A woman gives birth to a baby, but this is no ordinary little tyke. The child is seemingly possessed by the spirit of a freak dwarf who the mother once spurned. Cue a spate of strange ... See full summary »
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Based on the adventures of Jack Sheppard, the thief and jail-breaker who became a folk hero in 1720s London. Jack is working as an apprentice to a clockmaker when his brother Tom is sentenced to be hanged for theft. To save Tom (who has a wife and children) he goes for help to the brutal 'Thief-taker General' Jonathan Wild. Wild mediates between the government and the criminal underworld, fencing stolen goods and delivering thieves who don't pay him tribute over to the authorities. He assigns Jack a robbery in return for saving Tom from the gallows, but when Jack learns that Tom is instead to be 'transported' to the colonies for a life of hard labour he refuses to cut Wild in on the proceeds. An angry Wild has Jack thrown in Newgate prison, from which he escapes, forming his own criminal outfit with another of Wild's disgruntled associates, Joseph 'Blueskin' Blake. Determined to crush this affront to his authority, Wild uses Jack's mistress Bess to trap him and has him jailed again. ... Written by
Peter Brynmor Roberts
Even though I saw this film when I was very young, I already knew the story of Wild the Thief-Taker and Shepherd who famously escaped from Newgate prison.
Apart from the liberty taken right at the end, the film more or less faithfully follows the true story. The temptation to bend the facts which is the hallmark of so many so-called historical films is resisted in this film and the film makers must be praised for that.
Of the performances, There is scarcely a poor performance, and Tommy Steele is ideally cast. Also good is Stanley Baker as the Thief-Taker and Alan Badel is good as always.
Because the film sticks to the facts, it makes it suitable to be watched by all the family.
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