SQUIZZY TAYLOR (director: Kevin Dobson; Roger Simpson; cinematographer: Dan Burstall; editor: David Pulbrook; music: Bruce Smeaton; cast: Squizzy Taylor (David Atkins), Jacki Weaver (Dolly Grey), Fred Cul Cullen (Henry Stokes), Alan Cassell (Detective Brophy), Michael Long (Inspector Piggot), Peter Paulsen (Harry Slater), David Scott (Bunny’ Whiting), Robert Hughes (Reg Harvey), Steve Bisley (Snowy Cutmore), Kim Lewis (Ida Pender); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Roger Le Mesurier; Satori Entertainment; 1982-Australia)
“Moderately entertaining minor gangster pic set in theAustralia of the Roaring Twenties.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Moderately entertaining minor gangster pic set in theAustralia of the Roaring Twenties. Australian television director Kevin Dobson (“The Mango Tree””Image of Death”/”The Virgin of Juarez“) colorfully recreates the Melbourne of the period, as the pic chronicles the rise and fall of the real-life pint-sized gangster Squizzy Taylor (David Atkins). Supposedly Squizzy was to Melbourne what Al Capone was to Chicago, but his squeaky voice makes the tough guy seem too comical to be taken seriously.
It opens in 1919 Melbourne, a crime infested city that’s also experiencing an influenza epidemic. Squizzy, a known pickpocket and punk who others humiliate, uses his influence with a gambling mobster (Peter Paulsen) to initiate an unwanted gang war with a rival mob that includes firebombing a saloon and a tommy-gun raid executed in vintage cars. At the same time Squizzy plays off two ambitious rival Melbourne coppers (Alan Cassell & Michael Long), by feeding them inside info on gang activities so they can get the best of the other. When money comes his way, Squizzy likes to act like a big timer and take his dumb broad Dolly (Jacki Weaver) dancing at the hot clubs while behind Dolly’s back he chases after other skirts. Squizzy uses rookie Herald reporter Reg Harvey (Robert Hughes) by feeding him gang stories to make sure his misdeeds get noticed in the newspapers in a way that he comes out looking good to the public. It works as the public is intrigued by the lad. Things come to an end for Squizzy when he’s double-crossed going after the gangster Snowy Cutmore (Steve Bisley), who raped his Dolly.
Other than the vibrant performance by David Atkins, as the small-time punk gangster plotting his way to legendary status as a big time operator, the pic fizzles more than it sizzles. Maybe it means more to the Aussies than the Americans, but to me it just comes across as your average B crime film.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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