• Man Of Violence



    Released by: BFI
    Released on: 8/24/2009
    Director: Pete Walker
    Cast: Michael Latimer, Luan Peters, Derek Aylward, Maurice Kaufman, Derek Francis,
    Year: 1971

    The Movie:

    Also known as Moon (the titled card used on this release) and as The Sex Racketeers, British director Pete Walker’s Man Of Violence borrows a bit from the whole Yojimbo/A Fistful Of Dollars motif in that it tells the story of a hired gun named Moon (Michael Latimer who pops up in Hammer’s Prehistoric Women) who plays some gangsters and some cops at the same time in a messy plot about some stolen Arabian gold and a psychedelic rock band.

    When the film begins, Moon’s making it with a foxy blonde but soon he’s been hired by a crooked real estate developer to help bring in a shipment of gold that’s tied up in some rather awkward political snares. As Moon deals with the developer’s right hand man, Nixon (Derek Aylward), he hooks up with another foxy blonde (Luan Peters of Lust For A Vampire and Twins Of Evil) named Angel who may or may not have something to do with the aforementioned political snares but who fills out a two piece bikini like nobody’s business. As Moon zips around London, hitting various swinging nightclubs and even sleeping with a gay man to get the information he wants, a pair of corrupt cops, lead by Burgess (George Belbin), move in on the scene looking to take control of the situation for themselves. Throw in an almost lesbian rape, some naked fleshy British ass, a Dean Martin reference and mustard colored room décor galore and you’ve got yourself a movie!

    A very talky and slightly overlong crime picture, Man Of Violence is still worth a look thanks to a few stand out set pieces and the presence of a couple of rather fetching Hammer Girls. Luan Peters has a sizeable role here and gets a lot of camera time but Virginia Wetherell of Demons of the Mind and Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde not to mention Tigon’s Curse Of The Crimson Alter has got a decent supporting part as well. Michael Latimer does most of the heavy lifting, however, playing a sort of rogue-ish and criminally minded James Bond sans the gadgets (he even drives an Aston Martin at one point). He’s a suave and perpetually cool ladies man with style and charm to spare.

    The film takes a little while to get going, though the opening credits sequence in which the title cards flash over a woman’s exposed naval are fascinating and very cool. It doesn’t move at a particularly brisk pace until the final twenty minutes are upon us but even during the slower parts the picture is pretty interesting. There’s a lot of great night club footage here and the colorful location footage and wardrobe of the era makes for some pleasing eye candy. It all leads up to a surprisingly bleak conclusion, typical of a lot of Walker’s movies, that actually packs a fairly strong punch and which you probably won’t see coming.

    Despite an abundance of dialogue heavy scenes, there are a few fun action set pieces here including a fantastic shoot out in a churchyard cemetery early in the picture that help to spice things up a bit. Walker’s direction is decent enough and while the script throws in a lot of sex for the sake of sex, it’s a fun film and an enjoyably trashy little slice of British crime cinema from the era.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The BFI's 1.33.1 fullframe 1080p high definition transfer, taken from the film's original negative, is excellent. There's a healthy coat of natural looking film grain present throughout but no real print damage and the color reproduction is very strong and natural looking, without ever looking artificially pumped up. Skin tones, of which there are many on display, also fare quite well and look nice and detailed and lifelike, not pink or waxy at all thought it does look like a bit of DNR has been applied in some shots, eliminating some fine detail along the way. Shadow detail is also strong, with nice inky black levels staying strong and consistent without smearing the backgrounds or hiding anything from the camera. Close up shots of the actors are very crisp and even the scenes that take place in dreary, smoky, dark night clubs look quite good, particularly the scene shot in the gay bar which has some really nice, bright colors that make for interesting contrast against the strong black levels.

    The English language 48 kHz/24 bit PCM 2.0 Mono track, which comes with optional closed captioning in English only, doesn't have a ton of range and shows the limitations of its source but is otherwise fine. There are no problems with hiss or distortion to complain about nor are there any issues with the levels. The film’s soundtrack sounds quite good while the dialogue is always crisp and clear and perfectly balanced.

    The most exciting extra on this disc is the inclusion of both cuts of Walker’s 1968 crime film, The Big Swtich (also known as Strip Poker) – the seventy-three minute export version and the noticeably trimmed and toned down sixty-five minute version are both here.

    Like a lot of Walker’s work, it’s sleazier than you might expect a sixties era British crime movie to be. It follows a wealthy playboy type named John Carter (Sebastian Banks) who hooks up with a foxy blonde at a night club one night. When she’s found dead, he’s implicated in her murder. A mob boss named Mendez (Derek Alyward) is behind all of this as he wants Carter to leave London and come to Brighton and take care of a job for him. Carter and another foxy blonde, Karen (played by Virginia Wetherell), are taken hostage by Mendez’s men and roughed up and eventually forced into posing for porno picture shoots. It all leads up to a fantastic climax where Carter gets involved in a tense shoot out on a pier covered in snow and ice.

    While this film is considerably less polished than the feature attraction, it’s definitely got some merit and is in many ways just as entertaining if not quite as well made. As per the norm, Walker manages to cram a lot of completely superfluous sex and violence into the film, seemingly just to up the titillation factor. Mendez is responsible for a lot of this, what with his penchant for hanging out with topless chicks and all and his interest in pornography, and Alyward really plays up the sleazy side of his character quite nicely in this film.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are the original fullframe theatrical trailers for both films, an alternate title sequence for Man Of Violence, some classy animated motion menus, and chapter selection sub-menus. All of the supplements are presented in full high definition.

    Aside from that, the BFI have also included a nice full color insert booklet containing some essays on the film, some vintage reviews of the picture, a biography for the Walker and short pieces on the bonus features that are included in the supplemental section of the disc.

    The Final Word:

    It’s fantastic to see the BFI giving Pete Walker’s early works the deluxe treatment on Blu-ray that fans crave. While he’d go on to make a bigger splash with his horror movies, the two early crime movies on this release are entertaining, stylish, and good trashy fun and seeing them get the deluxe treatment as they have with this release should warm the hearts of cult film buffs everywhere. Great stuff!
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. John Gargo's Avatar
      John Gargo -
      I ordered this the other day from Amazon UK (only 6 pounds!) and I had no idea that there was an entire movie as an extra. Looking forward to checking this out for sure...