Chief Inspector Johnnoe (Nigel Patrick) of Scotland Yard is told by his exasperated superior officer, Superintendent Bestwick (Harry Andrews) that he can no longer use his network of “snouts” (paid informants) and must adopt more scientific principles of crime detection to solve the rash of recent well-executed bank robberies around London.
But when his best informant, Jim Ruskin (John Cowley) is murdered by flash villain Bertie Hoyle (Derren Nesbitt), Johhnoe disregards the instructions of his guvnor and follows up on an earlier tip-off from Ruskin, closing in on the villains he is pursuing – led by ex-Commando Leon Sale (Frank Finlay).
When Hoyle’s attempt to bribe Johnnoe fails, the mobsters frame him for corruption with the help of Bertie Hoyle’s “bit”, Maisie (Margaret Whiting).
He is suspended, arrested and sent to prison but his wife, Mary (Katherine Woodville) manages to raise his bail and Johnnoe enlists the help of the murdered snout’s brother, Charlie (Colin Blakely) to track down the murderers of his informer, solve the robberies, and gain revenge on the criminals who fitted him up.
Charlie gets all the information he needs from Maisie by threatening to kill her young son. He then rounds up his own mob of hardmen and metes out revenge for the murder of his brother, utilising iron bars, hammers, knives and guns.
The violence is surprising for the year and the fact that it’s a British film.
This British crime drama from the Rank Organization was released in the USA as Underworld Informers.
Chief Inspector John Edward Johnnoe
Superintendent Alec Bestwick
Kenneth J. Warren
Peter the Pole