George Fowler is drawn into a gang planning to rob a bank in St. Louis that they expect will have a $100,000 on hand on an upcoming Friday. George is drawn into the plan as the gang's driver by Gino, an old girlfriend's older brother. As the gang goes about its planning, George and Gino have to find a way to live for the next two weeks and they turn to Gino's sister, Ann, for help. George is hoping to go back to college and the money he would make would go a long way to helping him do that. Not trusting George to keep his nerve, the gang's leader John Egan moves him to the inside, but the robbery doesn't go off as planned. Written by
Heralded, "This story is based on a true incident. Men of the Saint Louis Police Department play the same parts they did in the actual crime," which is one of the less interesting elements about this film. Directors Charles Guggenheim and John Stix' documentary-style approach is more interesting. And, an early Steve McQueen stars; although, obviously, this is before he found a feature film persona that worked. Trumping all in the interest department, however, is the homosexual relationships between the characters, both real and imagined.
Mr. McQueen (as George Fowler) is a college drop-out, trying to lead the straight life. He is tempted into a life of crime, however, by ex-girlfriend Molly McCarthy (as Ann)'s brother David Clarke (as Gino). McQueen and Mr. Clarke have partnered up; but, the roommates have had a difficult time finding honest work. So, they involve themselves with a bank heist, masterminded by Crahan Denton (as John Eagan).
The fifth wheel in the cast is getaway driver James Dukas (as Willie). Mr. Dukas gives the film's best performance; and, he has the most interesting role. Dukas began with head honcho Denton when he was a younger, thinner "kid", a fact Denton cruelly enjoys mentioning; and, the two obviously became lovers. They have a terrific bickering scene, which ends with Denton ordering Dukas, "Go take a bath, Willie." Denton wants the younger McQueen to drive his getaway car, which makes Dukas very jealous.
Too bad that jukebox could only afford to play one record. With a bigger budget, "The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery" coulda been a contenda.
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