I have always been a big fan of British actress Suzy Kendall, and her 1971 movie Assault is definitely one of my special favourites of hers. So, as I have now purchased and watched this 70s classic on glorious Blu Ray, here is my full Assault 1971 movie review.
Full of red herrings and often regarded as a British giallo, Assault opens with the rape of a schoolgirl (Lesley Ann Downe) in the Devil’s End, a wooded expanse of land adjacent to Heatherdene School. As more schoolgirls taking similar shortcuts through the woods are attacked and raped, a string of tragic murders eventually ensues, and Detective Chief Superintendent Velyan (Frank Finlay) is called in to investigate.
Unfortunately, Velyan has only two witnesses: Tessa Hurst (Lesley-Anne Down), the first victim whose traumatic experience has left her unable to speak; and art teacher Julie West (Suzy Kendall), who is ridiculed in court after testifying that the perpetrator, half-glimpsed in the dark through a warped rear windscreen, “looked exactly like the devil”. Refusing to be put off, Julie volunteers herself as bait in her own brave but extremely risky plan to catch the murderer.
The rest of the film becomes more of a whodunit, but it certainly holds your attention and has you on the edge of the seat right to the end, despite the fact that it’s not really explicit blood and gore wise. Assault is one of those movies that bears out the fact that as long as you have a good, entertaining storyline, peopled with interesting characters you can root for, then you don’t need to make it into a stomach-turning splatterfest.
As you watch the story unfold, your mind starts to carefully consider each character in regard to the chances of them being the killer. For instance, there is Denning (Freddie Jones), a local, over-pushy journalist who pursues Julie to a stalking extent and insists on addressing her as “girlie”. And then there is Dr Greg Lomax (James Laurenton), the psychiatrist overseeing Tessa’s recovery, who keeps feeding Julie sedatives, and whose interest in her goes clearly beyond just the professional. And what about Leslie Sanford (Tony Beckley), hen-pecked husband of the school headmistress (Dilys Hamlett) and a ridiculously lecherous man who certainly isn’t averse to blatantly groping a young girl’s thigh at the first opportunity. And then there are other, more minor suspects to consider. It could be anybody, of course, but who?
The transfer on this new Blu Ray from Network is just brilliant, and the movie certainly has a very high rewatchability factor. Suzy Kendall looks, as always, absolutely stunning, and gives an excellent performance as the schoolteacher, as do all the other actors in their various roles. In particular, I have always liked Frank Finlay as an actor, and again he gives a flawless performance here as the dogged police superintendent.
So if you want to wallow in a bit of British 70s nostalgia, and love giallo-type stories, then I can highly recommend Assault as a movie you should definitely add to your Blu Ray collection.
You can buy the Blu Ray of Assault now by clicking on the movie’s image link above this article.