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Showing posts from April, 2020

Classic TV: Regan (1974)

The crime series The Sweeney first burst onto British TV screens in 1975 and presented viewers with an irresistible mix of character drama and cops 'n' robbers action, leavened with blokey banter and pithy dialogue. It starred John Thaw asJack Regan, a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, a specialised team dealing with bank jobs and armed robberies. The title of the series was taken from "Sweeney Todd", a rhyming slang nickname for the Flying Squad.

Jack Regan was a tough, old school copper, grappling with the changing world of police work in the 1970s. He was assisted by his loyal Detective Sergeant, George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman. But The Sweeney didn't mark Jack Regan and George Carter's first screen appearance. They had been seen first in the previous year's TV film Regan.

Tales That Witness Madness (1973)

This horror anthology features four separate stories involving the inmates of the same high security mental institution. Donald Pleasence plays Dr. Tremayne, a psychiatrist at the hospital, who explains his revolutionary new psychiatric techniques to his visitor, Nicholas (Jack Hawkins).

To demonstrate his work, Dr. Tremayne introduces four of his patients. They have all gone through extraordinary experiences, experiences that the audience is shown in flashback as four separate, but vaguely linked, stories. The stories feature a boy's imaginary friend, a black magic sacrifice, a time travelling bicycle and a possessed tree trunk.



British film company Amicus became known for their horror film anthologies in the 1960s and 1970s. The films were popular enough to produce this copycat rival, Tales That Witness Madness. Although it is often lumped in with the Amicus films and readily mistaken for one, Tales That Witness Madness was produced by Norman Priggen for a different company, Wo…

3 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' Short Films From Ealing Studios

'Careless Talk Costs Lives' was a famous campaign run in Britain during World War II. It was aimed at stopping the unwitting spread of information that might be useful to the enemy. The campaign was accompanied by a series of iconic posters, including the cartoons of 'Fougasse' (Cyril Bird), and by a series of informational films, including three short films made by Ealing Studios.

Ealing would later produce a feature length film related to this campaign and directed by Thorold Dickinson, Next of Kin in 1942. That film told the story of a British raid on a German-held port in France. The raid almost goes disastrously wrong, because the enemy have pieced together information about the operation in advance from their spies in Britain.



Before Next of Kin, Ealing made three short films to accompany the 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' campaign in the first year of the war. The three films were all released in May 1940, and each film was aimed at a different socio-econo…