Shea family storm out of Krays private West End ‘Legend’ film preview
- Credit: Working Titles films
The family of tragic Kray suicide bride Frances stormed out of a private viewing of the movie about the notorious gangsters from London’s East End which is due out next month.
Frances Kray’s namesake niece Frances Shea and great-niece Bonny were watching the preview of Legend at Leicester Square’s Vue cinema when they had “had enough”.
They walked out with just half-an-hour to go on Thursday night during the scene showing Reggie Kray’s wife taking an overdose.
They had also seen Frances being slapped around by an angry Reggie and psychotic twin Ronnie portrayed as “a moron” when those who knew him say he was a sharp crook, despite his mental state.
“The film made Reggie appear like a woman beater,” niece Frances told the East London Advertiser at the screening.
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“Where did they get that from? Reg had years of dealing with Ron on his psychotic pills and loved Frances, but the film makes it look like he ran her into the ground.
“Fran’s suicide scene is disgusting, showing her lying on my bed with blood on her face. I’m just in shock—the whole thing is shady.”
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Frances Shea, now 52, was the Krays’ four-year-old toddler niece who shared her bed with her troubled aunt for a time after she had walked out of the marriage to Reggie and came to stay with her brother Frankie’s family in Hoxton.
The scene showing her lying on the bed the family believe is “pure Hollywood”.
“Bonny was fuming at the whole film,” Shea added. “She was mortified, so we had to leave.”
Director-writer Helgeland’s $30 million Legend blockbuster due for release on September 9 was filmed around Whitechapel and Bethnal Green last summer.
Helgeland did much of the research himself, meeting former gangland figures who worked for the Krays like their ‘Mr Fix It’ Chris Lambrianou, Freddy Foreman who disposed of axe-man Frank Mitchell’s body for them and former Page 3 tabloid pin-up Maureen Flanagan who regularly visited the twins’ mum Violet in Bethnal Green to do her hair.
Bonny Shea, 26, Fran’s brother Frankie Shea’s granddaughter, told the Advertiser: “Helgeland’s film makes out mum’s aunt like she was stupid.
“It also portrays Ron as stupid with a lisp, but he was very sharp and had wit—he wasn’t a stupid person like in the film makes out. He had mental health problems that were misunderstood in the 1960s, but this is 2015.
“Mum and I both left after the scene with Fran’s death—we didn’t need to see the rest.”
They didn’t stay to see Ronnie shoot rival mobster George Cornell in the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel in 1967, nor Reggie stabbing luckless Jack ‘The Hat’ McVittie at a house in Stoke Newington that same year—the murders that eventually brought the Kray twins down at the Old Bailey in 1969, putting them behind bars for the next three decades.