After just being released from a five year stint in prison, Johnny Clay has assembled a five man team, including two insiders, to carry out what he estimates will be a $2 million heist at Lansdowne Racetrack, that take, minus expenses, to be split five ways. Besides Johnny, none of the men truly are criminals in the typical sense. In addition to the other four team members, Johnny has hired two men external to the team to carry out specific functions for a flat fee, the other four who will not meet the two men for hire or know who they are, while the two men for hire will not be told of the bigger picture of the heist. None involved are to tell anyone, even their loved ones, about the job, each of the five who has a specific reason for wanting his share of the money: Johnny, in wanting to get married to his longtime girlfriend Fay, the two who have known each other since they were kids, realizes that to live comfortably, he has to shoot for the moon instead of carrying out the penny ...Written by
Director Stanley Kubrick formed a production company with James B. Harris, Harris-Kubrick Pictures, before making this film. Kubrick and Harris bought the rights to the Lionel White pulp novel "The Snatch" for $10,000, but found out that the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) Code would not allow movies to be made about the kidnapping of children, the premise of White's potboiler. White subsequently swapped the rights to his novel "Clean Break" for "The Snatch" to get them out of the predicament. United Artists had considered buying "Clean Break" as a vehicle for Frank Sinatra. "The Snatch" later was made into The Night of the Following Day (1969) in the more permissive 1960s, when the MPPDA Code had been superseded by the ratings system. See more »
During the robbery you clearly see that a significant amount of the money is in neatly banded bundles of brand new crisp bills yet when it is transferred from the dufflebag to the suitcase all of the money is loose, unstacked & well used. See more »
At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September, Marvin Unger was, perhaps, the only one among the hundred thousand people at the track who felt no thrill at the running of the fifth race. He was totally disinterested in horse racing and held a lifelong contempt for gambling. Nevertheless, he had a $5 win bet on every horse in the fifth race. He knew, of course, that this rather unique system of betting would more than likely result in a loss, but he didn't...
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Crackling heist story that will have you glued to your seat
There's little to fault in Stanley Kubrick's classic robbery tale. The acting is first-rate with Marie Windsor, as Mrs. Peaty, a sarcastic stand-out. The story just pops off the screen - and at less than 90 minutes, there's literally no filler. I love the winding time line ("earlier that day" etc.), which has been liberally utilized by Quentin Tarantino (Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs). This film was made right before Kubrick's WWI marvel, Paths of Glory, and his genius is apparent in both. No wasted words or actions. Love that last line!
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