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SUDDEN TERROR(EYEWITNESS) (director/writer: John Hough; screenwriters: Ronald Harwood/from the novel, “Eyewitness,” by Mark Hebden; cinematographer: David Holmes; editor: Geoffrey Foot; music: Fairfield Parlor; cast: Mark Lester (Ziggy), Lionel Jeffries (Colonel), Susan George (Pippa), Tony Bonner (Tom Jones), Jeremy Kemp (The Inspector), Peter Vaughan (Assassin), Peter Bowles (Assassin); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: GP; producer: Paul Maslanksy; EMI (National General Pictures); 1970-UK)
A decent British thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A decent British thriller based on the novel Eyewitness by Mark Hebden. Director John Hough(“Twins of Evil”/”The Incubus”/”Bad Karma”) fails to get as much tension as he should have out of it due to his mannered direction. Ronald Harwood writes the slight screenplay. It’s filmed on the island of Malta, giving it some nice scenic atmospheric shots. It follows the old chestnut of the young boy ‘who cried wolf too often’ to be believed when a real situation happens. “The Window” (1949) covers the same theme, but is much superior.

The pic opens during a public celebration with the assassination of a visiting black president to the island. The 12-year-old Ziggy (Mark Lester), a boy with an active imagination, tells everyone he witnessed who pulled the trigger but is not believed because he always tells tall tales. At the lighthouse, where he lives with his retired colonel granddad (Lionel Jeffries), the killers, two cops (Peter Vaughn, the trigger man, & Peter Bowles), show up, and the kid goes on the run with his older sister (Susan George) and her boyfriend (Tony Bonner). Later the police inspector (Jeremy Kemp) informs gramps that the kid did indeed witness the assassination and his life is in danger. There are numerous chase sequences, with none worth remembering.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”