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  • Under-appreciated British crime thriller with antisocial characters and an antisocial plot: a convict finds out his wife is pregnant by another man, so he busts out of prison to hunt her down with every intention of killing her. No time wasted on "redeeming" characters. No goofy humor or chase scenes through clubs playing bad, dated music. Just a spare, tense study of two vicious men (Oliver Reed, Ian McShane) hot on the trail of a treacherous moll (Jill St. John). A nemesis detective (Edward Woodward) tries to intervene, but never fouls the nihilistic tone. Solid performances and one of Reed's best as an uber-thug who does push-ups on the ceiling of his jail cell, is sitting on a volcano, and only lets on what he has to, even to his partner. The script does the same thing, imparting information on a need-to-know basis, doing so smoothly as it races toward Hell. All in the back-lots and stygian prisons of a cold, drab London, with a musical score by Stanley Myers that perfectly enhances the story and mood. A must for fans of seventies crime thrillers, British or otherwise, that take no prisoners.
  • Excellent old revenge movie from a time when Britain still made movies that didn't involve period costumes or floppy haired smiles!

    Ian "Lovejoy" McShane and the Late Oliver Reed bust out of prison, with the sole purpose of killing Reeds Wife (Jill St John) who wants a divorce. The film is relentless in its portrayal of Reed as a cold blooded man with a single deadly purpose, yet still shows him simmering with a pent up violent rage that cant wait to explode into violence at any time.

    I have heard many call this movie a poor-mans version of "Get Carter", but that tag does it a serious injustice. Gritty, Dark, Bleak and Brutal (for its time) something about this movie keeps me watching it 30+ years after its release.

    Stylish, Original, and highly recommended, especially if you are sick of "Feel Good" cliches.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As brutal and bleak as you're like to find in an early 70s British crime thriller. Director Douglas Hickox pulls no punches with this balls-to-the-wall potboiler. Oliver Reed has a plethora of anger management issues, mostly directed at unfaithful wife Jill St. John. He doesn't allow prison walls to stop him from getting to her. He breaks out with an assist from sleazy fellow con Ian McShane. It's an unrelentingly depressing film with Reed in top form and McShane every inch his squalid equal. Hicokox's direction is dynamite (the prison break is a nail biter). Jill St. John affects a slight English accent, never overdoing it and is quite convincing. She's also a knockout, making it easier to see why the demented Reed goes to such lengths to get to her. The cinematography is by Edward Scaife, who shot everything from the Connie Francis vehicle FOLLOW THE BOYS to the WWII classic THE DIRTY DOZEN. The supporting cast includes Frank Finley and the great Edward Woodward.
  • The main character in "Sitting Target" is Harry Lomart, a convict serving a lengthy jail term, who learns that his attractive young wife Pat has not only cheated on him with another man but is also expecting that man's baby. Lomart, infuriated, swears revenge; together with another inmate, Birdy, he breaks out of jail with the intention of killing Pat and her lover before fleeing the country.

    The film has some similarities with another British crime drama from the early seventies, "Get Carter", which came out the previous year. Both are gritty gangster dramas with a revenge theme, concentrating on the criminals themselves rather than on the police's fight against crime. In films like this there is no honour among thieves; one gangster's worst enemy is often another gangster rather than a policemen. In keeping with the permissive ethos of the era both films treat violence graphically, far more graphically than would have been permitted only a decade earlier. Both were shot on location ("Get Carter" in the North-East, "Sitting Target" in South London) and have a strong sense of place. And yet, unlike another reviewer, I cannot but find myself in agreement with those who have characterised "Sitting Target"as a poor man's "Get Carter".

    Not all the acting is particularly good, especially from the former Bond girl Jill St John who seems miscast as Pat. (This was her first film after "Diamonds are Forever"; presumably the producers felt they needed a big-name American star to help with overseas sales). Like a number of foreign, especially American, actors, she makes the mistake of assuming that all British people speak with the same "posh" accent and that mastering this accent is all one needs to do in order to portray a British character convincingly, regardless of social background. (Others who have fallen into the same trap include Natalie Portman in "V for Vendetta" and even Meryl Streep in "The French Lieutenant's Woman"). Jill might have done better to drop the accent altogether; it is far more conceivable that a South London villain might have married an American girl than that he might have married a Roedean-educated débutante, which is what she sounds like here.

    Oliver Reed is better; although his Lomart may lack the depth of some of his other performances from this period, such as his Grandier in Ken Russell's "The Devils", he does at least make the character convincingly thuggish, a man whose every move is driven by anger and resentment. Unlike Michael Caine's Jack Carter, who hides his violent nature beneath a veneer of stylish sophistication, with Lomart what you see is what you get. There is nothing stylish or sophisticated about him.

    The film moves along at a swift pace, although it does perhaps get over-complicated in the second half, as it becomes progressively more violent and moves towards an explosive finale. It never, however, achieves the depth or significance of "Get Carter", a sort of anti-"Godfather" which demythologises the criminal lifestyle. "Sitting Target", by contrast is a brutal and nasty crime thriller, if occasionally an effective one, exploiting the violence it purports to condemn. 5/10
  • There were a number of brutal thrillers made in Britain in the early 70s ("Get Carter" and "Villain" were others) and this may be the nastiest of the lot. There are few likeable characters and a lot of unpleasant violence in the film, although it can boast a strong cast and stylish direction from the underrated Hickox, who made the excellent (if equally violent) "Theatre of Blood" the following year.
  • bushtony10 June 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    Dynamically superb British crime thriller from the early seventies that bleeds a thrilling and marvellously evocative atmosphere with a high degree of ruthless style and punch.

    The all-out action and brutality literally pulsates from the screen in a number of suspense-filled set pieces - from the nail-biting prison break to the almost surreal shoot out with motorcycle cops amidst urban washing lines and flapping white bedsheets to the climactic chase and explosive finale.

    Oliver Reed gives a masterclass performance of seething rage and psychotic obsession as Harry Lomart. Harry is a hardened career criminal on a long prison stretch. When his wife Pat pays him a visit and confesses that she is pregnant by another man and leaving him, Harry's measured, reasoned and quietly philosophical response is to smash through the security glass and try to strangle her to death.

    Breaking out of prison with his partner and friend Birdy (Ian McShane) he has two aims in life - to retrieve the plunder he stashed from his last job and to kill his unfaithful wife.

    It becomes almost a bleak and twisted urban road trip - using waterways and trains and transit vans - for the two cons who leave a trail death and destruction in their wake in and around London.

    SITTING TARGET represents one of a random new wave of British thriller in the early to late seventies that includes GET CARTER, VILLAIN, CALLAN and latterly THE LONG GOOD Friday. Taking cues from American counterparts, it transplants mob/gangland action to the less than glamorous setting of a United Kingdom that is polluted by mass industrialisation, dominated by slums and monolithic concrete high rises and scabbed by wide open spaces of rubble-strewn wastelands. SITTING TARGET absolutely rocks.

    Reed is stunning, giving a no-holds barred and utterly naked portrayal that reminds what a powerhouse talent he was back then. McShane, Jill St. John and Edward Woodward lend solid support. The screenplay is practically Shakespearean in essence complete with drama, violence, action, betrayal and dark inevitable tragedy. You just know it isn't going to end well - and it doesn't. For anyone. And that's great.

    This is another of those films that simply screams out for an uncut DVD/BluRay release/remaster. To date this has inexplicably failed to materialise. It pops up now and again on TCM, the only venue I'm aware of for anyone seeking a viewing. As a key British crime thriller and a resonant document of a time and place, it deserves much better. It's a crime...really.
  • A dramatic story of revenge and doublecrossing, as a criminal breaks out of jail and set out to kill his cheating wife. Just an appetizer for that great Michael Caine-thriller "Get Carter"(1971) from which it seems inspired. Not surprisingly -like "Carter"- in the end no one seem to win, reminding us on that old saying about digging your own grave. But it does have it's moments; like the escape scene, the biker cops and the laundry, and the car wrecking scene. A fine cast as well, including Edward Woodward as the cop out to protect St.John from Reed's wrath.
  • I really fell for this movie when I saw it on TCM. A simple, straight forward, almost ordinary story but this movie is much more memorable thanks to it's stylish direction and good cast. A very intense movie. To me it's just as good as the more known "get carter" from the same era.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The British sure knew how to deliver gut-punching, bittersweet crime- thrillers in the 70s and "Sitting Target" easily ranks up there as one the best. Convicted killer Harry Lomart and his fellow inmate Birdy Williams break out of prison, where Harry only has one thing on mind. To exterminate his unfaithful wife who before breaking out asked for a divorce, since she met someone else, was pregnant and couldn't wait any longer for Harry to serve his time. Harry and Birdy plan out their actions and go about trying to get some money of their former criminal partners. Also on their trail is police inspector Milton, who originally caught Harry and is determined to protect the hunted woman.

    At heart the focused plot (adapted from Laurence Henderson's novel) is a simple, but well done revenge story fuelled on by Oliver Reed's assertively grim and snarling performance. It's a turn of torment, but lusting with aggression as Reed goes about his dogged, unpleasant business. Working alongside him is the outstanding Ian McShane. He brings a certain smarmy and self-assured presence that calculatedly fits, which makes his character somewhat hard to read. The combination between the two was very dependable and the relationship believable which makes the fanatical twist very hard-hitting as things are not quite what they seem, although it's not that unforeseeable. The drama then thickens leading to a furious climax. Jill St. John is splendid as Harry's wife and a steadfast Edward Woodward makes the most of his straight-up police inspector role. Also making appearances are Frank Finley, Freddie Jones, Robert Beatty and the ever enticing Jill Townsend.

    Director Douglas Hickox brings to the table a stark, harsh reality with its rough violence, gritty London locations and compact pacing. There's plenty of character drama stemming from its tough, but distinct script that when it came to the short bursts of action (which is carefully placed and orchestrated), it does pack a wallop on the emotional front, as you feel every last drop. Innovative camera angles stem from Edward Scaife's cinematography of a brooding backdrop and Stanley Myers' magnificent music score is truly baiting in its unhinged instrumental tones.

    "Sitting Target" is a raw, no-bull revenge yarn with many striking contributions.

    "We're doing everything together, like always".
  • This little known film has many aspects that make it stand out from other violent crime films of the 70s. There is stylish photography and music. Some well known stars in unusual roles (eg Jill St John lives next door to June Brown!) and a plot where characters have obscure motivations that even they cannot seem to fathom. This results in some very intense scenes. The ending is too melodramatic but there are many images that remain vivid and make this film worth watching more than once.
  • With a gossamer wing-span, this curiosity from the early 70's is a quirky hybrid of Demetrius and the Gladiators versus Darker than Amer. Flight of fancy aside, the determination of this director JUST TO GET THIS RELEASED must have been mind-boggling. Without Jill St. John as his muse, Mr. O. Reed would have canoed upstream without his proverbial paddle.

    Shocking one instant, lovingly discerning the next, this mild upgrade of post-War alienation seems to say escape is all there is for this Bluto-type force of nature with plenty of rope on hand. He just won't give up his sense of "Come and get me, (warden, coppers)"! He's there when he needs to be or so it seems. Justice is a foreign word when bad haircuts and razor-thin wit run the terrain. References to St. Matthew would hardly seem out of order. Tough and grinding like a Mac Truck. A relentless 8 out of 10 for a special "action" flick. Reminiscent of Get Carter, but a bit more brutal on the senses. Highly recommended
  • To this day SITTING TARGET is one of the most bleak and disturbingly violent thrillers Britain has ever produced . I remember watching this one TV in the early 1980s and being slightly shocked as to how nihilistic it all was . If there's any type of message in this film it's that there's no honour amongst thieves and that it's bad news to drive a motorcycle while the petrol tank explodes . It's also one of the few British films to show the mind numbing living death of long term imprisonment and this alone makes it worth watching . It's also interesting to note that Ian McShane is playing a villain . It might not be surprising casting with hindsight since we'll all remember McShane for his scene stealing role in DEADWOOD but before that HBO series he was always cast as likable good guys
  • Incarcerated thug Oliver Reed breaks himself, his crime partner, and another cell mate out of a maximum security prison in England; he's after his wayward wife, who has announced her desire to divorce Reed to be with another man and have his child. Occasionally confusing or confounding drama with indecipherable dialogue (at least to the untrained ear) and a twist finish that is more ridiculous than clever. After an obtuse start, director Douglas Hickox keeps the pace bristling with violence or the threat of violence, while brooding Reed and buddy Ian McShane are a fine tough-guy pair. The cinematography, art direction, and editing are all quite stylish, and fans of the crime genre will enjoy it, but the female characters are batted about like useless playthings and Edward Woodward has a thankless role as an inspector who's never around when needed. ** from ****
  • This is one rather odd but also yet somewhat enjoyable '70's flick.

    Main problem I had with this movie was it's incredibly simplistic story about an escaped convict (Oliver Reed) getting revenge on his wife (Jill St. John) after she cheated on him with another man and got herself pregnant while he was in jail. It's an unlikely as well as an uninteresting main story-line that just never really gets of the ground, also since the movie at times suffer from some pacing problems. Some sequences in the movie just last too long, for instance such as the escape sequences that could had been wrapped up in 5-10 minutes but instead they really take their time for it and it last about twice as long.

    The movie gets filled with some unlikely elements and silly plot twists in the end. It doesn't really help to make this movie a better watch and even makes this a totally bad and embarrassing movie to watch at times.

    But it's a typical '70's flick, with typical '70's elements in it, which means that it has some redeeming qualities. '70's movies are always just something more special to watch. This movie does feature some good experimental camera-work at times and has a gritty straight-forward kind of approach and atmosphere, which is also real typical for a British '70's gangster-flick. The movie is at its best when it features some action in it. Not that it's anything too big and spectacular but it gets simply brought well to the screen.

    Somethings it feels like watching the movie as if like halve of the scripted sequences didn't got filmed, which is also probably true, due to most likely budgeting reasons. This is an obviously cheaply made movie and it also shouldn't had cost too much money to make it. Some scenes don't always flow well because you have the sense that there simply was not enough editing material to work with. This also causes the movie to make some sudden jumps at times.

    But oh well, at least it still has Oliver Reed in it, which also somewhat uplifts the movie. Not that he plays the best role out of his career or anything but it's enough to still keep this a still somewhat enjoyable watch. The movie also features Jill St. John right after her Bond girl role in the movie "Diamonds Are Forever". She never really has been my favorite Bond girl though...

    Odd little '70's flick that is still somewhat watchable, thanks to its redeeming, typical '70's, qualities.

  • lordwhorfin3 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    It would be easy to dismiss this film as mindless tosh with a shallow attempt at deep subtext, but that would be way too easy.

    This is a hard man's film. Unlike other attempts (Get Carter, McVicar, the more-recent Kray brothers film), it feels almost like watching found-footage. The reasons are two-fold: Reed and McShane. Reed surpasses his usual scenery-chewing with moments of stillness so menacing that he joins Di Nero in 'Taxi Driver,' Michael Rooker in 'Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer' and Ben Kingsley in 'Sexy Beast' as truly terrifying. Far from over-the-top his moments of rage seem real, psychotic, and literally beyond his control.

    McShane, however, is a revelation to those who know him mainly from his more recent successes. His nasty, pared-down, pattering con is far more believable than many characters in similar roles in American crime flicks. He is in many ways the real snake in the grass.

    Finlay surpasseth all understanding as a sleazy tout. Again, compared to villains in films of the 'Shaft' or 'Dirty Harry' genre, his sleazy crook Marty is a whole character, not a two-dimensional cliché. One even feels a bit sorry for him.

    The entire film is worth a look for the jail-break scene alone. I'd love to see this one on the big screen. It's an exploitation film that, like Lee Marvin's 'Point Blank,' is more than the sum of its parts.
  • This was the typical movie which Oliver Reed shined in; remember HUNTING PARTY and THE DEVILS, among his forever best. He is outstanding here as a brutal, vicious inmate whose wife decides to divorce. The scene between the two of them, at the prison parlor, is terrific, with an awesome camera work thru the glass separating them. The novel is faithful to Larry Henderson's novel, so close that the book seems to be a romanisation from the screenplay, as Michael Winner's THE MECHANIC or SCORPIO were. It's also typical from the crime movies from UK made in the sixties and seventies: THE VILLAIN, ROBBERY, THE SQUEEZE, GET CARTER, LONG GOOD FRIDAY, movies far better than most crime films from after the 2000's, in UK, at least most of them. Rough, tough, gritty, this fast paced film noir is truly amazing for moviegoers as I am, especially in the crime genre. Oliver Reed with his face of a man who expects suffering and pain, to give and receive it. Watch out when; during the escape, he grabs barbed wire with his bare hands, just before he is attacked by a dog. His terrific agony in Ken Russel's THE DEVILS is not far...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Talking to a family friend about what films he looking for,I got told about an Oliver Reed Crime film which he had heard about on Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright's commentary for Wright's Hot Fuzz.Looking round for the movie,I was pleased to discover that it had come out on Pre-Cert Video,but was disappointed to discover that editions of the Video were going for silly money on Ebay.

    After finding myself getting priced out on a number of attempts on Ebay,I all but gave up on tracking the title down.Getting happily caught by surprise,a DVD seller revealed that they had tracked down the title,which led to me getting ready to finally take part in some target practice.

    The plot:

    Serving time in jail for murder, Harry Lomart is pleased to get a visit from his wife Pat.Looking noticeable different from when he last saw her,Pat tells Harry that she is going to get a divorce from him,due to having started with an affair with a guy who has got her pregnant.Hearing the news,Harry decides to take the news in the most mature manner possible-by punching the glass panel down and smashing Pat's face in (!)

    Talking to pal and fellow inmate Birdy Williams,Harry decides to make an escape plan with Williams,with the goal of leaving the UK behind.Giving the prison guards some dirty money that they have made in the jail,Harry and Williams break the prison doors down and escape. Originally planning to get out of the UK straight away,Harry gets Williams to agree over a change of plan,as Pat becomes Harry's sitting target.

    View on the film:

    Stomping on the knackered streets of 70s Britain,director Douglas Hickox & cinematographer Edward Scaife spread mud and dirt over the film,with the damp flats and crumbling houses smashes Harry's (few hopes) to the ground.Growing flowers out of the dirt,Hickox aims for Harry's target with a tantalising range,by stylishly grinding into Harry's mind with fractured overlapping images from editor John Glen.Backed by an industrial hum from Stanley Myers,Hickox glides across the prison cells with an urgent atmosphere,as Harry and Williams take advantage of the moment.Along with the hard,broken nose street crime action,Hickox reflects on the fury in Harry with a superb circling of mirrors,which crack open Harry not seeing the double dealing being reflected right in front of him.

    Taking Laurence Henderson's novel out of the cells,the screenplay by former star cyclist (and Tour De France participant!) Alexander Jacobs keeps the film in its pulp chain gang,with Henderson making Harry's brittle dialogue blunt,and to the point.Pushing Harry's back against the wall like a Film Noir loner.Henderson impressively keeps away from giving anyone a clean cut image,by making everyone from Harry to his two timing wife Pat be brutes who are only after winning their own round.

    For the cast,Hicox hits on a prison riot of amazing names,from future TV stars Mike Pratt and June Brown getting the punch on early roles,to Edward Woodward, Robert Beatty and Frank Finlay being rotten to the core.Joined by a wonderfully swift,fresh-faced Ian McShane as Williams,Oliver Reed gives a terrific performance as Harry,thanks to Reed attacking the short and sweet dialogue with a bubbling rage which explodes as Harry begins to suspect that he is the sitting target.
  • Two hardened cons try and break out of the can to get revenge on an unfaithful wife.

    I always say that when you have solid pros at work you almost don't need a script. Whoever wrote this (two people actually) had to have employed a pencil and the back of a cigarette packet, because it was unworthy of A4 paper and a typewriter. Talk about clichés and stock situations. For example, are gun sellers so stupid in real life?

    I digress. Reed has a set of shoulders and deep set set staring eyes that frighten people. Even at his peak Sean Connery looked like if he did, really, hit a villain they would hardly notice, but Oliver Reed is a different kettle of fish. Maybe he was acting mad-and-bad rather than being mad-and-bad, but can you tell the difference? Ian McShane has never acted in his life. Always plays himself. People like him in a wouldn't-have-in-my-house kind of way. Streetwise, but totally unschooled. Given he is pointing the gun in the poster I suppose he is supposed to be the star! No idea why he would go on someone else's crusade though.

    The problem with contemplation of this piece is that any thought makes the film seem worse than it is. It is - at the end of the day - watchable. Hiding from people in movies is like trying to walk on water in real life - you are bound to fail so why bother even trying? This movie wouldn't get made today unless it featured comedy actors going over the top and wisecracking over other people's grave.

    At least in the 1970's cold blooded murder wasn't seen as a joke.
  • Harry (Oliver Reed) and partner, Birdy (Ian McShane), bust out of prison. Harry's got some money stashed away, but he has more pressing matters to attend to. He plans on killing his wife who left him while in prison and is now pregnant with another man's baby.

    I'm amazed. Until last night, I'd never even heard of Sitting Target. What a film! It's a dark, dirty film filled with bad people. It's the kind of movie where none of the characters has much in the way of good qualities and no one comes out whole in the end. While there's plenty of violence, it's quick and sporadic. Occasionally, it catches you off-guard and, at these times, works to perfection. Throw Oliver Reed into the mix doing his best crazed, unstable, lunatic schtick (man could he play this kind of character) and add in one of my favorite actors of all time, Ian McShane - how have I not seen this?

    If you break Sitting Target into three acts, the first is fantastic. The prison break is tension filled. The violence is sparse, but effective. The second act does drag a bit, but this is where we get a better indication of what Harry is capable of. Lastly, the third act is sublime. The twist is amazing and worked on me as well as any I can remember. And the violence here leads to an incredibly satisfactory conclusion.

    The weakest part of the film has to be Jill St John as Harry's wife. I'm sure she was added to the cast as she was coming off Diamonds are Forever and she had a "name" American audiences would recognize. But, she's completely miscast. She looks and acts like she should be in a different movie. And that accent - what a disaster. Still, she's not bad enough to ruin the experience in its entirety. Well worth seeking out.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Imprisoned for a robbery which lead to murder, Oliver Reed vows revenge on wife Jill St. John who has asked for a divorce because she is pregnant with another man's baby. After a violent break-out, Reed heads to London for revenge and this leads to a series of hideously gruesome acts after his initial confrontation with his now ex-wife. Unaware that she lost the baby, Reed is still set on revenge, and as a result of this, Reed and his fellow escape prisoner (Ian MacShane) end up taking the beautiful Jill Townsend hostage.

    The violence in this movie is the type that makes your jaw drop, and Reed's cruelties are sickening. Before clubbing the prison guard, Reed douses him with his chamber pot in one of the film's more disgusting scenes, and a cop gets brutally burnt to death while chasing Reed on a motorcycle on the roof of St. John's flat. Even when St. John tries to break things off with Reed gently, he becomes very violent with her, punching his hand through a glass barrier in the prison visitor's room to attempt to strangle her.

    Having never heard of this film before, I was curious to see it based on comparisons to "Get Carter" and "Villain". It was also a reverse of "Play Misty For Me" about a violently obsessed man instead of a psychotic fatal attraction. Some of the film is quite disturbing, and I found it unbelievable that Townsend would allow herself to be attracted to Reed and go out of her way to seduce him. That whole concept seemed rather set up simply to stretch out the running time rather than be a realistic turn of events.

    As ugly as the film is in spirit, it is gorgeous in many ways with lush art decco flats and a nice music score. Edward Woodward and Frank Finlay round out the cast of popular character actors. As difficult a subject this is, I still couldn't take my eyes off of it, like a bad nightmare that you obsess with knowing how it all ends.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Oliver Reed was the best villein in the scene with sharp eyes and long voice he played this film with a goodly way and the best scene after he killed his bad wife he cried in spite of her bad work with him because he liked her very much and he choose to die with her in the crash and burning car in the time of police arrest him but the crash space the police in a dramatical scene and descriptive music.

    This film was the best one of Reed as a big and great actor after his best role in (Lion of desert)in the role of Gratsiani the Italian leader in Libya who arrested Omar MOkhtar the Libyan leader who made a resistance to the Italian army in Libya.

    He was the best actor in action film in the 20th century.
  • Caught this one late night on Turner Classics Movies… yet, I'm still wondering what's so classic about it. Sitting Target is an entertaining film for as long as it lasts, but that's about it. Raw and hard-boiled action sequences with a charismatic Oliver Reed stealing the show, but the plot is weak and belongs in the `seen-it-all-before'-section. Reed is the angry inmate Harry Lomart. His lovely wife comes to tell him she found a new lover, got pregnant and wants a divorce. Harry snaps and, along with his partner in crime Birdy, he escapes in order to take revenge on his unfaithful wife. Sitting Target is a wholesome of brutal and relentless sequences, spiced with solid macho attitude. Yet, there are several stylishly photographed scenes and very good acting altogether. I especially liked watching Edward Woodward as the loyal copper whose duty is to protect Lomart's endangered wife. Only a year after this film, Woodward will play the lead role of what easily may be the greatest film ever made in Britain: The Wicker Man. If you're a fan of `Get Carter' and other violent Brit action films from the early 70's, you'll have a good time watching `Sitting Target'. Car-chases, rude behavior towards woman and adrenalin-filled prison escapes. The big twist near the end is very predictable but it does provide the film with an extra action-rush.
  • This film – which has been showing repeatedly on TCM UK for years – is one of many tough action films which came out in the early 1970s dealing with the British underworld. The end result is certainly watchable enough but, in the long run, neither is it as classy as GET CARTER (1971) nor as nasty as VILLAIN (1971). Where it distinguishes itself over others in the same genre is in the excellent cast the production company managed to rope in for the project – Oliver Reed, Ian McShane (who also appeared in VILLAIN), Jill St. John, Edward Woodward, Frank Finlay, Freddie Jones (a small and mostly irrelevant role) and Robert Beatty; besides, a couple of decent action sequences - the elaborate rooftop prison break, Reed's fiery car chase, Finlay's staircase demise, etc. – are par for the course. However, the film founders through a very predictable plot (sharing several similarities with GET CARTER itself) which is further exacerbated by the fashionably muddled handling and a prevailing mood of genuine unpleasantness. Only Stanley Myers' moody score emerges with dignity as SITTING TARGET's most notable asset.
  • Oliver Reed is the main reason to see this film. He has a role that suits him perfectly - a man almost obsessively bent on killing his wife - and he brings some real brute force into it. The film also has some stylishly directed scenes and good photography, but the plot is just the old "scummy characters rip each other off" routine. (**)
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