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 »
Joseph Kotcher, a retired traveling salesman, lives with his son Gerald and daughter-in-law Wilma in Los Angeles. He dotes upon his young grandson Duncan irritating high-strung Wilma to the... See full summary »
Unassuming and single thirty-three year old Tillie Shlain is at that phase of her life of being known as a soon to be spinster if she doesn't marry soon. She isn't looking forward to ... See full summary »
Film version of the Neil Simon play has three separate acts set in the same hotel suite in New York's Plaza Hotel with Walter Matthau in a triple role. In the first, Karen Nash tries to get... See full summary »
After robbing a bank Murphy assumes the identity of his pursuer, a famous US Marshal, when he stumbles into a town and is confronted by the local judge, Matthau. Murphy is forced to remain ... See full summary »
Jim Burton, chronic alcoholic, is cared for by Ellen, his incredibly patient, sexy, hard-working wife. A doctor's warning that Jim could become mentally ill strikes enough fear into him ... 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 may have been more interesting with a higher budget and by ditching the California countryside locations. This story seemed to be in a smaller city (one scene has Matthau driving with cows in a field in the background) so I can't see why there would be such a mob presence here.
The bank robbery was actually quite funny. Matthau used all the wit and charm we saw in later films during this scene. He had a few other humorous lines in this film.
Some of the other dialouge was really stiff though, especially with the supporting cast. Looks like they just took people off the street and gave them lines to memorize. There was some really awful acting here. Matthau himself comes across stiffly in his tender scenes with his real wife. The kissing scene was embarrassing to watch.
Someone in another review made a comparison to the old "Highway Patrol" TV show and I agree. That show also was filmed in the California countryside and desert areas. The old black and white police cars in Gangster Story (minus any identification on them) looked and sounded just like THP cars.
I enjoy watching old, low budget films, though. Especially when it contains a major star in an early role. Kind of a cheap thrill, however, I wouldn't put this on anyone's "Don't Miss" list.
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