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
This is like one of Donald Westlake's early Parker novels, without Parker. Steve McQueen plays a young man falling in with a gang of bank robbers through the brother of his ex-girlfriend (David Clarke as Gino -excellent; Molly McCarthy as Ann - adequate). The robbery is planned in detail, which is interesting and has the feel of Asphalt Jungle, while personal resentments seethe as the misogynist gang leader (Crahan Denton as Egan - unforgettable) seeks to replace Willie (James Dukas), his right-hand man/lover who is going to seed, with the young and good-looking McQueen. The film is bleak as can be, and deliberately paced, but Victor Duncan's arresting on-location cinematography is reminiscent of Odds Against Tomorrow, the sound (supervised by Edward Johnson) is naturalistic, and the music moody without resorting to saxophones. What could have been a fine piece of noir art is let down only by McQueen's James Dean histrionics in the final ten minutes. Fans of noir shouldn't miss it.
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