Sitting Target (1972) No Cage Can Hold Oliver Reed & His Lust For Revenge!

Sitting Target (1972) oliver reed film movie jail break hitman poster

Banged up brute Harry Lomart (Oliver Reed) is in for a long stretch this time, possibly 15 years. Well he has murdered someone but at least his wife will wait for him till he gets out. He keeps fit by working out hard in his prison cell, like a caged gorilla doing pull ups from the pipework on the ceiling. Keep active, keep strong and the years will flyby, then he can be back in the arms of his lady. Yeah he can deal with the shakedowns and crappy food, he’s as strong as an ox.

Sitting Target (1972) oliver reed film movie jail break hitman working out cellSitting Target (1972) oliver reed prison visit jill st john

All’s good until Pat Lomart (Jill St. John) turns up on visiting day and delivers her “Dear John” in person. Surely Harry doesn’t expect her to wait around for that long, it’s not her fault they’ve thrown the book at him. Besides she’d be too old to start a family and it’s all been set in motion, he’s gonna have to deal with it because she is pregnant with another man’s child. Light the blue touch paper and stand well back………..

Sitting Target (1972) oliver reed mirror reflections hitman gun prison escape

Harry goes ballistic, bringing to the surface all that caged wild rage. All hell breaks loose as Harry is thrown into solitary confinement, time to work out some more, time to dwell on revenge. He has to escape, he’s a man possessed by obsessed hatred, where murder will be his only redemption from the loathing and resentment inside. He has to kill his wife Pat!

Tagline – YOU ARE LOOKING AT AN ANIMAL! A woman is his target…No cage can hold his lust for revenge.

Sitting Target (1972) ian mcshane prison london break out crimeSitting Target (1972) oliver reed Freddie Jones ian mcshane prison breakout

Lucky for psycho Harry, his partner in crime and cell neighbour, Birdy Williams (Ian McShane) has been busy working out an escape plan with the help of high up, inside man MacNeil (Freddie Jones) who has the means and the bribes to bust outta this fortress. He’s happy to have these two along to help the escape, to assist with the guards, high wire barbed fences and the dogs, there has to be a dog right?

Sitting Target (1972) ian mcshane prison london break out oli reed jpg

The ferocious, rage filled escape is raw and realistic, bringing a real sense of tension and fear. Jumping over monstrous brick walls and countless barbwire fences as they make their daring jailbreak. The darkness of night only helps to amp up the fast paced action. These maybe bad guys but you are kind of rooting for them to get to freedom even if it means certain consequences will be coming.

Sitting Target (1972) Oliver Reed Ian McShane gangsters hitman crime 70's prison escapeSitting Target (1972) Pat Lomart (Jill St. John) edward woodward

With Harry out and in full Hulk mode, can Birdy persuade him to lay low until the heat is off? Now Pat knows Harry is out and gunning for her she has protection from the police and Inspector Milton (Edward Woodward). He’s in charge, conducting the security and hoping he and his men can apprehend Harry as soon as possible. He’s not stupid, he knows it’s not going to be easy! Only hate filled carnage can be on this whirlwind path of Harry’s lust for revenge!

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A few observations

  • With all Harry Lomart’s fury and temper of a wild animal, somewhere under all that is a strange tenderness and passion. Look out for the bath scene.
  • The soundtrack is by film composer Stanley Myers. It’s a mellow funky score featuring superb touches of a dark electronic noise that breaks through. It was never released at the time but saw the light of day on vinyl and CD through the record label Finders Keepers Records in 2006.
  • The film is filled with barrels of classic British depression that filled our screens through the 70’s and 80’s. Not as good as the following but fits into genre with the likes of Get Carter, Scum, Villain, McVicar, etc.

Sitting Target (1972) oliver reed film movie jail break hitman police bike explosion

  • Directed by Douglas Hickox who gave us the fun John Wayne comes to the UK action film Brannigan, the star studied Zulu Dawn and the Vincent Price and Diana Rigg film Theater Of Blood (which I haven’t seen and really need too!)

If you have a fondness for gritty, raw, UK gangster, crime movies and you haven’t seen this one it’s worth checking out, not sure how I missed it before but glad I’ve ticked it off the list.

Anything to add Harry? – “it’s like a pimps brothel in here!”

To play us out, do your thing Stanley Myers.

20 thoughts on “Sitting Target (1972) No Cage Can Hold Oliver Reed & His Lust For Revenge!

    • Ollie just gets to be a thug in this but there’s a few bits of emotion which sneak in from the left side. It’s a superb cast for sure, it’s a slight shame that Edward Woodward doesn’t get an expanded role and would of been nice to have seen more of Freddie Jones. It’s a great “gritty British Drama” to tick off your list 🙂 Thanks you popping on my Jay.


  1. My word…this is so bizarre…you really are taking me down memory lane with all these movies I’d forgotten about. I don’t remember this one at all…except for some reason I have in my mind that Oliver Reed was creepy…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ollie was a brute in this for sure, with one thing on his mind, revenge and murder. There is a few sweet moments though, when you see cracks in his character giving this hulking beast a strange sweetness, it’s not long last mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ollie is such a mesmerizing force on screen. He’s one of those actors you love for the way he is but at the same time see he could have been so much more. I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to connect the dots of movie actors to the roles they played. Not surprisingly I featured this one in my 5 days of Ollie a couple years back. Great pick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know a lot of gritty U.S. crime films of the ’70s, but I’m a bit ignorant when it comes to the U.K. variety. This one has a neat ring to it…and lots of name actors, too. I’ll give this a look if I can, if only to watch Jill St. John in action.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a bit of a step down for Jill St John after the highs of Diamonds are Forever, can imagine she had Ollie Reed purring around her most the time!
      Get Carter (1971) is a good place to start for some gritty Brit 70’s action if you haven’t seen it. One of my favs 🙂


        • I’m 99 percent sure it will get a review Todd. I’m sure you will love it. Dark gritty and brutal, amazing soundtrack from Roy Budd too. Jack Carter is the man. PS don’t watch the Sly Stallone remake by accident, oh my gosh………………………….


    • I have actually seen it and it’s pretty bad and doesn’t really follow the original anyway. Explosive car chases and action to the hilt but no grittiness and impending dread. Though you do get Michael Caine pop up. It’s just Get Carter in name only. Very much look forward to hearing what you think of the Brit flick if you get to see it.


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