Gangster and cop killer Jack Martin is on the run from the law, and hides out in a small town. Low on funds, he engineers a clever bank robbery that yields him a big bundle. Now he has not ... See full summary »
Gangster and cop killer Jack Martin is on the run from the law, and hides out in a small town. Low on funds, he engineers a clever bank robbery that yields him a big bundle. Now he has not only the cops and the FBI after him, but also the local crime boss, who's outraged that an outsider can pull off a heist like that in his territory and not cut him in on it. Written by
Walter Matthau and his newlywed wife, co-star Carol Grace, were so broke by the time this film was made (mainly due to Matthau's gambling debts) that the couple had to pawn most of their wedding gifts just to afford to pay rent. They were so desperate financially that Matthau accepted the role of director and star for only $2,500. He later commented to the effect that it was the worst movie ever made, then adding, "Let me put it this way. It was the worst film I ever made. It was a poor script by a hack writer and a famous cardiovascular surgeon who produced the film with his brother who was a textile manufacturer from Philadelphia." He said the film "premiered at Loew's in Newark, and was so bad it never crossed the Hudson." See more »
The Itch to Scratch
Music by Leonard Barr
Lyrics by Ronald Bloomberg
Sung by Ted Stanford See more »
Gangster Story has the distinction of being the first film Walter Matthau ever starred in and the only film he ever directed. And for him personally he wedded his leading lady Carol Grace aka Carol Marcus. She became the second Mrs. Matthau.
It has a lot of similarities to one of Matthau's better serious roles Charley Varrick which was directed by Don Siegel after Matthau became a star. Unfortunately this one was shot on a dental floss budget and Matthau the actor did not get any great performances out of his cast.
Matthau plays a bank robber who has just escaped police custody and goes right to work and pulls off a nice bank robbery which comes to the attention of a local crime boss. He gets Matthau in his organization and they pull a big score, but the getaway was a bloody mess.
Matthau also has taken up with a local librarian who is intrigued by him even before she learns he's a professional criminal. The chance to leave her humdrum life as a librarian to become possibly Bonnie Parker is also intriguing, but up to a point.
As for the ending, no surprises but it doesn't end like Charley Varrick. Think of the film Heat from Robert DeNiro's point of view.
The only other person in the cast of note is Garry Walberg who plays one Matthau's henchmen from the big score who proves to be a loyal friend.
The whole affair in noir black and white looks like it was shot with a Kodak home movie camera. Matthau makes it interesting, but Ed Wood had bigger budgets.
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