The Gold Robbers: The Arrangement 1969
United Kingdom Director. Alan Clarke
Alan Clarke directs this episode of a 13-part serial inspired by The Great Train Robbery of 1963. While Clarke’s episode here is presented outside of the rest of the series, each episode has its own individual focus on DCSI John Craddock’s (Peter Vaughan) hunt for a different member of the gang. As such it can be enjoyed as a standalone drama and is a fascinating early example of Clarke’s craft.
Like the previous instalment, this eighth episode of the series begins with an exciting sequence recapping the airfield robbery itself, with each episode revealing previously unseen detail.
Peter Vaughan, seen here in a rare role on the right side of the law, makes for a compelling presence throughout the series, and with its gritty dialogue and seedy snooker-hall locations The Gold Robbers can be seen as a clear forerunner of The Sweeney. But the series’ methodical approach, detailing Craddock’s meticulous needling out of key nuggets of information, often over the course of several interviews, posits the film as more of a procedural piece, perhaps more in-keeping with some of today’s detective dramas.
Also relatively contemporary in approach is the sense of cynicism in Eric Colthart’s script, which imparts a pervasive air of suspicion, mistrust and misdirection, in which crooks and colleagues alike seem adept at leaving false trails.