By Richard Winters
My Rating: 5 out of 10
4-Word Review: Reminiscing about old times.
Tony, who is a middle-aged man (Patrick O’Connell) working a boring job at a cheese factory and stuck in an equally dull marriage with two kids, reminisces about his younger years when he met a beautiful woman named Doris (Victoria Tennant) and they committed petty thievery while also riding around on his motorbike. The film then intercuts between scenes of him when he’s younger, which is played by Simon Rouse in his film debut, and his life now where he struggles to make ends meet.
This film marks the directorial debut of Harold Becker as well as the acting debut of the lovely Tennant. It also marked the last of the British ‘kitchen-sink’ dramas that focused on the hardships and struggles of the working class. The story is a strange mix of gritty reality and romantic fantasy that has a few good moments, but as a whole doesn’t really work and if there is one thing that holds it all together its Kenny Clayton’s soothing and distinctive melodic score.
Part of the problem is that not enough happens. Tony is able to break into shops with too much ease and the way he is able to crack open a safe in less than a minute would make even a professional safe cracker jealous. Their robberies needed to have a little more tension or comedy to help keep it interesting instead of sliding into a pace that meanders so leisurely that it eventually becomes boring.
Tennant’s character is another issue. She is incredibly gorgeous and looks ripe for a magazine cover as a fashion model, which made me wonder why she would so quickly fall head-over-heels for Tony who has no money or job and is average looking at best. To some degree I could understand her need to break free from her oppressive and strict parents, but a beautiful woman like that would have many other potential suitors in her life and not simply dependent on Tony as being her only outlet.
The final twenty-minutes improves as Tony ends up getting caught and going to jail, which helps add some genuine drama. However, when he finally gets out he learns that Doris died tragically in a motorbike accident, which seemed unnecessarily severe. A much better ending would’ve had them reuniting for just one day and although now married to other people still managing to share some sort of special bond.
End of Spoiler Alert!
The film, which had a very limited release, has some potential, but suffers from a visual approach that at times looks too much like a shampoo commercial and a premise that doesn’t have enough action elements to keep it compelling.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Released: November 11, 1972
Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes
Director: Harold Becker
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Available: DVD (Through Netflix)