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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    114 times
    Anybody else watched it yet ?

    Sat down with Mrs. Smudge and viewed it tonight. Have to confess that although I guessed the basic premise very early on, it's a decently enough constructed story and it did shake my faith in that guess from time to time.

    It struck me that it's one of a 'series' of films directed by Sidney Hayers from 1971 through to 1975 which all seem remarkably similar in style ; firstly ASSAULT, ALL COPPERS ARE B******* and REVENGE for Peter Rogers and then this association with Patrick Dromgoole for DEADLY STRANGERS and DIAGNOSIS : MURDER. This latter film was cut down for a TV showing (and very badly too !) so I was wondering if the Dromgoole were initially meant to be TV thrillers, given that they were co-produced with HTV. Anybody know any more about the association ?

    Thankfully they didn't ask Laurie Johnson to score STRANGERS, so it wasn't like an over long episode of THE AVENGERS. Despite the good story, and the fair pacing, I felt STRANGERS was another of Hayers' 'journeyman director' films, showing little of the style and promise we saw in NIGHT OF THE EAGLE.

    Visually, the film is fairly flat. The only striking image which stuck in my mind was the car park sequence where Sterling Hayden was going up and Mills and Ward were going down. Hayden himself gave us a well played 'eccentric' cameo, even if it was fairly unnecessary and probaly just in here for the sake of getting a name.

    The principal performances by Mills and Ward stood up well - particularly from Hayley in the denouement, but there were few moments of real tension throughout the film. I felt it rolled along mainly through the basic 'road movie' plot more than waiting for the killings. The editing was (in two instances) bad enough to be worthy of the cut version of DIAGNOSIS : MURDER - somewhat surprising when the director was formerly a top editor himself.

    On the whole watchable, but hardly a masterpiece IMHO.

    Anybody well up on the locations used ? The only obvious one to me was Weston Super Mare....


    P.S. I do think this monthly film idea is darned good !

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2006
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    Watched the film last week for a revisit, so knowing the plot i viewed it in a different context to the virgin.

    The storyline is believable whilst simplistic in its delivery. Lacking a tension building music score it failed to edge seat you and just rolled along trying to mask what is basically a predictable outcome. Whilst the film travelled through rural england it was enjoyable but the introduction of Sterling Hayden as the country toff fell flat on its face for me detracting from what had become till then a potrayal of everday folk surrounding the central characters.

    Mills and Ward gave good performances but the movie as a whole failed to deliver and as Smudge has indicated, it gave the impression of a made for TV film. Considering the the film as a whole i would give it a six out of ten which when you consider we have given it the title " film of the year"is says little for the rest.

    C/U The Worm

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    I cant really add anything,i also watched it last night,i was going to say exactly the same about the similarities with revenge,assault, they do have a nice gritty feel to them,both visually and the 70's backdrops,it Was predictable,but i liked it never the less,i spotted the weston locations,and during the horse scenes,poss brean sands maybe.Nice to see ken hutchinson,and i do like 70's petrol garages must be a childhood thing.

    cheers Ollie.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: England Harbottle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    92 times
    Smudge has saved us a lot of typing I think I had not seen this film for years but found it reasonably enjoyable and the two leads played it well I thought, but the introduction of SH jarred somewhat and was just bizarre! The other fine performance was by the Austin Maxi, my dad had one of those a cracking car except for the shocking gearbox. When they bedded down over night in it they should have folded the seats down as one of the selling points of the Maxi was that you could fold down all the seats to make a double bed (no tittering Sam). The most horrifying scene I thought was in one of the greasy spoon cafe’s where you saw a terrifying close-up of an egg being fried in a couple of pints of fat =

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Jan 2004
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    At last I've watched it. Many thanks to Harbottle for the copy.

    The pre-credits sequence was a bit like an opener for 'The Professionals'! I expected Bodie and Dolye to spring into action any second, with a cut to Cowley barking out some instructions about a loony on the loose.

    It was fairly easy to see where it was going from pretty early on, but it was an entertaining, rather than tedious; wait in getting there.

    For me anyway, Ken Hutchison stole the film, IMO he out-performed the two (competent) leads. I found the Sterling Hayden character rather bizarre and pretty pointless.

    I loved the location scenes; greasy spoons, garages, etc. I love seeing grotty 70's Britain.

    And yes, Harby; that egg plopping into a gallon of chipfat was horrific! Favourite scene (aside any with Hutchison) was the garage murder; with the make-up compact used as a timer.

    An enjoyable 90 mins. or so, mostly thanks to Locations and Ken Hutchison.

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