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Regan, despite what the DVD cover insists, is not a film, but a 1974 television play which was so successful it led to a series being commisionned, which was none other than "The Sweeney", probably still the best crime drama British television has ever produced. And what a drama Regan is.It's hard to imagine there was ever any doubt a series would follow this, as a thoroughly professional team struck gold with this gripping and superbly directed thriller driven by John Thaw's powerhouse performance. Unlike the early episodes of the series, Regan focuses exclusively on Thaw's character, underlining his loner, maverick traits by isolating him from his Scotland Yard colleagues as he goes out on a limb to find the killers of a young policeman. The cast give outstanding performances, from Lee Montague's terrifying gangland boss dale (the scene with the ice skate is breathtaking) to Maureen Lipman in a charming supporting role as Regan's girlfriend. The two best scenes however are cunningly positioned next to each other. Regan has to visit the dead policeman's grandmother to break the news to her. "You know something, " he tells Carter as they sit in the car, the rain falling on the glass. "That old lady's got no reason to go on living. Whoever killed Cowley killed two people." It is a beautiful scene and even more affecting as is followed by Regan visitng his ex-wife. Trying to explain the reason why he is late she interrupts with "I'm not interested anymore in your silly cases and your stupid criminals." There is some super black comedy too as Regan's tension distorts into offensiveness, directed at his wife's new lover. By turns seedy, violent, funny, touching and exciting, Regan is a stunning piece of television which excels in all areas.
This is the original TV play that was the forerunner to the successful UK TV series 'The Sweeney'.It is well worth tracking down now as it is not easy to find on either VHS or DVD.It rarely turns up on TV either. Excellent story and top drawer acting plus some great location shots too.Just look how much London has changed ! It is not as violent or bloody as the series it spawned as it concentrates more on Regan's home life although that is not a bad thing. I thought Carter was a bit too mild here but other than that there is an excellent supporting cast.The music and soundtrack is very 70,s and it is missing the usual Sweeney theme.If you get the chance to see it don't miss it.
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