Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on July 29th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1963
Director: Lance Comfort
Writer: Pip & Jane Baker
Cast: Tony Britton, William Lucas, Eddie Byrne, Robert Urquhart, Sonia Dresdel, Edwin Richfield, Gene Anderson.
DVD released: July 26th, 2010
Approximate running time: 72 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £12.99
Dangerous criminal Jocko Thomas (William Lucas) escapes police custody, murdering a couple of coppers in the process. Meanwhile disillusioned writer Greg Parker (Tony Britton) makes his way to a secluded B&B out in the country for some peace and quiet. When he gets there however he is harassed by a private eye sent by his soon to be ex-wife and then things really take a turn for the worst as fugitive Jocko turns up to meet his sister and a suitcase full of cash before making a dash for France via the B&B owner’s channel smuggling operation. But Greg has fallen for the psycho’s sister by then and things are going to get messy!
First ever DVD release of this lost British crime classic. Lance Comfort is the man behind the camera, a somewhat prolific director that churned out dozens of films in the 40’s, worked in TV on the likes of Ivanhoe and gave us quite a few 60’s crime thrillers and horrors such as Devils Of Darkness from 1965, his last film unfortunately as he passed away shortly thereafter at the age of 58. Written by husband and wife scribbling team Pip & Jane Baker, probably most famous for creating some of the most truly awful episodes of 1980’s Dr Who. The cast features familiar faces aplenty from renowned UK classical stage star Tony Britton as the silk man-scarf wearing unlikely literary action-man protagonist to veteran UK character actor Robert Urquhart doing an excellent turn as the dodgy private eye to William Lucas as the crazy-eyed, sweaty-browed, murderous fugitive. Britton and Lucas are still working away on UK TV today both in their late 80’s!
An effective little noir-lite thriller this, only in 60’s Britain could you create a story set out in the remote Dartmoor countryside featuring in-bred bible-bashing yokels, deaf/mute servants, welly and dufflecoat wearing villains and a slutty waitress which combined with an escaped killer on the loose makes for a charming, yes charming, tale of murder and suspense. The hero is a middle-aged, silk cravat wearing, world famous writer; perennially carrying a glass of whiskey in one hand and a fag in the other, utter bloody genius! The story trots along at a good pace, never leaving the viewer bored, with a short run-time that helps considerably. The score is ridiculously over the top for the most part with implied love scenes or moments of danger causing trumpet blasts that almost made me spill my pint. Hitchcock this ain’t but it made for a delightful, graceful look at 60’s UK crime cinema that I thoroughly enjoyed.
In it’s original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 fullframe the picture is excellent overall considering it’s age and despite some very minimal print damage and specks of dirt that are fairly unnoticeable. Good detail, excellent contrast levels. The mono audio track is clean and clear, with the thumping orchestral soundtrack coming through perfectly and well balanced with the dialog.
Extras include a bevy of original theatrical trailers for more titles in Odeon Entertainment’s Best Of British Collection namely; Brass Monkey, Dilemma, Don’t Talk To Strange Men, Dr Terrors House Of Horrors, Girl In The Headlines, Spare The Rod, The Man On The Eiffel Tower and Tomorrow At Ten.