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Villain

Meet Vic Dakin. Then wish you hadn't.
Directed by Michael Tuchner
Produced by Jay Kanter
Elliott Kastner
Alan Ladd, Jr.
Written by James Barlow Novel
Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Al Lettieri Adaptation
Starring Richard Burton
Ian McShane
T.P. McKenna
Donald Sinden
Music by Jonathan Hodge
Cinematography Christopher Challis
Editing by Ralph Sheldon
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (US)
MGM-EMI (UK)
Release date(s) May 26, 1971
Running time 98 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Villain is a 1971 gangster film directed by Michael Tuchner and starring Richard Burton, Ian McShane, T.P. McKenna and Donald Sinden.

Contents

Plot

It tells the story of ruthless East End gangster Vic Dakin and his plans for an ambitious raid on the wages van of a plastic factory. This is a departure from Dakin's usual modus operandi, and the job is further complicated by his having to work with fellow gangster Frank Fletcher's firm. As Dakin plots, Wolfe wheels and deals and MP Draycott gets caught in a web of his own iniquity. They are doggedly pursued by Inspector Bob Matthews (Nigel Davenport) who's just waiting for Dakin to slip up.

The film was written by the unusual combination of well-known British comedy television writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and the American actor Al Lettieri, renowned for his 'tough-guy' image in films such as The Godfather and The Getaway.

Reception

According to Melvyn Bragg's 1988 biography Richard Burton: A Life, the movie was a terrible flop and helped erode Burton's status as a box office star. Two years before Villain, Burton had played a homosexual hairdresser in the comedy Staircase [1], which had proved a huge bust at the boss office despite the talents of co-star Rex Harrison and director Stanley Donen. A gay love scene between Burton and co-star Ian McShane was cut from Villain, possibly as it was felt it wouldn't boost ticketsales, as cinema audiences already had not accepted Burton, one of the cinema's most notorious Don Juans, as a homosexual.

Ironically, Burton was mentioned in James Barlow's 1968 novel, The Burden Of Proof, which the film was based on. In the book, the prosecutor asks a female witnesses if she "likes the actor Richard Burton".[2]

The movie received egregious reviews, and Burton—whose acting style was predicated upon the precise use of his mellifluous voice—was particularly savaged for his attempt at a Cockney accent.

The film coined a popular phrase used regularly and adapted accordingly of "Don't be a **** all your life; take a day off!"

Cast

Actor memories

Ian McShane revealed recently in The Daily Mail the he had mixed feelings about playing Richard Burton's bisexual lover. 'After kissing me, he's going to beat the hell out of me and it's that kind of relationship - rather hostile. It was very S&M. It wasn't shown in the film. He said to me "I'm very glad you're doing this film." I said, "So am I Richard." He said, "You know why, don't you?". I said, "Why?". He said, "You remind me of Elizabeth". I guess that made the kissing easier.'[citation needed]

Trivia

In 2009 Empire Magazine named it #2 in a poll of the 20 Greatest Gangster Movies You've Never Seen* (*Probably)

External links

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