HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Bank Shot Scott FreeBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Gower Champion
Stars: George C. Scott, Sorrell Booke, Joanna Cassidy, G. Wood, Clifton James, Bob Balaban, Bibi Osterwald, Frank McRae, Don Calfa, Harvey Evans, Hank Stohl, Liam Dunn, Jack Riley, Pat Zurica, Harvey J. Goldenberg, Jamie Reidy
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bulldog Steiger (Clifton James) has great faith in his justice system, specifically the hard labour camp he runs for hardened criminals, out in the middle of nowhere so there’s no chance of escape because there’s nowhere to go, but one inmate in particular is a tough nut to crack. Walter Upjohn Ballentine (George C. Scott) is one of the most ingenious criminals around, and he has pulled off some incredible thefts, but now he’s caught in Steiger’s clutches with a long sentence ahead. That is until his lawyer Al G. Karp (Sorrell Booke) arrives – or is he his lawyer at all? Whatever, he has a proposition for Ballentine, and all he needs to do is break out then everything will be arranged. The target: a bank.

Bank Shot was the sort of film for which the word “offbeat” was invented, a succession of wacky characters getting up to wacky things, where nobody really gets hurt even though it’s a bunch of experienced criminals we’re dealing with, and you don’t even mind if they are making off with a fortune in cash, no matter that before we get to the ironic ending they were committed to their scheme with no show of remorse. Based on a Donald E. Westlake novel, it played as the type of comedy caper that British films of the previous decade had been revelling in where a collection of misfits would assemble to bring off the big job that would see them all set for the rest of their lives, but only after a few bumps in the road.

Quite often those bumps were of their own devising rather than anything the cops were dreaming up, but George C. Scott as the protagonist held it all together and it was really he we were following as the various threads were tied up in preparation for the film’s major setpiece. If anything, aside from a few off colour jokes this could easily have passed muster as a live action Disney effort of the same year, it had that same approach, benevolent even when the characters were up to no good, since they were never going to cross any kind of moral line other than their own self-interest, which we indulged mostly because we wanted to discover precisely how Ballentine was going to succeed, if indeed he would.

Scott was the rock in the cast, the centre of some lightly comic portrayals starting off with Clifton James as his screen nemesis, whose absurdity is emphasised when we see Ballentine make good his escape in a massive truck he hijacks, and a car chase ensues with one of the smallest vehicles around, a silly little police car that looks like a golf cart with an flashing light on top; the disparity between their sizes is just foolish enough to render the sequence amusing. What it was not perhaps was absolutely hilarious, and that’s what you had the impression director Gower Champion (a renowned dancer and choreographer who made the jump to directing) was aiming for, to have the audience rolling in the aisles.

The trouble with that was, while perfectly diverting and capable of raising the odd chuckle, you can’t imagine anyone roaring with laughter at Bank Shot, possibly down to how mild-mannered it was. When we reached the plans for stealing the money, things grew potentially interesting as the bank itself is situated in a mobile home, so Ballentine’s big idea was to not break in and make off with the safe, but to cart off the whole trailer, complete with security guards still inside. As with any heist movie, this lived or died by its central escapade, and in this case it was pretty good thanks to the novelty factor, but it never seemed quite as brilliant as the lead criminal mastermind’s abilities would have been geared towards from the way the others speak of him. Still, there was fun to be had from Joanna Cassidy (and her goofy laugh) as the backer who has designs on Ballentine which he is bizarrely reluctant to go through with, Booke blustering as only he could, Bob Balaban as a 1920s themed gangster, Frank McRae a safecracker too keen on pulling his gun, and so on. Maybe it was one for actor fanciers – or huge eyebrow fanciers. Music by John Morris.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 985 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 star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: