Filmed in London during the heatwave summer of 1976, this gritty, sleazy British gangster thriller – described at the time by the Daily Mail as “a package tour of thuggery” – was directed by Michael Apted. Now it’s mostly forgotten, but there was a time when The Squeeze was spoken of in the same breath by those in the know as Get Carter and The Long Good Friday.
A dangerous, vicious gang led by Vic (Stephen Boyd in his last film role) and his brilliant but sociopathic underling, Keith (David Hemmings) kidnaps a woman, Jill (Carol White) and her daughter to force her rich bank manager lover, Foreman (Edward Fox) to help them with a million-pound robbery by revealing route plans for his company’s fleet of security vans.
Foreman enlists the aid of Jill’s alcoholic ex-cop ex-husband Jim Naboth (Stacy Keach, in a role originally offered to Richard Harris) to track down the kidnappers and deal with them themselves.
Meanwhile, Jim’s best friend Teddy (Freddie Starr) manfully tries to help him through his addiction.
Jim is one of those good men who life has brought low thanks to the predominance of downright villains in this world, although you could argue he only had himself to blame given he chooses to spend his time around them in his shaky investigations.
Jim is captured while attempting to probe Vic’s estate, so Vic humiliates the would-be hero by having him beaten senseless, stripped naked, pumped full of booze, and then deposited back in his own neighbourhood without a stitch of clothing.
Meanwhile, Keith torments Jill under threat of harming her daughter, forcing her to strip for his goons and provide sexual favours. The Stylistics will never sound the same again.
The Sex Pistols‘ guitarist Steve Jones accidentally appears in the film in the background of the indoor market scene, but the real scene-stealer has to be comedian Freddy Starr’s flares!