The Squeeze

Dir: Michael Apted, 1977


There are some films that get more than their fair share of airings and re-releases. Whether it’s the latest in popcorn fodder or classic film noir, these works of cinematic art are rolled out time and time again.

But then, you get the underrated and unheard of little classic that is, criminally, left to languish in obscurity. The Squeeze is one such film.

Alcoholic ex-cop and now private detective, Jim Naborth (Stacy Keach), is hired to investigate the kidnapping of wealthy man, Foreman’s (Edward Fox), wife and daughter.

Overlooked, The Squeeze deserves to be placed alongside other celebrated British crime thrillers like The Long Good Friday and The Sweeney.

American actor, Keach, dons an impressive English accent and turns in a great, laid back performance as a man so broken by alcohol, he’s irreparable.

The biggest surprise, however, is comedian Freddie Starr as Naborth’s ex-con and now friend, Teddy. Known for his manic antics on stage, his appearance in this ably demonstrates an unrealised talent and, given the opportunity, could have had a successful second career as an actor.

Director Apted does a superb job in keeping us engrossed in the proceedings and the storyline rolling along, nicely. He, masterfully, keeps a steady pace with going into overdrive or slacking off.

Although not overly violent, there are one or two scenes that will make you wince and show a brutal realism in its graphic portrayal.

The only, real, weak point are the kidnappers. Led by David Hemmings as Keith, the gang don’t instill a sense of fear or thuggery, instead coming off as amateurs.

As a scenario, the kidnapping tends to appear unconvincing as the gang seem content to play backgammon with their hostage.

But, in the grand scheme of things, this is only a small matter as the brilliance of The Squeeze is so thoroughly enjoyable that the minor flaws are inconsequential.

Distributed by Warner Bros., the company seem intent on churning out the old classics such as Get Carter when they should be investing in the rarer and seldom seen films like this one.

A forgotten classic that deserves a place alongside other celebrated films of British cinema.


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