1911. It likely stands in for the Mauser C96, which gained a reputation for its real life use in the Houndsditch Murders and the Siege of Sidney Street.

Walther P38 pistol (manufactured at the Mauser Factory) - World War II dated - 9x19mm
During the Tottenham Outrage, Lapidos's Walther P38 remains open after firing a single shot.
Lapidos aims at his pursuers.
Hefeld cradles a puppy and a Walther P38.
During the Houndsditch Murders, a fellow anarchist's gunshot blast illuminates Svaars, standing in the doorway of No. 11 in Houndsditch with his P38 drawn. In real life, it was Yakov Peters firing a Dreyse pistol from this doorway. The film also portrays Toska (Joseph Sokoloff in real life) firing his P38 at the top of the stairs. In real life, this was George Gardstein with a Mauser C96.
Toska preps his P38s prior to battle.
Toska fires at the police during the Siege of Sidney Street.
Peter fires at the police during the Siege of Sidney Street.

Mauser C96 "Red 9"

The Mauser C96 "Red 9", which obtained its "Peter the Painter" nickname from the anarchist portrayed in the film, is seen very briefly unloaded from a kit bag. Svaars (Leonard Sachs) takes it out of the bag and hands it to Toska (Kieron Moore), who begins aiming it around the room with joy. However, both are armed with P38s later. Peter never actually handles the gun in the film. In real life, it was a standard 7.63 mm Mauser C96 that was used in the crimes.

Mauser C96 "Red 9" - 9x19mm.
Svaars unwraps the C96. The "Red 9" designation is visible on the grips.
At the far left corner of the screen, Toska aims the C96 around the room as Svaars hands a P38 to Gardstein.

FN Browning M1900

Svaars (Leonard Sachs) hands a FN Browning Model 1900 to Peter (Peter Wyngarde) from his retrieved kit bag. Mannering later tells Blakey that he spied a "Browning automatic" in the gang's arsenal.

In real life, Svaars and Sokoloff ("Toska" in the film) used FN Browning Model 1910 pistols during the Siege of Sidney Street, in addition to the Mauser C96.

FN Model 1900, .32 ACP
"Peter the Painter" checks his FN M1900.

Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III*

As the Siege of Sidney Street grows more intense, the Scots Guards, armed with Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* rifles, arrives on the scene.

Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* - .303 British
Scots Guards show up with Lee-Enfield rifles.
Scots Guards fire their rifles at the anarchists.

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