Film Review – REGAN (1974)

Image result for regan 1974REGAN (TV) (UK, 1974) ****
      Distributor: Thames Television; Production Company: Armchair Cinema / Euston Films / Thames Television; Release Date: 4 June 1974; Filming Dates: 6 February 1974 – 5 March 1974; Running Time: 77m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 16mm; Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Tom Clegg; Writer: Ian Kennedy Martin; Executive Producer: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor; Producer: Ted Childs; Associate Producer: Mary Morgan; Director of Photography: John Keeling; Music Composer: Cy Payne (as Mark Duvall); Film Editor: Chris Burt; Casting Director: Lesley De Pettit; Art Director: Jack Robinson; Costumes: Jo Osmond, David Murphy; Make-up: Michael Morris; Sound: Tony Dawe.
      Cast: John Thaw (Det. Insp. Jack Regan), Dennis Waterman (Det. Sgt. George Carter), Lee Montague (Arthur Dale), Garfield Morgan (Det. Chief Insp. Frank Haskins), David Daker (Tusser), Janet Key (Kate Regan), Maureen Lipman (Annie), Morris Perry (Det. Chief Supt. Maynon), Stephen Yardley (Det. Insp. Laker), Barry Jackson (Morton), Miquel Brown (Miriam), Peter Blythe (Peter), Carl Rigg (Det. Sgt. Kent), Michael Da Costa (South), Ron Pember (Landlord), Jonathan Elsom (Interviewer), Betty Woolfe (Mrs. Berry), Seymour Matthews (Doctor), Don Henderson (Strip-Club Heavy), Nancy Gabrielle (Johno’s Wife), Del Baker (Det. Sgt. Cowley).
      Synopsis: A flying squad officer is led a merry dance by gangsters from a London pub and, although he survives a brutal beating ‘get rid of this filth,’ he subsequently dies. Enter John Thaw’s vengeful and unconventional copper Regan.
      Comment: Smart cop thriller for the ITV Armchair Cinema series acted as a pilot for the TV series The Sweeney (1975-8). Thaw is immediately into his stride as DI Regan and Waterman provides good support as Carter, his more thoughtful DS. The plot concerning rival gangs manoeuvering to remove a common problem is nothing new but is written and filmed in a gritty style that was to prove hugely influential on the small screen. Echoes of cinematic greats such as DIRTY HARRY, THE FRENCH CONNECTION and GET CARTER (all 1971) abound with witty and urban dialogue and tough action scenes.

Film Review – SWEENEY 2 (1978)

Image result for sweeney 2 1978SWEENEY 2 (UK, 1978) ***
      Distributor: EMI Distribution; Production Company: Euston Films; Release Date: April 1978; Filming Dates: Novcmber 1977 – December 1977; Running Time: 104m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 18.
      Director: Tom Clegg; Writer: Troy Kennedy-Martin (based on “The Sweeney” created by Ian Kennedy Martin); Executive Producer: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor; Producer: Ted Childs; Associate Producer: ; Director of Photography: Dusty Miller; Music Composer: Tony Hatch; Film Editor: Chris Burt; Casting Director: Marilyn Johnson; Art Director: William Alexander; Costumes: David Murphy; Make-up: Eddie Knight; Sound: Derek Rye, Hugh Strain, Ian Toynton; Special Effects: Arthur Beavis.
      Cast: John Thaw (Det. Insp. Jack Regan), Dennis Waterman (Det. Sgt. George Carter), Denholm Elliott (Jupp), Ken Hutchison (Hill), Anna Gaël (Mrs. Hill), Barry Stanton (Big John), John Flanagan (Willard), David Casey (Goodyear), Derrick O’Connor (Llewellyn), John Alkin (Det. Sgt. Tom Daniels), James Warrior (Det. Con. Jellyneck), Guy Standeven (Logan – Bank Manager), Brian Gwaspari (White), Frederick Treves (McKyle), Johnny Shannon (Harry – Villain), Clifford Kershaw (Gloria’s Father), Toby Salaman (Doctor), Nigel Hawthorne (Dilke), Lewis Fiander (Gorran), Anna Nygh (Shirley Hicks), Michael J. Jackson (Soames), Lynn Dearth (Mrs. White), Fiona Mollison (Mrs. Haughton), Sarah Atkinson (Mrs. Mead), John Lyons (Mead), Brian Hall (Haughton), Matthew Scurfield (Jefferson), Gareth Milne (Bank Teller), Sebastian Witkin (Skateboarder), Hubert Rees (Bank Manager), George Innes (Pete Beale), Roddy McMillan (Collie), Michael O’Hagan (Doyle), Arthur Cox (Detective), Georgina Hale (Switchboard Girl), Patrick Malahide (Major Conway), Max Mason (SPG Constable), Frank Coda (Commissionaire), Yvon Doval (Mr. Mahmoun), Jim McManus (Barman), John Vine (PC), David Gillies (PC), Seretta Wilson (Girl), Diana Weston (Air Hostess), George Mikell (Superintendent), Marc Zuber (Andy), Joe Zammit-Cardona (Customs Official), Leon Lissek (Cardona Alexandros), Marilyn Finlay (School Teacher), Seymour Matthews (Harry – Fingerprint Man), Stefan Gryff (Nino), Michael Scholes (Boy in Bed), Danny Rae (Taxi Driver), Rosario Serrano (Mrs. Konstantikis), Eamonn Jones (Barman), Alan Ross (Fiddler).
      Synopsis: Second cinematic spin-off from the popular 70’s police series. Regan & Carter head a Flying Squad investigation into a series of bank raids by a team of well-armed villains who are flying in from the continent
      Comment: This follow-up to the first big-screen outing for Thaw and Waterman in SWEENEY! (1977) is a tough and violent story of the pursuit of a gang of bank robbers who are funding a residential development in Malta. The story stretches its running time and contains a lot of padding – including a bomb threat segment in a hotel that has no other reason to be in the story. That said it works slightly better than the first film as it is more closely linked to the style and characters of the TV series. Thaw and Waterman have established a strong rapport and there is a “fly-on-the-wall” documentary feel to the way the story is filmed, adding to the levels of authenticity. However, there is less in the way of character progression and the whole thing amounts to little more than an extended, albeit enjoyable, episode of the series.
      Notes: As seen through Denholm Elliott’s character, The Sweeney was not afraid to face the fact that there are such things as bent officers. The character was based on a real-life former head of the Flying Squad, who had been convicted at the Old Bailey on corruption charges in 1977.

Film Review – SWEENEY! (1977)

Related imageSWEENEY! (UK, 1977) ***
      Distributor: EMI Distribution; Production Company: Euston Films; Release Date: 20 January 1977; Filming Dates: April 1976 – May 1976; Running Time: 97m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: ; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 18.
      Director: David Wickes; Writer: Ranald Graham (based on The Sweeney created by Ian Kennedy Martin); Executive Producer: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor; Producer: Ted Childs; Director of Photography: Dusty Miller; Music Composer: Denis King; Film Editor: Chris Burt; Casting Director: Marilyn Johnson; Art Director: William Alexander; Set Decorator: ; Costumes: David Murphy; Make-up: Michael Morris; Sound: Tony Dawe, Clive Smith; Special Effects: Arthur Beavis.
      Cast: John Thaw (D.I. Jack Regan), Dennis Waterman (D.S. George Carter), Barry Foster (Elliott McQueen), Ian Bannen (Charles Baker), Colin Welland (Frank Chadwick), Diane Keen (Bianca Hamilton), Michael Coles (Johnson), Joe Melia (Ronnie Brent), Brian Glover (Mac), Lynda Bellingham (Janice Wyatt), Morris Perry (Flying Squad Cdr. Maynon), Paul Angelis (Secret Serviceman), Nick Brimble (D.S. Burtonshaw), John Alkin (D.S. Tom Daniels), Bernard Kay (Matthews), Antony Scott (Johnson’s Henchman), Antony Brown (Murder Inquiry Supt.), John Oxley (Chadwick’s Deputy Editor), Peggy Aitchison (Carter’s Neighbour), Hal Jeayes (Manservant), Sally Osborne (Sally), John Kane (Special Branch Sgt.), Chris Dillinger (Johnson’s Henchman), Peter Childs (Murder Inquiry Insp.), Alan Mitchell (Detective Insp.), Leonard Kavanagh (Pathologist), Anthony Woodruff (Coroner), Michael Latimer (P.P.S.), Matthew Long (Traffic Police Sgt.), Joyce Grant (McQueen’s Secretary), Johnny Shannon (Scotland Yard Duty Sgt.), David Corti (Young Boy), Susan Valentine (Chadwick’s Secretary (as Susan Skipper)), Nadim Sawalha (Chairman of the Oil Producers’ Conference).
      Synopsis: Hard-bitten Flying Squad officer Jack Regan gets embroiled in a deadly political plot when an old friend asks him to investigate the death of his girlfriend.
      Comment: Typical of its time in its political incorrectness, violent action and seeking out corruption in the higher echelons of government. Thaw and Waterman more than adequately carry forward their small-screen portrayals. Foster and Keen are impressive in the supporting cast. Whilst the plot is an interesting play on the Profumo affair of the early 1960s it somehow fails to deliver satisfactorily. The action scenes are well-directed and the crew of the TV series all play their part. The shocking finale is well-executed and played out.
      Notes: Based on the TV series The Sweeney (1974-8) and followed by SWEENEY 2 (1978) and an updated adaptation in 2012.