Revenge (1971) – Film Review
Director: Sidney Hayers
Cast: Joan Collins, James Booth, Kenneth Griffith
by @Roger Crow
An ordinary family turn to vigilante justice in the wake of their daughter’s murder. That’s the premise for this gripping thriller from the era when Carry On producer Peter Rogers tried his hand at something far darker than Sid James and Kenneth Williams sparring in a hospital, jungle or wherever.
With taut direction from Sidney Hayers and a tense script from The Saint screenwriter John Kruse, I’m not surprised Revenge had me hooked from the first minute.
Joan Collins is terrific as always as the pub owner’s wife, and James Booth does a brilliant job of shifting gears from genial landlord to obsessed grieving dad.
The whole thing is so well orchestrated, with its tense score by Eric Rogers and clever moments of suspense that it should work brilliantly as a shot-for-shot remake.
And as hideous as the criminal at the heart of the piece is, you’re always left doubting when the vigilante family have the right man. Is it just a lonely guy or the man who escaped justice when he should have been locked up for life?
Well, this will keep you guessing until the last few minutes thanks to Kruse’s superb screenplay.
Good support comes from Kenneth Griffith, who later popped up in The Wild Geese and Four Weddings and a Funeral; Tom Marshall, and there’s also a great turn from Sinead Cusack.
An added bonus for nostalgic viewers of a certain age is spotting all the 1970s ephemera, including soap boxes of the era. Watching Joan Collins doing her washing by hand is quite the sight.
Like the other half of Network’s double bill, Assault (made by many of the same team), this is a fabulously dark, occasionally disturbing slice of British drama, with a terrific cast, great script and assured direction. Highly recommended.