Convicted murderer Harry Lomart (Oliver Reed) escapes from prison with cell mate Birdie Williams (Ian McShane) in order to kill his wife (Jill St John) who has been unfaithful and has got herself pregnant in the process. Lomart also uses the opportunity to settle old scores with figures from London's underworld who grassed on him before skipping the country with £200,000 he has hidden away in an abandoned movie house. But, who is Pat's new lover and is he closer to Lomart than he actually realises?
Violent and brutal crime drama in the wake of Get Carter (1971) and, while it cannot even hope to match the quality of that seminal movie, it benefits from the direction of Douglas Hickox who manages to stage some exciting action scenes and makes maximum uses of the locations including around the Clapham area of London and the prison scenes (shot in two Irish jails) creating a genuine sense of realism and add to the hard hitting action sequences. Films like this make one regret that the director's talents were not used more consistently in the British cinema. The script by Alexander Jacobs is at times difficult to follow but the cast of British TV regulars such as Edward Woodward, Ian McShane. Frank Finlay, Mike Pratt and Freddie Jones also contribute to the enjoyment of this meaty but underrated thriller.
Reed is totally convincing as the escaped convict alternating between outright thuggery and a softer and more compassionate side to his character while Jill St John, the imported American leading lady who is best known for her role in the Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever, is only moderately effective in her part.
18 out of 22 found this helpful