Larry Writer’s RAZOR, the acclaimed, award-winning history of the Razor gangs, is the basis for Channel 9’s 13-part blockbuster – Underbelly Razor.
In the 1920s and ’30s in inner Sydney, some of the most terrifying criminals in Australia’s history waged war with razor and gun. As gang fought gang, the streets echoed with the sound of violence and ran with blood.
Razor chronicles in compelling detail the nether word ruled by fabled vice queens Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, and financed by the spoils of illegal drugs and alcohol, prostitution, gambling and extortion. Gangsters such as Guido Calletti, Big Jim Devine and Frank ‘the Little Gunman’ Green killed, robbed and slashed with impunity. Facing them were the police – some corrupt, some honest, and a few as tough and feared as the razor gangs they fought.
Razor is the fascinating true story of the people who lived and died in this world of violence and vice. Razor brings a city’s dark past back to life, and ensures that you will never look at inner Sydney in quite the same way again.
About the Author
Larry Writer is an award-winning author and freelance magazine feature writer. He is the co-author of Newk, John Newcombe’s bestselling autobiography, as well as Chrissy Amphlett’s memoir, Pleasure and Pain. Writer was previously a senior journalist and editor at Time Inc. Australia, working out of the London Bureau for two years before assuming the role of executive editor. Writer was also an editor, writer and London bureau chief for Australian Consolidated Press, and a co-founder of Ironbark Press. Larry’s most recent work is Bumper: The Life and Times of Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell
Channel 9’s Underbelly: RAZOR
Based on the best-selling book RAZOR by Larry Writer, this eagerly anticipated drama will be the fourth installment of the series that has revitalised Australian television drama and will bring to life Australia’s two famed vice queens along with infamous gangsters Norman Bruhn, Guido Calletti, Big Jim Devine, Squizzy Taylor, Phil “the Jew” Jeffs, John “Snowy” Cutmore and Frank “the Little Gunman” Green.
Nine’s Head of Drama, Jo Horsburgh said, “Underbelly: Razor is an ambitious and welcomed instalment for Nine, with Screentime, of the Underbelly franchise. It is a fascinating glimpse into back alleys, bedrooms and grog shops, where the good, the bad, and downright naughty, battle it out for supremacy in a post World War 1 Australia. It’s sophisticated and raunchy. Fantastic scripts delivering all that the audience have come to expect from Underbelly, great characters, great stories and great entertainment.”
“Underbelly: Razor marks an exciting new development in the Underbelly franchise,” said Des Monaghan, Executive Director of Screentime. “The women who battle for control of the underworld are truly incredible characters whose stories are as fresh today as when they occurred. And despite legendary criminal figures, Squizzy Taylor and Norman Bruhn, our story is dominated by extraordinary women such as Kate Leigh, Tilly Devine, Nellie Cameron and arguably Australia’s first policewoman, Lillian Armfield. A truly rich tale with larger than life characters.”
THE first flash of a glistening razor isn’t what gets you in the throat with the latest chapter of the notorious Underbelly series.
Think Chesty Bonds gone bad, real bad.
Of course, Underbelly: Razor is the glossy, lipsticked retelling of vice queens Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, who ruled 1920s Sydney with a heady mix of sexual misdeeds, cocaine and raw, unflinching violence.
From the first dazzling parade of feather boas and silky knickers to the obligatory boob count we’ve come to expect from this Channel 9 franchise, it’s clear this “Pussy Town” (as the narrator puts it) is no place for ladies.
Controlling the illicit drug and weapons trade decades before Carl Williams ever pulled on a tracksuit, these women showed him and his cohorts to come just how to wage real street warfare.
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Still, it’s the menacing men – the lovers, the gun-runners, the thugs – who mesmerise and make this a must-watch. Read more…
For more on the underside of Sydney we recommend you also read…
‘To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.’
Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney’s shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core.
Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass.
In Birmingham’s alternative history of Sydney, the yawning chasm between the megarich and the lumpen masses is as evident in the insane wealth of the new elites as it was in the head-spinning rapacity of the NSW Rum Corps. This is a city shattered by the nexus between government, big money and the underworld, where the glittering prizes go to the strong, not the just.
Combining intensive research with the pace of a techno-thriller, John Birmingham creates a rich portrait of a city too dazzled by its own gorgeous reflection to care much for what lies at its dark, corrupted heart. Illuminated by wild flashes of black humour, violent, ghoulish and utterly compelling, Leviathan is history for the Tarantino generation.
And now that that’s done let’s hear the full version of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. Why? Because it’s awesome.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.