HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Offbeat The Lure Of The Criminal
Year: 1961
Director: Cliff Owen
Stars: William Sylvester, Mai Zetterling, John Meillon, Anthony Dawson, Neil McCarthy, Harry Baird, John Phillips, Victor Brooks, Diana King, Gerard Heinz, Ronald Adam, Neil Wilson, Joseph Fürst, Nan Munro, Anthony Baird
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Layton (William Sylvester) pulls up at this bank in South London just before it opens and opens it himself, then walks inside to conceal himself behind the doors. Soon, two of the staff arrive and he produces a gun, then orders them to lie down on the floor, and when the manager shows up Layton demands he open the safe and fill a bag with bundles of notes. Then he makes good his escape, having got away with thousands of pounds – which he takes straight to Scotland Yard, since he is not an actual criminal, he is a cop going undercover who has to establish a past before he can be accepted into the underworld. The gang he has in his sights, or rather has been ordered to infiltrate by his bosses, are known for their major operations across the capital, but the law don’t have anything on them, so will Layton manage to get them?

After Rififi was the success it was across the world, it seemed every nation with a film industry to speak of wanted to get in on the heist movie act. As the nineteen-sixties dawned, many of those were developing into caper movies to add an element of fun and games, but there were a fair few which took the style seriously enough to justify themselves as proper thrillers, especially if they spent a lot of time on their criminal setpiece. Thus was the case with Offbeat, helmed by Cliff Owen who had the skills to direct a decent example as in his best known entry in the genre, A Prize of Arms, though he would head off in the direction of comedy thereafter. Here it was about as far from comedy as you could get, it wasn’t tragic or anything, just full of men squaring their jaws and setting about the task in hand with grim determination, and barely one chuckle contained within, Sylvester particularly dour.

With a cigarette jutting from his stony face, Layton, or Steve Ross as he’s otherwise known, didn’t make for a character you could warm to very easily, acknowledging this was a serious business and funnily enough the business world was what it evoked. Head of the gang Anthony Dawson was every inch the professional gentleman, overseeing his employees like the boss of a major corporation rather than the bunch of thieves they actually were; there’s a telling scene early on where Layton has been introduced to them in a fairly well-to-do apartment and the television is showing a crime drama they turn off in disgust, feeling this is pure fantasy in comparison to their experience. Indeed, the whole gangster milieu was crisply delivered, the moody black and white photography doing wonders for the atmosphere, never mind offbeat, what you were watching was more downbeat.

The title makes this sound like it’ll be one of Owen’s comedies, but seems to be a pun on the undercover policeman and his beat being off the track to become almost a criminal himself, and it rather stretched credibility to believe the law could get away with helping stage a robbery of priceless jewels to the extent that they did, wasn’t this a form of entrapment, for a start? Nevertheless, this was what we were invited to accept, and even with the short running time of a typical B-movie of the day (just over an hour) there was still time for a bit of padding courtesy of Mai Zetterling playing Sylvester’s love interest Ruth Lombard, a young widow who in the actress’s Scandinavian manner lent a note of melancholy to the tone, even existential angst, which to be fair wasn’t bad for a character who wasn’t really necessary to the overall outcome of the plot. What was interesting was that the further Layton travelled into the crime, with the heist itself a substantial set of scenes in themselves, the more he seems to be coming around to the idea of working for the other side, and the final act has you wondering if he will sell out. Uncomplicated overall, but worth musing over. Music by Ken Jones.

[Network's DVD from The British Film line has a nice print and a gallery as an extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2184 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: