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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
Although this is film-making from the lowest echelons of independent cinema, with a budget that makes a shoestring look fat, there is something about it that just occasionally raises it above the countless other no-budget b-movies of its type.
Of course, the fact that Matthau's in it is probably the only reason we still have the opportunity to see it today. As well as starring, Matthau directed, and it's easy to see why he chose to stick with acting. Walter's choice of shots is sometimes comically bad; at one point, two characters holding a conversation look as if they're both staring at empty corners of the room because of the confused shooting angles he adopts.
The story is a run-of-the-mill crime plot chronicling the rise and fall of Jack Martin, an escaped convict with nerves of steel and a sense of humour. Martin manages to persuade the police to help him rob a bank, and gets his pursuers to hold a library door open for him so that he can make his escape. Inside the library, he woos the prim librarian (the future Mrs Matthau) by admitting he's a bank robber. No ordinary anti-hero then - at least not for the early sixties.
Sadly, that's pretty much all this film's got going for it. Matthau aside, the acting is pretty awful and there are plot holes you could drive an armoured truck through.
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