KRAY FILM: Legend gets twins’ voices wrong—claims man who secretly taped them in jail
- Credit: Working Title Films
An ex-Fleet Street journalist who managed to record the Krays on tape when they were behind bars has criticised the film Legend portraying the gangster twins who terrorised London’s East End in the 1950s and 60s.
Best-selling author Robin McGibbon, who met Ronnie and Reggie after ghost-writing their brother Charlie’s life story, reckons the film lacks a crucial element—their unique style of voices.
He recorded the twins on tape secretly when he visited them in prison.
“The twins had distinctive, quiet, thin, reedy voices—which made them all the more chilling,” he reveals.
“But Tom Hardy who plays them on screen does nothing to recreate this.
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“Everyone knows how vicious the Krays were in the East End—but few know they how they spoke and how their ineffectual voices didn’t match their fearsome image.”
Movie director Brian Helgeland said in an exclusive East London Advertiser interview last month that he was proud of how he portrayed the Krays as “film heroes”—but not making excuses for their murders, extortion and racketeering.
He also spoke of having given “a voice” Reggie’s tragic wife Frances, who took her own life in 1967 to escape her gangster marriage.
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That didn’t make good reading for McGibbon.
“The most significant facet in light of her tragic death was her nervous disposition,” he responds. “But the film overlooks this.
Frances was always highly-strung. She had two nervous breakdowns as a teenager.”
McGibbon visited Reg and Ron many times from 1985 up to Ronnie’s death in March, 1995. He recorded Reg on the phone from various high-security prisons and taped Ronnie in Broadmoor’s visiting hall.
“They reveal how vastly different the twins were from each other,” McGibbon recalls. “Reg was always hyped up, as though he was on ‘speed’. I always came away feeling drained and on edge.
“Ronnie was laid-back, because of his medication, and far more likeable. We warmed to each other the moment we met.
“He was very open about his sexuality. Ron also revealed for the first time on tape why he shot dead George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel.
“It’s gone down in folklore that he did it because Cornell called him a ‘fat poof’, but Ronnie explains that wasn’t the case.”
The Kray Tapes (Right Recordings) are now on Amazon: £14.95.