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Capone Investment, The (ITV 1973, John Thaw, Glyn Owen)



In The Capone Investment copper Inspector Reaygo and DI6 man Wheatfield get involved in a murder and embezzlement plot that goes to the 1920’s and a huge sum of money that legendary gangster Al Capone tried to launder in the UK.

Full of strong performances from big names including a cast against type John Thaw who at the time was just about to hit major stardom in The Sweeney.

The Capone Investment has that classic 1970’s vibe even if there was a bit of a reliance for the driving scenes, of which there were many, to use back projection. The theme tune definitely didn’t suit the production though!

Michael Kane reviewed the series in the Reading Evening Post of Thursday 5 July 1973: THE powers-that-be on Southern, that rising star of the Independent Television network, are currently striving for the big time. A six-part drama series, The Capone Investment, was launched before a large slice of the viewing public last night. It left a trail of intrigue based on the missing millions of mobster Al Capone and at least three unsolved murders. All very Chicago-style, except that the action is set in an imaginary country town called Haydock which Berkshire viewers could easily be forgiven for mistaking as Maidenhead. And the role ineveitable cop is taken by that most un-American of actors, Glyn Owen. He plays Reaygo, a sort of bull-nosed Barlow. The strong cast also includes John Thaw and the lovely Isobel Black. Viewers of the first episode will know that one enormous slice of Capone’s illicit fortune is in there somewhere, however unlikely the contemporary English setting. The proceeds of Prohibition were supposedly brought to Britain during the 1920’s, to evade the prying eyes of the US tax authorities. Now the investment could be worth £60 million – motive indeed for several murders! Factory owner George Hunter (Conrad Phillips) held the key to the mystery only to be wiped out in the first episode. Now the explosive Reaygo, aided by a cold and secretive agent from Dl6 played by Peter Sallis, must follow a trail of bodies and clues. Intrigued? Alas, for many In the Reading area, that is just too bad. The series has been given peak Wednesday evening viewing time throughout the ITV network, with the exceptions of Thames and Granada who have yet to be persuaded to make the Investment. Which is why Southern are so concerned that the series should hit home elsewhere. Of course. you could always turn your aerial around.

Anthony Davies also reviewed the first episode in the Coventry Evening Telegraph (Thursday 5 July 1973): When the action begins to flag Introduce the body. That’s the thriller writer’s maxim. It’s an even better idea when there’s no action at all, just a load of chat. So on that level, the first episode of the new six-weeks’ serial The Capone Investment (Southern) got off to a bright start last night night with two bodies – one in each half which isn’t a bad scoring average. And since the plot involves the recovery of £5O million of Al Capone’s ill-gotten gains, the setting is slick and lush, with elegant houses, sleek saloon cars and twin-engine power boats the order of the day. Even the police investigators and the man from DI6 (whatever that is) look as smart as tailor’s dummies. So far the dialogue has been necessarily vague and puzzling, concerned chiefly with various characters raising their voices and issuing threats impressively. Even a bad-tempered Glyn Owen as the detective of unspecified rank fancies himself as an ersatz Charlie Barlow, trying to raise a storm but only with the menace of a smug little cloud trying hard to rain. But give him time. On last night’s showing this serial has the makings.

Cast: Glyn Owen as Reaygo; Peter Sallis as Wheatfield; Isobel Black as Fran; John Thaw as Tom; John Bown as Metcalfe; Roland Curram as Bunty

WRITER: Ian Kennedy Martin | THEME MUSIC: Alexander Faris | PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Dilly | PRODUCER: James Gatward | DIRECTOR: Alan Gibson

UK | ITV – Southern | 6×30 minute episodes | AIRDATES: 4 July – 8 August 1973