When the television Sweeney first exploded on British screens to the often patronizing praise or outright hostility of many critics, viewers were quick to spot the merits, and to recognise that here at last was a British police series which could meet, and sometimes beat, the Americans at their own game. They took their hearts the rough, tough, often foul-mouthed and insorbordinate detective partnership of Regan and Carter, and some nine million sets were tuned in every week to the series. The runaway success made translation to the big screen inevitable. Sweeney!, made in 1976, deals with the convoluted plotting by a sophisticated agents of a multinational oil cartel, who shrink from neither murder nor the blackmailing of Britain's Minister for Energy to gain their ends.
Whilst recognizing the quality of the script (by Ranald Graham) and the direction (by David Wickes) most patrons probably shared the view expressed by Alex ander Walker that this is a quintessentailly an actor's film, and a particular triumph for John Thaw. His Regan, a heavy drinker, womaniser, tough as old boots, well aware of his own limintations but bitterly resentful of undue interference from above, formed with the Carter of Dennis Waterman a sort of latter-day Laurel and Hardy partnership for the rough trade, and they were ably supported by Barry Foster as the arch-schemer, Colin Welland as a muck-raking Tribunite journalist whose death by bombing inspires the biggest headlines of his career, detectable Diane Keen as a high-class call-girl and Ian Bannen as her hard -drinking politician lover. With its painfully topical plot, its titillating exposure of sex and corruption in high places, its a tough and realistic depiction of the Flying Squad procedure, Sweeney! well deserved its success, and the sequel Sweeney Two, which, coming close on its heels, brough some consolation to the countless addicts mourning the premature demise of the televsion series.
Director: David Wickes
Cast: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Barry Foster, Ian Bannen, Colin Welland, Diane Keen, Michael Coles, Joe Melia, Brian Glover, Lynda Bellingham, Morris Perry, Paul Angelis, Nick Brimble, John Alkin, Bernard Kay
Genre: Drama, Action and Adventure
* N/A or Unknown
Small Box - Rental Tape
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