Committed but seen-it-all police inspector Martineau rightly guesses that after a violent jailbreak a local criminal will head home to Manchester to pick up the spoils from his last job. ... See full summary »
Penniless, Baron Frankenstein, accompanied by his eager assistant Hans, arrives at his family castle near the town of Karlstaad, vowing to continue his experiments in the creation of life. ... See full summary »
While mainland Britain shivers in deepest winter, the northern island of Fara bakes in the nineties. The boys at the Met station have no more idea what is going on than the regulars at the ... See full summary »
Already three trustees of the Van Traylen fund have died during the last months, looking like suicides. However after a mysterious accident of a bus with the last three trustees and 30 ... See full summary »
A group of friends search for a young English Oxford student who has disappeared whilst researching in Greece. They are shocked to find that, wherever he has been, certain unsolved murders ... See full summary »
Two writers and their girlfriends visit the castle of an actor who specializes in playing vampire roles. As the night progresses, they begin to wonder if the man is an actor playing a vampire, or a vampire playing an actor.
VIOLENT PLAYGROUND sees tough detective Stanley Baker assigned to a new role after falling foul of his boss; he's directed to head up a juvenile crime prevention scheme. Baldwin fears that his new role will be anything but interesting, but things turn out otherwise as a sub-plot involving an arsonist terrorising the streets of Liverpool becomes mixed up with the main story.
This is a gritty, ahead-of-its-time thriller that mixes social drama with a hard-hitting crime flick. It's surprisingly modern in feel, with tight, character-based drama mixed with action, ranging from car chases to hostage scenarios and of course one or two fiery set-pieces. Basil Dearden's black-and-white photography is crisp and clear and he makes sure to elicit strong performances from his cast members.
Baker is one of those underrated actors who sort of got forgotten about after his death, aside from his role in ZULU, of course, but he's very good given the right material and VIOLENT PLAYGROUND is perfectly suited for his talents. Baker is supported by an engaging cast, including Anne Heywood's love interest and Peter Cushing's priest, and it's worth looking out for future stars Tsai Chin and Freddie Starr in more minor parts. The best actor of the lot is David McCallum in a real star-making turn as the disturbed delinquent whose storyline propels the narrative. Altogether VIOLENT PLAYGROUND is a pacey and engaging piece of film-making which mixes drama and thrills in an effective way.
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