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A charming but ruthless criminal holds the family of a bank manager hostage as part of a cold-blooded plan to steal 97,000 pounds.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Colonel Gore Hepburn (as Andre Morell)
Richard Vernon ...
Pearson
Norman Bird ...
Arthur Sanderson
Kevin Stoney ...
Detective Inspector Bill Mason
Barry Lowe ...
Peter Harvill
Edith Sharpe ...
Miss Pringle
Lois Daine ...
Sally
Alan Haywood ...
Kane
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Storyline

A ruthless crook abducts the wife and child of a bank manager and then masquerades as an insurance company detective while scheming to rob the institution in this crime drama. Unfortunately, some of the manager's employees learn about the plot and the terrified manager must beg them to remain silent. Fortunately, the cops have been on the case all along. Written by Dylan Conner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

PERFECT PLAN! PERFECT CRIME! PERFECT SUSPENSE! (original ad - all caps)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1961 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Assalto ao Cofre  »

Box Office

Budget:

£37,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The famous film company Hammer only invested only a mere £37,000 by 2009 standards for the making of this film. See more »

Goofs

Although failing to shut the inner vault door should result in a burglar alarm going off in 30 seconds, a full 41 tension-filled seconds elapse before Fordyce closes it without harm. See more »

Quotes

Fordyce: The opinion of a common thief is of no interest to me.
Hepburn: I flatter myself I am a rather uncommon thief. A common one would just make off with the money, but I can't help interesting myself in people. It's a failing you ought to cultivate, Fordyce.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Theatre 70: The Gold Inside (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

The First Noel
Traditional English carol
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User Reviews

 
CASH ON DEMAND (Quentin Lawrence, 1961) ***
1 January 2012 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Having been a bank employee for a number of years now, I guess I have a subversive fondness for caper thrillers, especially those dealing with robberies from vaults and which generally involve hostages being taken. Although they have been known to happen locally even during my tenure, luckily I have never been subjected to one…although last year's mid-year attempt was quite a close call! Anyway, this renowned British example of this subgenre – atypically produced by Hammer Films for all of £37,000! – gives studio stalwarts Peter Cushing and Andre' Morell (formerly paired as adversaries in a famous 1953 TV adaptation of 1984 – that I have yet to watch! - and as celebrated duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in their atmospheric 1959 adaptation of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES) arguably the best non-horror roles they ever had during their stay at Bray Studios.

Although the IMDb mistakenly gives the film as being a 1962 production and a mere 66 minutes in length, the truth of the matter is more complicated: its U.S. distributors Columbia released it over there as early as December 1961 but the movie would not be officially screened on its home-turf until October 1963; its running time, then, is actually 80 minutes! Based on an earlier TV episode of THEATRE 70 entitled GOLD INSIDE which also shared the same director and starred Morell but with one Richard Warner enacting the role later handled by Cushing. Indeed, the Christmas period during which the narrative is set and Cushing's own fastidious and glum character make this seem like a smart revisit of Dickens' Yuletide perennial about a certain cantankerous miser who goes by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge! Cushing, in fact, plays a strict and unloved manager of a small banking branch in the suburbs who is as distant and authoritarian with his staff as he seems to be with his wife and child. Morell is the at-once gentlemanly and ruthless thief who poses as an auditor from Head Office out to inspect this particular branch's security standards.

The fact that a recent minor cash difference had just put a young teller (Barry Lowe) and the Chief Clerk (Richard Vernon) at loggerheads with their Manager only exacerbates the tension already present within the enclosed environment and ensures that a series of errors (i.e. security breaches) are committed that enable Morell's ease of entry into Cushing's office from which he will be conducting his cunning plan of filling up four suitcases (which he had Lowe bring back inside from his car parked outside!) with the bank's entire cash holding of £93,000 since there is a direct passage to the vault downstairs from there! This being the early 1960s, it still presents the old-fashioned picture of a branch manager holding one of the keys to the keys to the bank's strongroom with the other held by the Chief Clerk but that situation is all the more plausible for the film being set in a small branch. Morell tells Cushing that he had been planning the heist for a year and one is bound to believe him since he knows every little detail concerning not just the bank's security procedures but also its individual employees! In fact, some accomplices are apparently holding Cushing's family hostage and have orders to kill them if the appropriate signals are not given from Cushing's window. The plan goes smoothly for Morell (despite the occasional slip-up from a broken-down Cushing) but he has not reckoned with Norman Bird (as an eager-to-please bank employee who belatedly checks up on Morell's identity with Head Office) and Kevin Stoney (as an overzealous new Police Inspector in town)...

Apart from the aforementioned stars and a handful of behind-the-scenes mainstays, most of the people involved in the film were not Hammer regulars; even so, it still emerges as one of their worthier straight efforts and is miles removed from even their other thrillers: the telephone sequence with Cushing and his 'family' and the sudden realization of Morell's true intent is more genuinely spine-tingling than anything out of the studio's more renowned chillers! Still, the miniscule budget ensured that no attempt is made to open-up the story (which would have justified this big-screen transposition!) but, on the other hand, this enables it to retain the inherent claustrophobia elicited by its one-set plot; one other quibble involves the finale, which could have been rendered in a more exciting manner! While Cushing's characterization is impressive (it was a pleasure to watch him crack under the strain and become recognizably humane – albeit still reservedly – towards his "subordinates") as always but Morell is a particular standout here (since he was rarely given the opportunity to play lead roles, notable exceptions being the original TV serial QUATERMASS AND THE PIT {1958} – later condensed for a movie remake by Hammer themselves but starring Andrew Keir{!} – and the company's sole foray into living-dead lore THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES {1966}) as the charming villain who can just as easily display his menace through the tone of his voice as the use of his hands. Interestingly, director Lawrence was the man behind the Hammer-esque sci-fi effort THE TROLLENBERG TERROR aka THE CRAWLING EYE (1958; which I just caught up with last year) and THE MAN WHO FINALLY DIED (1963; another thriller featuring Cushing that I have in my unwatched pile). For the record, having already acquired a mediocre-looking copy of the film some years back, I eventually upgraded to a vastly superior one sourced from Sony's barebones disc as part of their "Hammer Films: The Icons Of Suspense" 6-film 3-disc set.


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