- Actors: Stacy Keach, David Hemmings, Edward Fox, Stephen Boyd, Freddie Starr
- Format: NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Run Time: 102 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B004TPJN8W
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,728 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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The Squeeze (1977) - Region 1 NTSC DVD [Import]
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The Squeeze (1977) - Region 1 NTSC DVD [Import]: A gang kidnaps a women and her daughter to extort money from her rich husband. He and her down on his luck ex-husband who's an ex cop, decide to try to deal with the kidnappers themselves.
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Top customer reviews
Fantastic film, as i remembered it, Stacy Keach is great as the down and out ex-private investigator drunk, and the cameo appearance from Freddie Starr adds a touch of humour.
A classic british film which is just under the radar....
Buy It guys !!!
Add an almost unthinkable ingredient - Freddie Starr, he of the infuriatingly unfunny slapstick comedy routine, as a straight actor.
And what do you get? A farrago of unwatchable nonsense? Something worse than John Cleese trying to play it straight?
No - what you get is one of the most criminally neglected, brilliant, memorable, suspenseful and unforgettable films of the late 1970's.
The inherent absurdity of casting Keach in the role of Naboth is the first thing with which you have to come to terms. An alcoholic American as a Scotland Yard DCS? Perm any two together, maybe... but all three? How is that plausible? Then there is the potential minefield of casting Freddie Starr in a straight role. WHAT? FREDDIE STARR? HAVE YOU GONE STARK, STARING, RAVING MAD? Why would anyone cast that idiot in anything, except maybe a home video of his own funeral?
And yet, and yet... It works! Keach plays the hopeless drunk impeccably in what is probably his finest role, steering the character through a series of disasters (at one point he wakes up from a bender stark naked in the street) through to a hungover but ultimately triumphant conclusion. He gives us a glimpse into the raw, unedited life of the chaotic drunk without ever making us despise him or, even worse, making light of his portrayed condition. There is no happy ending tacked on at the film's conclusion (as happened in the otherwise excellent "The Lost Weekend") but instead an equivocal but (possibly) hopeful hint that maybe he might manage to recover after all - but that, then again, he might not.
Then there is the almost unbelievable transformation of Freddie Starr, playing it straight. He plays Teddy, Naboth's amanuensis, constantly scraping him out of the gutter, pouring black coffee down his throat and generally doing everything that is needed to get Naboth through the day (and getting accused of being a latent homosexual for his troubles). To those of us who have only heretofore ever seen Starr doing his usual comedic schtick, his performance here is nothing short of a revelation. There is not a trace of the comedian in his performance, just a pure, untrammelled dramatic portrayal of the devoted, vulnerable friend who craves approval for reasons we never get to understand. Why he didn't get cast in other straight roles after this is a mystery (maybe this was as far as he could go along the dramatic spectrum, maybe he felt unable to adhere to the rigours of straight drama and felt compelled to return to his slapstick roots... who knows? All I know is that the cinema lost one of its greatest dramatic discoveries for reasons that will probably never be divulged).
After this, the plot is almost a secondary consideration. SPOILER ALERT. Naboth lapses in and out of sobriety long enough to track down Jill (his ex-wife, played by the tragic Carol White, another great loss to the cinema with her early, avoidable death in 1991), who has been kidnapped by Vic (played by Stephen Boyd, in make-up that makes him look as if he's turning into a werewolf) in order to make her toffee-nosed lover Foreman (Edward Fox) reveal the route of his security vans for The Big Heist. Jill is rescued and the plot foiled amidst much screeching of tyres and trashing of Transit vans and Ford Cortinas. All ends (fairly happily) in a coffee shop, where Naboth raises his coffee-cup and says, ambiguously, "It's the first one of the day".
The scripting, by Leon "Minder" Griffiths (who went on to great things, and who probably honed his skills using this film as a whetstone), is suitably graphic and convincing, and the atmosphere of a grimey, cold and hostile London is authentic and sobering. Putting Starr and Keach opposite each other is one of those rare examples of goofy but inspired casting (as with Norman Wisdom and Jason Robards in "The Night they Raided Minsky's", or Peter Mullan with David Caruso in "Session 9") which shouldn't work but does.
For some incomprehensible reason, this great film has almost totally disappeared from view. In my opinion, it is far superior to the grossly overvalued "Get Carter"(1971), which has for some unknown reason gone on to eclipse "The Squeeze" and become a revered staple of British Crime cinema, while "The Long Good Friday"(1981), which is also thought to have been party to the eclipse of "The Squeeze", is from a different era, and thus bears little comparison on any meaningful level (for those of us who can remember these times, far more separated 1977 from 1981 than a mere four years).
I can only hope that some enterprising DVD company gets hold of "The Squeeze" one day and puts it out for general release (it is available on American Region 1 DVD, but for those of us who don't live in the States that's precious little comfort). It's time everyone had a chance to see this great, atmospheric and unjustly neglected masterpiece, and realise what they've been missing.