Here’s a tough, hard-hitting, cops-and-robbers thriller set in London’s underworld which, despite the story line, situations and characters occasionally tripping themselves up, crackles along at a brisk pace and has the smell of authenticity.
Douglas Warner’s novel, Death of a Snout, has been turned into a slick screenplay. Central character is Chief Inspector Johnno (Nigel Patrick) a dedicated cop at Scotland Yard. He has many contacts in the underworld and the snouts, or informers, feed him with many a juicy lead to solving a crime. But Johnno’s chief insists that personal contact with informers should be out. From now on, scientific methods must be used. But Johnno believes he is close to cracking the gang that has been pulling off some audacious banknote robberies and is sure that one of his most wily informants can put him on the trail. So he disobeys orders.
Patrick gives a suave, dominating performance in which, till the finale, he uses brain rather than brawn. Of the assorted villains, outstanding are Frank Finlay as the bossman and Derren Nesbitt, with an insidious study in oily menace, as the pimp who organizes the robberies.