Posted by Don Malcolm on 6/10/2020, 12:47 pm
Good to save this one from the cliff as well--we have a lot of trouble getting British noir seen in America (even before the COVID-19 situation) and it's a shame that there's seemingly no way to get the public out for it. Gord does the honors here and is enthusiastic about it, as you'll see; Mike is a dissenter; Colin (Livius) is somewhere in between in his later blog post at RIDING THE HIGH COUNTRY. Berlin-based Mathias Merkelbach gives it four stars out of five. Nigel Patrick's noir career would be a nice thread in a Brit-noir festival--these films deserve their time in the theatre as well (fingers crossed we'll be able to do that again safely sooner than later!)...
THE INFORMERS (1963, UK)
There has been a rash of well-executed safe robberies and Scotland Yard is being made to look like fools. They are having no luck tracking down the take or who is in charge. Harry Andrews, the Police Inspector in command of the Yard effort, decides that they are going to change the way they investigate. No more using informers or word from the street. He wants wire taps and a cop on every corner.
Long time Detective Nigel Patrick continues to use his string of informants. The robberies seem very well planned and all go off like clockwork. Patrick has his sights set on local bottom feeder thug, Derren Nesbitt. Nesbitt is moving up in the world of late, he has a new Bentley, new clothes, a fancy apartment and is flashing around a large roll of cash.
After a 300,000 pound robbery, one of Patrick's "snouts", (John Cowley) calls his house with some info on the gangs hid-out. Patrick is not home but his wife takes the information. Cowley is then grabbed up by the gang and taken for a ride. Derrin Nesbitt, who does the wet work for the gang drops in for a question and answer session with Cowley. Cowley is then disposed of by Nesbitt who drives back and forth over him with a car a couple of dozen times.
Nesbitt goes to his boss, Frank Finlay, with the information he has extracted from Cowley, including the call to Patrick's wife. Finlay, the brains behind the whole robbery group is an ex Commando. He plans all the robberies like military operations. Things have been going sweet and now this cop Patrick is becoming an annoyance. Finlay sets a plan in motion to remove said annoyance. He sets up a hidden camera at a brothel and has one of the girls, Margaret Whiting, call Patrick. She is to tell him she has some info on the last robbery. At the same time Finlay has 500 pounds from that same robbery hidden in Patrick's attic.
Patrick shows to talk to Whiting. Whiting hands Patrick a wad of cash and says it was from the robbery. Patrick knows it is a set up and throws the money back and leaves. Next day Patrick is called into Inspector Andrews office. Laying on the desk of course is a pile of pictures of Patrick with the cash in his hand. "These came in the mail, can you explain them?" Asks Andrews. Patrick says it is a frame job but is suspended.
The Police then escort Patrick home and search his house. Needless to say they discover the planted cash. Cuffs are produced and off to jail he goes. Patrick's wife, Catherine Woodville, manages to raise the bail and get Patrick released. The now "upset" Patrick throws aside the rules and goes after the mob. He contacts the dead informant's brother, Colin Blakely. He tells him that he knows who the killers are. Blakely, a crook himself, soon grabs up the tart Whiting.
He threatens to kill her 6 year old son if she does not come clean on everything she knows. She folds like a house of cards. Blakely rounds up his own mob and heads off to deal with Nesbitt and Finlay. Pipes, hammers, knives and guns are used before the mess is settled and all the nasty types rounded up or dead. Far more violent than one would expect from a UK film. I quite enjoyed it.
Roy Kinnear , Peter Prowse and Micheal Coles play junior members of the mob. Patrick was in UNEASY TERMS, THE NOOSE, SAPPHIRE, SILENT DUST, A PRIZE OF GOLD, FORBIDDEN CARGO. Derren Nesbitt was in STRONGROOM and THE MAN IN THE BACKSEAT.
The director was Ken Annakin who did DOUBLE CONFESSION and ACROSS THE BRIDGE. He also made the Disney film, THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. The D of P was Reginald Wyer. Wyer's films include STREET CORNER, MAN IN THE BACK SEAT, ACROSS THE BRIDGE, WHEEL OF FATE, THE WEAPON, HOME TO DANGER, DAYBREAK, SO LONG AT THE FAIR, DANCING WITH CRIME, THE UPTURNED GLASS.
Posted by Livius on 7/11/2016, 12:29 pm, in reply to "NOTW : THE INFORMERS 1963 Nigel Patrick"
Nice write-up on a good late period Brit Noir, Gord. A strong cast and a solid director combine well here and the result is a neat little movie. There was a reasonably good, and reasonably priced, DVD of this released in the UK a few years ago.
Posted by Solomon on 7/12/2016, 5:21 am, in reply to "NOTW : THE INFORMERS 1963 Nigel Patrick"
It's worth catching all right, but it's nowhere near as involving as many of the other films you've listed at the end of your review.
This picture is well-photographed, but I'll dissent from the majority opinion of IMDb reviewers, users and critics, who regard it as one of the best British crime films. The story and screenplay have plenty of action but I found them not especially involving emotionally. The conflicts just seemed too arranged and written to be real. The characters and situations are heading into stereotypical territory. The actors seemed too much to be going through the motions. The story-telling is drawn out at times. The result for me anyway is that unlike some others, this film didn't grab me as much as many other Britnoirs have.
Extract from Colin (Livius') blog entry at RIDING THE HIGH COUNTRY, written in 2018
There is an attractive blend of action, suspense and character work, not to mention the various social issues which are either woven closely into the plot or touched on more lightly. Aside from the core police yarn, we are presented with aspects of Johnnoe’s home life, strife and competition at work, the abusive relationship of one of the villains and his girl, the difficulties of single-parenthood, hints at racial tensions, and more. As I said above, that’s a lot of material to pack in, even if a lot of it is largely incidental. It does add to the richness of the script but, perhaps because of my recent diet of briefer and more direct storytelling, I still found it rather dense.