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 »
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 »
Shot by a jealous husband, Charley falls out a porthole and is lost at sea only to find himself returned as an attractive blond woman. His best friend is staying at his house as he puts ... See full summary »
After his girlfriend Jo refuses to make a commitment to their relationship, Al Woods decides to enlist and finds himself in the US Coast Guard. He makes it through basic training but a ... 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 »
One of the more pleasing aspects of having a cable channel like TCM is the comforting knowledge that sooner or later so many wonderful quasi-obscure little film noir gems will eventually be broadcast and make their way into the home libraries of those who so ravenously covet them.
One such deliriously sublime example is GANGSTER STORY, a no-budget 1960 indie noir that starred and was directed by Walter Matthau. Produced in Los Angeles on virtually no money at all, it tells the simple but compelling story of criminal Jack Martin (Matthau) who, at the outset of the story has escaped his police captors and killed a cop in the process. His flight takes him to a quiet little town where he holes up while planning an outrageously weird bank job back in the big city. The heist nets him a bundle and now with the cops, the FBI and the outraged local crime kingpins (how dare this punk upstage them!) hot on his trail, the chase that will lead to Martin's ultimate destiny becomes hotter by the minute.
This is a tough one to recommend across the board, as there will no doubt be many who are put off by the obvious lack of resources devoted to the making of this picture. But connoisseurs of ragtag B crime noirs are likely to savor the abundance of eccentric touches that Matthau invests in this truly odd and surprisingly inventive thriller. Trivia freaks will enjoy knowing that Carol Grace, the actress who plays Matthau's love interest, became the real-life second Mrs. Matthau a couple of years later.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?