“There is no dark side of the Moon really… matter of fact, it’s all dark.” Gerry O'Driscoll, doorman, Abby Road studios
From the BFI’s blurb on this the sixth of their dual format Flipside series, I was expecting a gritty take on London’s far-from-swinging criminal underbelly but, as it transpires this is more of a broader swipe at the likes of James Bond and even Matt Helm.
|Michael Latimer with loaded ketchup bottle|
|Aston Martin DB6|
|Michael Latimer and Luan Peters|
|Where the boys are...|
|Bryant talks tactics with Nixon|
But Walker, doesn’t forget to give his audience plenty of swinging locations – he did know them all after all – and the interiors hint at legendary venues such as Scotch of St James’, The Speakeasy and others. Moon only drinks water though: he prefers a clear head…
|Keeping a clear head|
Here there’s a turf war in seedy London clubs and the film kicks off with one such venue being smashed courtesy of a malevolent front-over-combed villain called Hunt (Kenneth Hendel). The club belongs to a well-to-do Manchester businessman, Bryant, who has been buying up a number of similar venues from under the nose of local kingpin Grayson (Maurice Kaufmann) for whom Hunt works…
|"They only killed their own..." mostly|
Bryant calls in for assistance from his suave helper Nixon (Derek Aylward) who arranges to involve Moon on their side. Moon collects his down-payment in a church and only just survives an attack from a gunman who he drops to the ground amidst the gravestones… Someone is playing both sides and it’s not just Moon.
|Three sides of alliance|
Moon goes to tap up a civil servant in a gay bar - cravats and flowery penny rounds abound - and picks up his young boyfriend for further information. He goes in search of the answers only to be soundly beaten by Grayson's thugs whilst searching a flat as he lies spinning on the floor Angel helps him out - she's got there first.
|Angel of mercy|
Bryant has a plan to smuggle the Gold in the tour van of a frizzy-haired pop band called Flossie and the Crunch... why of course. But Moon and Angel drive off as fans mob the psych-popsters!
|Making the most of Tunisia|
|The mystery man makes himself known... or does he?|
Dusty verdict: Man of Violence is a demi-classic that makes its point on a micro-budget with wit and style. It's not quite Get Carter but it does have a cynical voice all of its own.
Michael Latimer makes for a good anti-hero and whilst Walker bemoans that he couldn't offer him better material,I think he does very well with what he has - a likeable rogue with a believable interest in protecting the few good people the situation involves.
Luan Peters also performs very well and her character is in many ways the film's true hero: Walker's ultimate subversion putting the pretty woman as the moral centre... she doesn't need to be saved by Moon but he needs her. I recognised her vaguely and then remembered that she played the Australian in the Fawlty Towers episode The Psychiatrist - Basil fails to hide his fascination and has an unfortunate incident confusing her with a light switch...
|Luan: not to be confused with a light switch...|