30 June 2016 | Leofwine_draca
Very good British crime film
THE SHAKEDOWN is a fine British thriller and one of the best B-movie crime films I've seen from the era. It's a film blessed with a strong cast of familiar faces and an interesting, atypical storyline that's much, much more than your usual detective-pursues-robbers type tale from this era. The action is centred in and around a photography studio, where an ex-con has apparently gone straight after serving a long jail term. However, the studio is a front for something much more sinister, and the police are baffled on how to proceed.
The underrated star Terence Morgan (CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB) takes the main protagonist lead as a character you love to hate. Certainly he has much more depth of character than is usual for a stock villain in these films, and you even end up admiring his bravado at some points. The rest of the (excellent) cast includes the lovely Hazel Court as a top model, Bill Owen as a ne'er-do-well, Robert Beatty as the detective, Donald Pleasence as an alcoholic photographer, Eddie Byrne as a barman, Gene Anderson as a gangster's moll, Harry H. Corbett as a criminal, Paul Whitsun-Jones as a boozer, Edward Judd as a barber, and the likes of Angela Douglas and Jackie Collins as young models. That cast alone is rather incredible.
The cherry on top is really the quality of the script, by director John Lemont (of KONGA infamy) and Leigh Vance (WITNESS IN THE DARK). It twists and turns all over the place and even if you have some idea of what the ending is going to be, you've never quite sure what's going to take place along the way. The sequence in which Morgan robs his former accomplices is my favourite moment and a real highlight in an undeservedly forgotten minor film.