HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
   
 
Newest Articles
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
   
 
  Payroll The Criminal Class
Year: 1961
Director: Sidney Hayers
Stars: Michael Craig, Françoise Prévost, Billie Whitelaw, William Lucas, Kenneth Griffith, Tom Bell, Barry Keegan, Edward Cast, Andrew Faulds, William Dexter, Glyn Houston, Joan Rice, Vanda Godsell, Stanley Meadows, Brian McDermott, Hugh Morton, Keith Faulkner
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The new armoured car which carries this Newcastle company's payroll is among the most advanced of its type, practically impregnable and with a blaring alarm should a break-in be attempted, plus a security guard in the back with the cash to keep an eye on who might be following, police radio in his hand to contact the law the second anything seems suspicious. You'd have to be crazy to attempt to steal from it - or very determined. The gang led by Johnny Mellors (Michael Craig) is just that, and they have a man on the inside, Pearson (William Lucas) who tells them about this new van, which may be a setback but is not a deterrent...

British crime cinema is littered with heists gone wrong, mainly because for a long time the moral that crime does not pay was practically required by law in the cinema of the country. That irony, that the criminals won't get away with it, continues to be felt to this day, and not only in the United Kingdom, because there was a pleasing quality to seeing the bad guys foiled, even if they were anti-heroes. However, you could not say that of the evildoers in Payroll, one of many accomplished thrillers directed by something of an unsung master of the art, in Britain at least, Sidney Hayers, before he left for Hollywood and umpteen series television episodes.

Indeed, you could watch a selection of vintage Britflicks, not only thrillers, helmed by Hayers and not know he was the man behind the camera, but remain easy in your mind that you had been sufficiently entertained. In this case, he conjured a gritty, down and dirty atmosphere which looked ahead to the coarsening of the genre's style in the coming decades where the downbeat mood and dark humour (at best) became hallmarks of the kind of thriller designed for grown-ups. We can tell things will go horribly wrong in the first ten minutes since Johnny's masterminded plans have not reckoned with the brand new security van, which is an obvious spanner in the works.

Nevertheless, he has the power to think on his feet, and has soon worked out a way to break into the van by stranding it on a street picked out as ideal for his purposes, and all credit to Hayers the heist sequence itself is superbly crafted, packed with action and tension, not simply an oasis of accomplished excitement in a grim yarn, but one whose repercussions are felt throughout the rest of the movie. One thing you notice is that without championing the wrong 'uns, Payroll is far more biased in favour of strong women than it is the weaker men it depicts, although there are far more male characters than female. But two of the ladies, Pearson's French (for some reason) wife and the widow of one of the gang's victims, are very strident.

Mrs Pearson, Katie (not a very French name), was played by Françoise Prévost, imported from the Continent, and she is increasingly disgusted by her snivelling husband while seeing an opportunity to seduce Johnny. Meanwhile the widow is Jackie Parker who has two young kids to look after and is now seeking revenge - not justice as is pointed out by the detective investigating - making her something of a precursor to Charles Bronson's latter career in female form. Given the actress in that role was the nanny of Satan herself, Billie Whitelaw, you knew Johnny and his in-fighting cohorts don't really stand a chance, as she was an expert in playing formidable women, meaning even Jackie's rivalry with Katie is sure to result in the duplicitous wife coming a cropper since anyone who allows greed to lead them to terrible acts will not have a happy ending. With stark, black and white photography of Newcastle (though nary a local accent to be heard, a valid criticism this often receives) and Reg Owen's purposeful, jazzy score, Payroll was a cult crime gem.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2122 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: