Director Sidney Lumet’s 1972 British thriller is extremely powerful stuff with a riveting performance from Sean Connery, leaving James Bond behind as Detective Sergeant Johnson, a half-crazed cop who metes out violently rough treatment to suspect Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen), an epileptic who is thought to have molested young girls.
All the acting is first rate, with notable star support work from Trevor Howard as investigating cop Superintendent Cartwright and Vivien Merchant as Connery’s wife Maureen. The film also has the virtue of enshrining what was probably British stage actor Derek Newark’s finest film performance as Frank Jessard. Also in the cast are Peter Bowles as Detective Inspector Cameron, John Hallam, Ronald Radd, Anthony Sagar, Richard Moore and Maxine Gordon as the raped girl Janie Edmonds.
The American director Lumet seems entirely at home on the British beat, examining the UK police with a canny stranger’s eye.
John Hopkins scripts the screenplay from his own powerful play This Story of Yours.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5010
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