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The British 1976 crime drama, an early work of director Michael Apted
("Gorky Park", "Blink", "The World Is Not Enough") Stacey Keach plays an
alcohol-addicted London ex-cop who becomes involved into a kidnapping drama
and tries to free the daughter of a friend from a brutal gangster
Stacey Keach's performance is brilliant, and Michael Apted is not only focussing on the thrilling crime plot but also on the portrait of a self-destroying loser nature and alcoholic. The rest of the cast is also outstanding, featuring Edward Fox as despaired father of the kidnapped daughter and David Hemmings as brutal gangster boss. There are some scenes of typical seventies' sex, hard violence and breath-taking action like a money transporter robbery at the end.
David Hentschel's electronic progressive rock score in the style of Goblin, Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons Project supports the dark atmosphere and hard action of this thrilling and sometimes disturbing crime drama. A great, little forgotten movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
STACY KEACH (always under-rated) plays burnt out (alcoholic)
ex-Scotland yard inspector, JIM NABOTH a likable, but weak single
father of two young boys. The bottle seems to be his only genuine
'care'. Coming out of 'd-tox', he is hero-worshipped by petty ex-con,
TEDDY (a natural and warm performance, by none other than TV comic
FREDDIE STARR) who tries to keep his ex-arresting officer off the
booze, and on the straight and narrow. It seems that, Naboth's ex wife
has remarried to a wealthy bank boss, and her (and her
daughters)subsequent kidnapping, forces her new husband (EDWARD FOX)
turns to Naboth for help. The kidnappers (played with sinister
conviction by the late great David HEMMINGS and STEPHEN BOYD) know
nothing of this woman's former husband, and pass Naboth of as a washed
up alcoholic ex-cop...............Big mistake!
MICHAEL APTED's cracking seventies thriller is simplistic in it's unfolding of events (unlike the 'complicated-ness' of THE LONG GOOD Friday) and THE SQUEEZE is all the better for this. It has some great character studies, beneath it's violent melodrama. Most of all, it goes to painful lengths to strip the male ego, off all it's 'macho-posturing', this is, at first, highly evident in KEACH's bare-boned performance (the desperate-ness he conveys, is powerful stuff) but later on in the movie, the kidnappers force Naboth's ex-wife to perform a strip routine, whilst 'The Stylistics' warble 'YOU MAKE ME FEEL BRAND NEW'in the background. This sequence, is meant for the kidnappers titillation, because it's extremely unerotic and painful to watch as a movie viewer. Credit to CAROL WHITE for a great performance during this scene. Apted, proves (especially with that sequence) that it is, indeed a man's world...and all the worse for it.
Given that this film is rarely heard of (despite, i think being better than GET CARTER and THE LONG GOOD Friday...sorry guys, i think it is!) is the biggest crime of all. I would ask everyone reading this, to hunt down a copy of this fine film (Where's the DVD release?) and if anyone would like a copy, please get in touch with me.
10 out 10, for it's performances (all great, no standouts) it's crisp direction, seedy locations, and above all else, it's cracking soundtrack by David HENTSCHEL.
Tough, hard hitting British thriller about an ex Scotland yard man, played very convincingly by Stacy Keach, now trying to keep from becoming a confirmed alcoholic. He finds his old skills are needed again when his wife is kidnapped. The cast are excellent, and they, along with the no holds barred script make this one of the best thrillers of the 70's
This is a cracker of a movie. There are good performances all round, and
some stylish direction from former documentary film-maker Michael Apted.
Watch out for some shaky camera work in some scenes. He later on gave us
Gorillas in the Mist, among many others. The main surprise in this, is how
great Freddie Starr performs in his only film role. And it was certainly an
inspired piece of casting-whoever is responsible, I take my hat off to you.
Though it looks low budget, there are quite a few top weight actors in it,
even by 1970s standards such as Edward Fox, and the late David Hemmings.
Sheila White, the poor cow of the '60s does a fine job as the kidnapped wife
of Fox's character.
It's not hard to see why Stacy Keach is so good as a man fighting substance abuse. He later on had his own troubles when he was caught entering the UK with drugs in 1984. Some years before, he portrayed a low grade boxer in Fat City with a young Jeff Bridges.
This was made in the '70s, it's quite violent and rough around the edges. You have been warned. Enjoy it anyway.
"THE SQUEEZE" is one of the best examples of a British crime thriller and ranks alongside "THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY" as the greatest in its genre.Stacy Keach gives an electric performance as burnt out alcoholic ex-cop Jim Naboth who is given a chance at personal redemption when his ex-wife and her daughter by her new husband are kidnapped by a very nasty band of security van robbers led by Irish mobster Stephen Boyd in his final screen portrayal (he died shortly after).The superb and gritty London locations are different from the norm and are charged with a gripping realism as the backdrop for a well told and suspenseful and violent tale. All the supporting players give sterling performances here even the mannered Edward Fox who forgets for once that he is not portraying British royalty and is effective as the husband of Naboth's ex-wife. The story climaxes satisfactorily with the bloody robbery and its aftermath and the movie will convince anyone looking forward to the Bond movie "THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH" that director Michael Apted can handle action sequences with aplomb although it is true to say that it is not a genre one immediately associates with him. All in all, "THE SQUEEZE" is as gripping and brutal a thriller as you could hope to see and shows that for once the British can actually make a film that does not bore the audience to death within the first ten minutes. On that basis,one "SQUEEZE" is worth twenty "ENGLISH PATIENT"'s.
Stacy Keach. David Hemmings. Edward Fox. Stephen Boyd. Carol White. And
Freddie Starr. Made in 1977 by Michael Apted, they rarely show films
like The Squeeze on telly anymore and at time of writing, it's yet to
even receive a DVD release. And this is outrageous really because, grim
and seedy as you like, it remains one of the most underrated and
authentic Brit-crime thrillers to ever leave its grubby prints on the
A large part of that authenticity lies with its gritty locations: a cigarette smoke-fugged London Underground, dismal pubs and Soho 'massage parlours', and a pre-gentrified Battersea and Clapham, vividly portrayed in birds-eye view. Familiar currency to a certain iconic 1970s British cop show...
This is a minor lost classic of a British gangster film done in the same
vein as The Sweeney, Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. It proves that it
doesn't have to be American to be authentic and realistic. In fact it's the
film's gritty locations which add weight to the storyline.
Former Detective Inspector Naboth, now a struggling private eye who live s
in the bottle is called upon when his ex-wife is kidnapped. Stacey Keach is
Jim Naboth who is called upon by ex-wifes new lover Edward Fox who is
blackmailed into taking part in a bank heist.
Look out for the scene when Stacey Keach is wearing nothing but a shoe to
cover up his manhood after being forced to hand over all his clothes to
villain boss "Irish Jack" who is a sadistic thug, except when it comes to
his own daughter whom he dotes upon. Another controversial scene is when
Jill(Carol White) who is the ex wife of Stacey Keach is forced to do a strip
in front of the gangsters who are holding her captive. She is even made to
choose what music she wants to strip to for their entertainment.
Freddie Starr is excellent as "Teddy" who is a wet nurse to Stacey Keach and does his best to keep him away from the bottle and seedy pubs. The 1970's feel to this film reaches a dramatic climax towards the end when the robbery actually takes place and theres a few twists and turns in store.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Boy do I miss these rough, sleazy and raw crime thrillers. "The
Squeeze" is a hard one to figure out
I was somewhat disappointed but
then again at the same time I wasn't entirely disappointed by this
gut-busting 70s British crime caper. I hope I didn't confused anyone,
but while it packed enough tough dialogues, brutal action and a lean
edge, it didn't really have any sort of impact or rhythm to it all. It
plays out like a glum waiting game, as it doesn't really explode until
the final 10 minutes and even then it's quite anticlimactic. The
thrills are there, but it doesn't completely ignite with it steering
more so to a character-laced story to instrument it's calculative and
hard-hitting framework. Most the time is spent on Keach's washed-up,
drunk ex-detective character Jim Naboth battling the temptation and
dependency of alcohol, while in between that trying to find his
kidnapped ex-wife and her daughter who are being held hostage to pull
off a million pound security firm robbery. His character isn't painted
in a very glowing light, like the scenes where he's hitting the bottle
(even though time isn't on his side) and especially the film's climax
where he's holding a gun to a child's head. While pathetic in what
seems like too big of an ask, there's still good will there in his
reflective nature and his young son sees it (despite the hardship he
endures because of it) and so does Freddie Starr's character Teddie ---
a reformed criminal friend who wants Jim to join him in a co-venture of
a private detective business. Freddie pretty much looks after him
(almost like a protective mother figure/or nagging wife) when he gets
on the drink, and tries his best to keep him clean to perform the job.
Starr is great and has some amusingly snappy dialogues exchanges with
However the driving force behind it would be that of Keach's outstanding lead performance, along with a cracker ensemble support cast of the likes of David Hemmings, Steven Boyd, Edward Fox, Carol White and Freddie Starr. These villains are your typical well-mannered, but suitably nasty underworld guys with David Hemming and Stephen Boyd making a great duo whose characters perfectly complement each other. Hemming playing it neurotically cold with underlining cruelness and Boyd oozes in confidence as the head honcho. White brings a strong showing to her character, especially throughout the whole abduction ordeal, like her humiliating strip dance.
Director Michael Apted does nothing too flash, by keeping it efficiently workmanlike, tight and engraving a gritty authenticity to its dramas and London locations. It's quite well-made. If Don Siegel had directed a British gangland feature, "The Squeeze" could almost pass at that in style although while not quite gangland he did make the Michael Caine starring "The Black Windmill". The stimulating screenplay by Leon Griffiths is tautly written and quite straight-up with its blunt illustrations, where the whole weary alcoholic sub-plot (morally abstruse in nature) could be seen as a smokescreen to get you invested into the character, while letting the kidnap situation feel like nothing more than a constant niggler with unpleasant lashings to spice it up. David Hentschel's stirring, electrifying music score never lets up with its electronic digs and intense, sickening guitar riffs which had me thinking of Jimmy Page's scorching score for "Death Wish 2." I loved it!
Not a great film, but a good one.
Diminutive funnyman Freddie Starr will no doubt always be
associated with slapstick antics and pratfalls but his career
also contains a few unexpected bursts of genius. In the sixties
he bothered the beat clubs of Britain as the lead singer of the
rockin' combo, and Joe Meek protoges, Freddie Starr & the
Midnighters. Then in the seventies, at the peak of his comedy
career, he gave a powerful performance in one of British
cinema's most cruelly neglected crime flicks.
Any film brave enough to feature Yank actor Stacy Keach as a Londoner with Starr as his sidekick, has got to be worthy of praise. The Squeeze (1977) is a hard-boiled cockney crime caper directed by Michael Apted, reknowned documentary maker and helmer of the latest Bond movie. The film, described by the Daily Mail as 'a package tour of thuggery', stars Keach as Jim Naboth a drunken ex-cop who can not keep his 'private dick' business together and regularly wakes in the gutter after endless binges. Starr is Teddy, Naboth's shoplifting mate who attempts to keep him on the wagon.
Just released from a drying-out clinic, Naboth is no sooner back on the bottle than he discovers his ex-wife Jill (Carol White) and daughter have been kidnapped. The abduction has been master-minded by Irish villain Vic Smith in an attempt to force Jill's new lover (Edward Fox) into revealing route plans for his compny's fleet of security vans. Carrying out the dirty deed is Smith's right-hand man Keith (David Hemmings), a leering thug who enjoys tormenting and humiliating his prisoners.
Naboth stumbles in a drunken haze through the London underworld and endless seedy nightspots, shadowed protectively by Teddy. Despite a succession of beatings and batterings Naboth finally rescues his ex but not before the capital is littered with blood-slattered blaggers, disgarded 'shootahs' and trashed transit vans. All this from the pen of writer Leon Griffiths the creator of knockabout 'mockney' masterpiece Minder, a show which rarely portrayed east-end crims in such a brutal fashion.
Despite matching other UK crime classics, such as Get Carter, Villain and The Long Good Friday, for sheer quality The Squeeze remains (generally) unknown, unavailable on video and destined to lurk between tatty TV movies and cheap titillation on Channel Five's late-night slots.
Keach is fantastic throughout and Starr plays an oddly maternal character, constantly protecting Naboth, feeding him and even cleaning him up when he finds him surrounded by winos and knocked out on cheap booze. Despite this challenging role, Starr never attempts to wring some comedy from the part and it is surprising his later acting career led to no more than a disappointing BBC drama.
Add to these performances an authentic selection of bleak London locations and you have a gritty, urban drama that is rougher than a pair of sandpaper underpants. >
Gritty, fast-paced British crime thriller typical of the genre-eg "Get Carter"; "The Long Good Friday", and although falls somewhat short of these classics, nevertheless delivers the requisite punch. Interestingly cast, with Stacy Keach on good form as the alcoholic ex-cop investigating the kidnap of his daughter; David Hemmings in smooth bad-guy mode, Edward Fox as the wealthy step-father,and Stephen Boyd, in his final film role delivering a menacing portrayal as master-villain Vic Smith. Shot in and around London, many of the scenes and settings will be familiar to British viewers of the 1970's TV hit "The Sweeney" with similar allusions to a less-than-perfect central character struggling with the violent London underworld. Massively under-rated at time of release; certainly a must for all fans of this peculiarly British genre.
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