Villain review – Richard Burton's masterclass in nastiness

Published on Mar 26, 2020

Villain review – Richard Burton's masterclass in nastiness

The actor’s ruined handsomeness was perfect for his portrayal of a psychopathically violent gangster in this classic 1971 thriller

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are renowned for small-screen comic masterpieces such as Porridge and The Likely Lads, but in 1971 they scripted the deadly serious and horribly gripping London crime picture Villain, now rereleased on Blu-ray. It’s an extremely lairy and tasty piece of work in which Richard Burton gave one of his best, most lip-smackingly gruesome performances: this film’s easily as good as the far better known Get Carter with Michael Caine, released that same year.

Villain is based on the novel The Burden of Proof from pulp author James Barlow, reportedly an inspiration for Jake Arnott’s The Long Firm. Producer Elliot Krasner had originally commissioned a treatment from Hollywood actor-writer Al Lettieri, (who played the drug lord Virgil Sollozzo in The Godfather), but Clement and

Read full article at: The Guardian - Film News

Author: Peter Bradshaw