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01/09/2015 09:24 BST | Updated 30/08/2016 06:59 BST

The Krays: Back For Bad

Have you had a tough few days? Are you stressed out, pent up and ready to kill? Then perhaps what you really need is a little bit of R&R. But forget all thoughts of rest and relaxation and that masseuse at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park - merciless though her deep tissue massage is - and head instead to your local multiplex. Because 46 years after being banged up, Ronnie and Reggie (serious R&R indeed), better known as the Krays, are about to be released.

Ruling over London's East End in the 1960s with a mixture of charitable benevolence and fear, they were memorably released, cinematically, at least, once before in 1990 in the eponymous film of their rise and fall.

All the same, a lot has happened in a quarter of a century. For a start, Ron and Reg are now long since gone; the former having died of a heart attack in 1995 and the latter succumbing to cancer in 2000, only five short weeks after being let out of prison on compassionate grounds.

Knowing that they were six feet under must surely have been a deciding factor, not to mention a huge comfort for those brave/stupid enough to audition for the starring roles in the 2015 remake.

Had the (in)famous gangsters remained with us, one can only imagine the performance notes coming out of Broadmoor and Maidstone. "Having seen the daily rushes, Mr. Kray and Mr. Kray kindly request that they are portrayed in future takes with a little more sympathy. Or else". In any actor's shoes, I'd have found it hard to resist not making them both come over as a slightly softer and more good-hearted version of Gladys Aylward, played by Ingrid Bergman in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.

The upcoming Legend (nationwide from September 9), directed by the celebrated screenwriter, Brian Helgeland, sees a single man in the two main parts. If the trailer and advance reviews are anything to go by, Tom Hardy is a revelation, just as he was in 2008 when he took on the part of the notorious serial offender, Charles Bronson.

Now is it me or has Bronson always seemed like a circus psychopath and not quite the genuine crazy article when compared to the truly certifiable Ronnie? On the off chance that Charles is reading this blog, I should bring to his attention that I too have changed my name to someone more celebrated and from here on in shall be known as Gore Vidal and will be residing in the Outer Hebrides.

While hugely entertaining, it could be asked whether the story of the Krays is one that needs to be told again, albeit from a slightly different angle? After all, the original movie won many plaudits with some great performances, not merely from the leads, but from the whole supporting cast.

Gary and Martin Kemp as Ronnie and Reggie respectively delighted critics and audiences alike, who had previously only seen them as a couple of preening new romantic pop stars. Unsurprisingly, they weren't acted off the screen by a host of co-stars, including the wonderful Billie Whitelaw as Violet Kray, Kate Hardie as the frail and tragic Frances Shea who subsequently committed suicide once Reggie married her and Steven Berkoff as George Cornell who Ronnie shot at the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel after Cornell called him a fat poof. It was the word 'fat' I think Ron objected to.

Then there was Tom Bell as the gloriously sleazy and slimy Jack ''The Hat' McVitie and the simply magical Jimmy Jewel as Cannonball Lee, the twin's grandfather.

In the latest version, we get a whole slew of other characters played with relish by the elite of our present thespian firmament. Among them, Paul Bettany (no novice to the British crime genre since he was the star of the brutal Gangster No. 1) as Charlie Richardson; head of the main rival gang at the time, Christopher Eccleston as Leonard 'Nipper' Read the detective who helped bring down the pair and Kevin McNally as Harold Wilson. Here, we even have Aneurin Barnard as David Bailey, Samantha Pearl as Shirley Bassey and Millie Brady as Joan Collins. It was the delicious combination of celebrity, politics and violence that unquestionably made the Krays the media darlings they were and remain so to this day.

Plainly with more of an eye on the American market than its predecessor and with Oscar glory firmly in its sight, a homegrown audience will also find much to enjoy and it will definitely be a big box office hit. And if it's not, well, the financial backers can always try seeking out one of the firm's old members to carry out a hit on the producers.

Of course, the Krays continue to fascinate for the very same reason that the Great Train Robbers and to a lesser extent, the recent Hatton Garden thieves do. There's a glamour to them that we find irresistible. Secretly maybe we all want to be them, if only we had the confidence to get away with their crimes and our moral compasses were similarly a little off.

Seeing this movie will once again cause many to lament the passing of the former East End. And it's sadly true that this particular part of the capital certainly isn't what it used to be. The locals are now an uneasy mix of hipsters, Muslims and old residents of yesteryear who continue to hang outside the couple of remaining down at heel pubs, which still ply their trade while they wait for inevitable gentrification. Blink your eyes just enough and those wrinkled Bethnal Birds, as I term them, could be 50 years younger and wearing mini skirts. And hold on isn't that elder brother, Charlie Kray propping up the bar?

These days, Ron and Reg would unfortunately hardly recognise their old stomping, shooting, stabbing ground. Yes, Vallance Road where they moved to in 1938 is still there. Currently, however, a three bedroom terraced house, similar to the one they lived in will set homebuyers back nigh on £1 million.

You suspect the Krays would turn in their graves upon learning that the scariest thing about the area is no longer them, but the property prices.