Four Desperate Men Film Details
Overview: An escaped prisoner is trying to clear his name.
Tagline: THE MOST CHILLING ULTIMATUM EVER HURLED AT THE SCREEN!…”do what I say or I’ll blow the whole city to hell!”
Review: As a keen Australian movie fan, I have to admit I’d never heard of this British production largely filmed on location in Sydney, Australia during the late 1950’s. The Australian input into the movie is minimal, restricted to the mainly harbour-side locations and a couple of supporting actors and extras, but conveniently, director Harry Watt had had previous experience of filming in Australia and it shows. The Australian accents for instance, as performed by the British cast members are spot on, with American import, Aldo Ray, being the exception to the rule. He clearly plays an Australian character (not American as other reviewers allege) and yes, there’s never any explanation, as to why he has a different accent from his brother, who when the film starts, has apparently master-minded his escape from a train (which we never see) with the aid of 2 other gang members. Though critically regarded at the time, TSOP was never a commercial success, perhaps explaining why it has been so forgotten, also unfortunately heralding the arguably premature end of Watt’s movie career. However in recent times through the influence of figures such as Quentin Tarantino, it has undergone a further critical re-appraisal, which serves to highlight many positive aspects of this much under-rated film. One can easily see why Tarantino’s interest was piqued. Twists abound from the start, with these gentlemanly crooks, being forced to divert from their escape plans and take an injured man to hospital, in a prologue which is both humorous and suspenseful. The gang quickly gain our sympathies, when we soon realise all they are intent on, even whilst relatively gently taking hostages, is escape. Contrasting with this are their police pursuers, who are shown to be at the very least, extremely hard-nosed in their intent and seemingly not all that concerned about the hostages’ welfare. It all makes for some clever reversals of your typical crime caper tropes. Again I take issue with some of the other reviewers, when stating that the narrative plays out in a generally realistic, believable fashion. There is a Fort Dennison (Pinchgut) in the middle of Sydney Harbour, which may well have seen daily tourist tours of the facilities. It’s not far-fetched to think a workable cannon existed there since the Korean War and gang members may also have had naval service during World War 2. It all adds up, including leader Matt’s gradual mental disintegration. Watt makes great use of iconic landmarks such as The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the unbuilt Sydney Opera House even gets a nascent, indirect mention via the medium of early Australian television and yes, there was a TCN Ch 9 in Sydney at the time. The Siege of Pinchgut, whilst no classic, is indisputably an unexpected surprise from 60 years ago and I can well understand it being restored and archived by the The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
Also known as: Cuatro hombres desesperados,Ratkaisu aamunkoitteessa,全市爆砕!,The Siege of Pinchgut,Zur Hölle mit Sydney,4 Desperados,Belagerung von Pinchgut,Frist till gryningen,Gli evasi di Fort Denison,El asedio de Pinchgut,Four Desperate Men,I poliorkia tou nisiou tou diavolou,The Frightened City,Til helvede med Sydney,L’île des réprouvés,Quatro Homens Desesperados