Yes I may be of a rotund nature but I’m sure the ladies liked my cuddly frame. Happy go lucky was my motto. Besides, I was a self employed man happy to wander around the good old bars of London supping on whatever booze flowed it’s way into my mouth. A beer always followed a whiskey very nicely. And quite frankly when the whiskey dried up there was always brandy, gin or even a sherry. To be honest I wasn’t fussy. If I was in the pub I could go to work. Me, Irish Jimmy Ruskin (John Cowley) liked to gather information. Observe everything that was happening around me. This knowledge had a price and that price paid for this here nice lifestyle of mine. I wasn’t made for lifting, grafting or labouring. My specialty was collecting crime intelligence and passing it on to my good friend, John. It just so happened that John was otherwise known as Chief Inspector John Edward Johnnoe (Nigel Patrick).
Now most people would call me a snitch, a snout, a nark or an informer. I on the other hand believed I had a special relationship with John and that I was doing a good service. Plus best of all I got to hang around in bars and do what I loved best in all the world, boozing and observing. My brother, Charlie (Colin Blakely), oh he had a temper, nah he wasn’t impressed with me line of work at all. How he expected me, Jimmy, to be lugging stuff around at his scrap metal business I’d never know! Oh just the thought of it gives me the chills! So when Charlie runs into me and John, well let’s be honest here, he wasn’t best pleased. He starts ripping into John telling him he’s only friends with me because of my information. Even accuses him of not caring if anything, god forgive, should happen to me. That this dirty copper was only friends with me because I was one of his best police informers.
Well nothing was going to happen to me? Nah I was too likable. Anyhow I had some top information which was going to earn me some proper bread and honey. I could almost taste the lovely liquer it was going to buy me. Well, that was if I could actually stop falling over, ha I was totally rat arsed. Of course I’d had a few sherberts but I couldn’t go losing this tail I was following. A bank had been robbed and local con’s Shorty (Roy Kinnear) and Fred Hill (George Sewell) were looking very suspicious. I’d better follow them, hic! Oh excuse me madam, do accept my humble apologies, hic.
Up and coming big time gangster Bertie Hoyle (Derren Nesbitt) and his loyal number two, Leon Sale (Frank Finlay) had organised some big hit but Inspector John had no idea what it was. His boss Superintendent Alec Bestwick (Harry Andrews) was harassing him to get some leads but not with the use of informers. No, Scotland Yard was done with the use of paid snitches. Now new technology was coming into the station. With new techniques that would make the use of the police snitch redundant. Inspector John knew there was only one way to bring down Bertie Hoyle and find the bank notes before it was too late, the old fashion way. Ears and feet on the ground. Inspector John was unleashed on the case.
A few things I’ve learnt.
- The Informers is directed by Ken Annakin who directed one of the sections of the classic World War Two film which stars, well everybody, 1962s The Longest Day. He’s also known for that comedy adventure film with the bonkers long title of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes!
- The Informers was also called Underworld Informers overseas.
- The Informers was based on a novel called Death of a Snout by Douglas Warner.
- Margaret Whiting plays Maisie Barton and gets to strut in her suspenders for a scene. She is probably best known for playing Zenobia next to John Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne in 1977s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. I read that she married Colin Blakely, wonder if they met on the film?
- Derren Nesbitt makes for a thrilling baddie with his off kilter smile that goes from charming to psycho in seconds. He was great in 1962s Strongroom that I highly recommend.
- I’m absolutely loving Nigel Patrick’s work after being completely bowled over by 1959 Sapphire and 1960’s The League Of Gentlemen. Looking forward to discovering more of his work. He just has such a lovely manner to him.
The Informers is just magnificent from start to finish. I had such a brilliant time with this movie. It throws a lot in as you travel the streets of London with Nigel Patrick chasing down crime. All the characters get their moment to shine. It’s tough, exciting and an all round superb thriller. Well worth looking out for. If you’ve seen it, let me know your thoughts.