The Capone Investment (TV Series 1974– ) Poster

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Durbridge-style thriller
kmoh-11 March 2010
This is a strange, antediluvian pleasantry (old-fashioned even in 1974), resembling nothing so much as one of those Francis Durbridge serials where everyone is a suspect, everyone has a secret and everyone lies like mad.

A businessman is shot, and suspicion falls on his 'friends' (all parasitical hangers-on), 'secretary' (mistress) and his estranged son (John Thaw, just prior to his Sweeney superstardom). A gritty detective (Glyn Owen) and an enigmatic MI5 man (Peter Sallis) investigate, and soon link the crime to the murders of various shady Chicago characters in the UK. The suspects are slain at regular intervals, until the final unmasking of the villain and a somewhat perfunctory climax.

Absolutely nothing wrong with this, and it is great fun for those who like Paul Temple, or who prefer the slower pace of 70s television, and a whodunnit spread over six episodes. It is certainly not cutting edge drama, and is a surprising product of the pen of Ian Kennedy Martin, who usually produced somewhat more sophisticated material than this.

The one really hard thing for the modern viewer to cope with is the dreadful CSO, especially as for some reason a large part of this drama seems to involve deep discussions between car drivers and their passengers, all outlined by a terrible blue line, and with the background remaining stubbornly at the same perspective as the camera zooms in and out on the characters. It couldn't have looked good even then.
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10/10
First Rate Entertainment
nsidd17 May 2010
I watched this series last week for the first time on the Film 24 channel on the Sky network here in the UK (which was shown in two parts) and was surprised by the quality of the fast-moving plot and the sharp acting. It was more entertaining and gripping than many cinema films of this type.

I disagree strongly with the review shown on IMDb. I think that modern TV directors can learn a lot from the uncomplicated camera angles and long scenes used on this production - it gave the actors more scope to let their characters breathe and allowed the dialogue to be more realistic. I was also impressed by the excellent locations used, which gave the story more of an edge.

All in all, it was a very good TV drama which deserves to be shown on more prominent TV channels.
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5/10
Film version of a TV miniseries
Leofwine_draca25 September 2016
Like some other reviewers on this page, I saw the film version of THE CAPONE INVESTMENT rather than the TV miniseries. I imagine some crucial material was cut out in order to condense this into a two-hour slot, but given that even the film version is sometimes slow in places, I'm not too worried.

This is a '70s production about the hunt for a missing wad of cash with links to old-time gangster Al Capone. Various interested parties are interested in the money, and a series of brutal murders reveals that some of them are willing to do just about anything to get their hands on it. The story is presided over by Glyn Owen and Peter Sallis as a couple of officials chasing after the mysterious villains of the piece, with John Thaw in a star-making turn as the belligerent suspect determined to find the murderer himself.

This is a low budget affair that nonetheless provides adequate viewing material for those who don't mind their productions dated and with some awful back-screen effects in places. It's quite a talky piece but it has some fitfully suspenseful moments and the end in particular is quite well staged. The actors all do solid work and are easy to commend too.
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6/10
The Capone Investment - TV Movie Edition
mike65-130 September 2014
As mentioned this old Southern TV pot-boiler was screened by the now defunct Film24 a few years ago, the property is now occasionally on Movies4Men as a cut down film clocking in at just about two hours including a handful of ad breaks.

Having not seen the series version I can't comment on what's been removed or whether it means the current version is stronger or weaker for that editing but as viewed The Capone Investment proved a quite enjoyable minor work and one that gains some kudos for me for the mere fact Ian Kennedy Martin came up with the idea in the first instance - wondering what happened to the American gangsters millions and then managing to come up with a story that meant it could be filmed by a regional British TV company on its own patch takes more imagination than I have! In the acting stakes its definitely John Thaws show, you can see the proto John Regan in his performance - no nonsense, a threat of violence, he will get his man! The rest are largely perfunctory though Peter Sallis does have "something of the night" about him as the C15 agent attached to the police investigation.

In terms of its production it is very cheap looking, as was the way in the 60s and 70s in house fiction series were often recorded on film when on location and on video for the studio work (sometimes video was used inside and out), when compared to more expensive series of the same era that were shot entirely on film - Space 1999, the Sweeney, the New Avengers etc it looks very crude at times but I suppose that's part of the retro charm!
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7/10
A Different World
ian-payn11 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In the 1970s it was possible for a small regional company to produce a modest six-part thriller on a limited budget and get it broadcast nationally, without having to submit it to WGBH in Boston and various other "focus groups" who would interfere every step of the way. It was a different world.

That's not to say that The Capone Investment is a work of genius, but it's a solid enough series, which kept the interest when originally broadcast, and if it now seems a bit dated, naff and predictable, well, it is almost forty years old.

The long and the short of it is that tough cop Reaygo is called in to investigate a murder. One murder becomes two, two become three and so forth. it's a wonder that by the end of the sixth half hour segment anyone is left standing. Reaygo is assisted by a man from DI6 (Peter Sallis) and it eventually transpires that everyone is hot on the trail of sixty million pounds that Al Capone had hidden in England when things got too hot in Cicero. Yeah, right, but it's as good a McGuffin as any. The third murder, and the first we actually see, is of shoe-factory owner (and, it seems, master criminal) Conrad "William Tell" Phillips. Prime suspect is his hot-headed son John Thaw. There is no reason for any of Thaw's hot-headed actions throughout the series other than his being hot-headed. Thaw does his best in a crassly-written part, but swiftly becomes a bore. Other lead characters are played by Richard Coleman, looking a bit tubbier than I remembered, as a pub landlord and Roland Curram, looking bizarrely like Martin Landau, who has a penchant for smoking through a cigarette holder, wears white jeans, Peter Wyngarde shirts and is called Bunty. I think we're supposed to infer something about Bunty. I can't imagine for a moment what it is. The distaff side is represented largely by Jill Dixon, who merely irritates, and Isabel Dean, who is more likable but is marginalised by the testosterone emanated by the bluff Glyn Owen as Reaygo, the hot-headed John Thaw and...er...Peter Sallis. Sallis is, in fact, moderately interesting, and one couldn't help but wonder during the first few episodes whether his character was being set up for a series of his own. Glyn Owen plays the part the same way he plays every part. He has a certain charisma but you can see that whilst he'd be offered the lead in a series of this scale, the bigger projects would elude him.

Although the narrative is unconvincing the series is reasonably gripping (although watching episode after episode the theme music gets on your nerves). Plot holes gape - at one point Thaw hot-headedly abducts Coleman in order to pump him for information. They drive off, but by the time we see either again the incident is forgotten, and not referred to. The series is shot on video with filmed inserts, the worst of both worlds. The cheap sets are reminiscent of the Crossroads motel, and the blue screen while Owen and his oppo are driving about doesn't even nearly match the areas they're driving through in long-shot.

But for all that, it's all rather jolly. The revelation of the identity of the murder does not, alas, come as much of a surprise, but the climactic scenes at a village cricket match are well-handled, although the ending is very abrupt. A throwback to the days when it was possible to make a modest series with no pretension, aiming merely to tell an exciting (up to a point) story as well as possible. Give it a go.

But not all in one sitting.
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