HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Innocent Bystanders Baker Man Is Breaking HeadsBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Peter Collinson
Stars: Stanley Baker, Geraldine Chaplin, Donald Pleasence, Dana Andrews, Sue Lloyd, Derren Nesbitt, Vladek Sheybal, Warren Mitchell, Cec Linder, Howard Goorney, J.G. Devlin, Ferdy Mayne, Clifton Jones, John Collin, Aharon Ipalé, Yuri Borionko
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: One year ago, in a Siberian prison camp, ten of the inmates were planning something: an escape. They had observed the guards and knew their routine, so one night managed to overpower a number of them, taking their machine guns, and making a break for the nearby woods outside the fences. Almost all of them got away, but most notable to the West was scientist Aaron Kaplan (Vladek Sheybal) who had devised a method of taking the salt out of seawater which could revolutionise those countries where fresh water is scarce. Now they must find him...

Although the sixties heyday of the James Bond-inspired spy movie was over by the seventies, they were still making them to an extent, and spies would be part of cinema for some time to come. Except there was very little of that sense of fun that the sixties had brought to many of its wackier espionage yarns, and the influence of John Le Carré on the image of such agents was being keenly felt, so when this adaptation of one of Callan creator James Mitchell's John Craig novels was crafted, it fell between two stools, as many of such efforts were wont to do. There may have been a humorous element, but they couldn't neglect the grit.

Stanley Baker would have made a great Bond, but it was not to be, and in his incarnation as Craig he found a character who might have allowed audiences to see how he would have played the famous hero. Sadly, he didn't have much time left on this earth so if they were planning a franchise it never happened, but he exhibited all the capability in his style that offered him a cult status which lasts to this day. Something about Baker suggested he understood a lot about how men have to carry themselves through this world that struck a chord in his fans, and even those who were not so familiar with him would find themselves responding to him should they catch one of his movies.

Thus here he was playing Craig as an agent who is fully ready to admit he is "past it", as the other characters are wont to describe him, therefore when he gets this final chance to prove himself and track down Kaplan he is only too eager to give it a try. His boss Loomis was played - downplayed in fact - by Donald Pleasence as the sort of man of power who has attained the position he has by getting others to do the dirty work for him; it's a remarkably still performance, but he manages a quiet insidiousness that suggests he is not to be trifled with. Thanks to their differing techniques, any scene with Baker squaring off against Pleasence lifts the movie to a significant degree.

Loomis (relative of Halloween's Dr Loomis, one wonders? You can see the resemblance) informs Craig that he has dispatched a couple of other agents (Derren Nesbitt and Sue Lloyd, making a good impression as the offbeat pair) to Turkey as a decoy so Craig can get down to the business of finding Kaplan's brother (Ferdy Mayne) who knows where the boffin is, but ends up kidnapping his daughter Miriam instead. This was another aspect distancing Innocent Bystanders from Bond: Miriam was played by Geraldine Chaplin, who wouldn't have been a Bond Girl in a million years, yet somehow fits into this spy milieu as someone who would be won over by Craig, though she pays a price. Everyone eventually shows up in Turkey, where we were also treated to one of Warren Mitchell's accents, this time Australian-Turkish if you can imagine that, and our hero proves himself to his own satisfaction. With more of a brutal edge than many of its ilk - including two curious torture sequences - this was fairly basic, but satisfying. Groovy music by Johnny Keating (great brass).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1290 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: