HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Antibirth
Undisputed
Vengeance: A Love Story
All About the Benjamins
Wolf and Sheep
House IV
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Face in the Crowd, A
Arrival
House II: The Second Story
Jade
Who's That Knocking at My Door
Louder Than Bombs
House
Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, A
Eyes of My Mother, The
Just Like a Woman
Lady in the Van, The
Jack the Ripper
Gleason
What a Whopper!
Kickboxer
Insiang
Only the Strong
Manila in the Claws of Light
Sun Choke
Man on Fire
Clear and Present Danger
Two Rode Together
Chamber, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Absolute Dick: Dick Emery at Thames Television on DVD
Face the Strange: Extremes of British Pop Movies '65-'75
How To Become The Most Famous Man in the World: Chaplin at Essanay on Blu-ray
Every Day's a Holiday, Charlie Brown!
Christmas Bonus: All Star Comedy Carnival on DVD
Manor On Movies: Beat On The Brat(s)
The SHADO Knows: UFO The Complete Series on Blu-ray
Siege Mentality: Rio Bravo and Assault on Precinct 13
Queens of Women: Five Cult Stars, Five Cult Films
Abstract Strategies: The Brothers Quay on Blu-ray
   
 
  11 Harrowhouse Instant BillionairesBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Aram Avakian
Stars: Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, Peter Vaughan, Cyril Shaps, Leon Greene, Jack Watson, Jack Watling, Clive Morton, Larry Cross, Glynn Edwards, John Bindon, Joe Powell, Michael Gover, Michael Hawkins
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Howard R. Chesser (Charles Grodin) assesses diamonds for sale for a living, and makes a fair profit at it, though nowhere near as much as the Diamond Exchange at 11 Harrowhouse Street in London does, so couple that with the snobbish disdain the staff there hold him in, in particular the snooty but dangerous boss (John Gielgud), and it's not his favourite place to be. But what can he do? He's a self-described spectator in life, meaning he never thinks he's going to amount to much, though he is proud to have snagged rich girlfriend Maren Shirell (Candice Bergen) whose passion is zooming around in fast cars. But one day something happens to shake Howard up...

Nothing like a heist movie to do that, is there? Mind you, Howard pretty much stayed in the same frame of mind throughout, and if it were not for narration we would not be privy to his feelings at all, which was presumably why it was included. However, not every version of this movie carried the voiceover, which indicated the studio felt the proceedings needed an extra bit of business to sell it to the audience, and also in light of how drily humorous, verging on the sarcastic, Grodin's narration was we could surmise this was one of the least enthusiastic jobs in that area until Harrison Ford had his arm twisted to perform the same duty on Blade Runner.

Or maybe that's just what Charles Grodin was like, given he had adapted the popular Gerald A. Browne novel for the screen himself - Jeffrey Bloom penned the screenplay - with the character of Howard very close to his usual screen persona of the urbane but irritated by life modern male. Although there were quite a few Americans behind the camera, including director Aram Avakian making what surprisingly would be his final film at the helm, 11 Harrowhouse was a British production, which explained why most of the name cast were either ageing Brits from that thespian lineage, or character performers from that nation's deep well of such talent.

Oddly, there was an anti-establishment air to much of this, as if the Americans were keen to send up the United Kingdom's class system, and their British colleagues were only too happy to allow them to do so, but it was the central couple from across the Pond that would be the main force for striking back. Howard is puttering along, minding his own business, keeping his grievances to himself, when he is invited by millionaire Lord Bolding (Trevor Howard) to sell a large uncut diamond which he values at a high price; the diamond is then cut, he takes it back through Belgium to the nobleman's estate hidden in Maren's sports car, but whoops, along the way they are stopped.

And robbed, which puts Howard in a very difficult position since the gemstone was not insured, meaning he owes Lord Bolding a lot of money, but it so happens the old man has a solution to that: steal every diamond at the exchange. Easier said than done, especially given the opening sequence showed a previous robbery resulting in the criminals being blown up, no questions asked. But Howard is a clever chap, and devises a plan by roping in unappreciated Exchange worker James Mason to assist, along with a couple of cockroaches, one painted white, the other red. The vacuum cleaner-inspired heist itself is highly amusing, and the highlight, but for some reason the filmmakers decided they really needed something to top it for excitement, so the movie climaxes in a great big chunk of high speed car chasing, complete with very un-British exploding vehicles and admittedly very impressive stunts. Really it's Grodin's wry 'n' dry personality which sells this, one of the better (but not best) examples of this decade's love of a good heist. Music by Michael J. Lewis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1409 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
Halloween
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Nelly Bongbong
  June Wallace
  Mark Hodson
  Rian Hill
Enoch Sneed
Guild Lee
   

 

Last Updated: