A number of otherwise insignificant small-town stories erupt into drama when a gang of hoodlums decides to rob the local bank. A father looking for pride in his son's eyes, a timid clerk who is a peeping tom by night, a man striving to rewin his wife's love, an Amish farmer faced with viciousness, and a proper older woman turned thief, all find themselves entangled with the bank robbers as a peaceful weekend turns violent. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
"Stick 'em in your kisser, son...now go over there and suck on 'em."
Combination crime-thriller and soap opera, presumably a contract picture from Fox with many familiar faces (and Ernest Borgnine inexplicably cast as an Amish farmer!), turns out to be a pretty exciting movie. Three hoods plot to stick up a small town bank; meanwhile, hormones are boiling over at the new copper plant where the foreman's son is drinking himself into a stupor while his cheating wife runs around on the golf course ("You're an alcoholic," she tells him, "and I'm a tramp!"). There's also a married banker who lusts after a shapely nurse, a librarian with sticky fingers, and Victor Mature as a graduate whose oldest child is ashamed that his father never served his country. Director Richard Fleischer sets up the pieces of this story carefully, almost sluggishly, yet after about an hour of exposition the plot really starts cooking. There are some strong images here, and vivid cinematography by Charles G. Clarke (with excellent location shooting in Bisbee, Arizona and terrific usage of De Luxe color stock). The ensemble cast works admirably together, no one person upstaging the other, however crooked Lee Marvin makes a fantastic entrance into town stepping on a child's hand in the street! Gripping, tense, and surprisingly well-written, with Richard Egan getting an emotional monologue at the end about the unfairness of death. An injured Amish child is forgotten about in the rush of excitement, and Borgnine in an Abraham Lincoln beard strains credulity, but the technical aspects and direction of the film are top-notch. *** from ****
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