DVD region 0. Odeon.
have been quietly releasing a bunch of obscure vintage British
films over the last couple of years - I had no idea just how many
until I looked at the catalogue included here - charting the unknown
waters of the B-movies, exploitation films and 'quota quickies'
that used to crop up on mid-afternoon or late night TV. Many of
these films are fascinating, impressively honest little movies
- and the latest release, Calculated Risk, is
a fine example.
dour, the film opens with old lag Kip (John Rutland), fresh from
prison, laying flowers on his wife's grave in a snow-packed cemetery.
Kip is a career criminal who just isn't very good at what he does,
but plans one last job to see him into retirement - a bank raid
through the basement of the bombed out building next door (the
film was made in 1963, when WW2 destroyed houses were still all
too common in parts of the country). His plan is intriguing enough
for brother-in-law Steve (William Lucas) to front the money for
the heist - as long as he takes control. Quickly putting together
a crew, plans are made, risks weighed up and the job begun. But
of course, even the best plans can go wrong, and the discovery
of an unexploded bomb is just the start of their troubles.
Norman Harrison directs Edwin Richfield's sparse script with the
tightness it needs, and the cast are a uniformly solid group,
bringing their characters to life without resorting to flashy
techniques. This isn't a glamorous crime film - these are ordinary
guys, looking to make a quick and dishonest buck, and the film's
post-war / pre-Swinging London feel almost gives it the atmosphere
of a kitchen sink drama at times (don't let that put you off -
the 69 minute running time has little room for anything but the
primary plot, and rightly so).
with so many low budget British films of the time, Calculated
Risk is impressively economical, offering it's thrills
in a no-nonsense manner, and is all the better for it. Modern
filmmakers could learn a trick or two from terse little films
like this. Like many of the films in this DVD series, this is
well worth taking a calculated risk on purchasing.
print is cleaner than a film as old and obscure as this should
be - a good remastering job here. The only extras, unsurprisingly,
are newly created trailers for other 'Best of British' films on
IT NOW (UK)