Where’s Jack? 1970 ***

Few films have really investigated the folklore of Old London, but in 1969 novelist and director James “Shogun’ Clavell created a vivid picture of the 1720’s in this rarely seen drama. Tommy Steele’s toothy grin and pop-star persona might seem a poor fit for the story of Jack Shepard, a locksmith who was pressed into unwilling service by the city’s Thief Taker Jonathan Wild (Stanley Baker, who also produced).  Although there’s a few songs on the soundtrack, and a lavish production design, this isn’t a musical, and although the pace is slow, it builds to a tense scene as Shepard is led to the gallows to pay the price for his daring defiance of his masters. Both Steele and Baker have the chops to carry the film, and there’s strong support from UK TV stalwarts Alan Badel and Michael Elphick.


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