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 film, as much the story of the personal lives of the robbers as of the heist, features terrific performances, a highly original script for the genre, and exceptional visuals and direction. Each of the would-be bandits is emotionally damaged in some way and the film reveals their individual quirky weaknesses with raw style. In one such sequence, Gino (David Clarke) is shaving and becomes intensely disturbed and claustrophobic when his roommate and fellow member of the gang (Steve McQueen) unexpectedly closes the bathroom door, a scene which stylistically seems to anticipate "Psycho", released in the following year. The look of late 50's St. Louis, the bandits' clothes and hats, the cars they drive, all provide a fascinating edge to this true story of a bank robbery, and one of the last great Noir films.
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