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I Promised to Pay (1961)

Payroll (original title)
A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong, when the factory employs an armoured van to carry the cash. The gang still go ... See full summary »


Sidney Hayers


George Baxt (screenplay), Derek Bickerton (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Craig ... Johnny Mellors
Françoise Prévost ... Katie Pearson
Billie Whitelaw ... Jackie Parker
William Lucas ... Dennis Pearson
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ... Monty
Tom Bell ... Blackie
Barry Keegan Barry Keegan ... Bert Langridge
Edward Cast Edward Cast ... Detective Sergeant Bradden
Andrew Faulds ... Detective Inspector Carberry
William Dexter William Dexter ... Harry Parker (as William Peacock)
Glyn Houston ... Frank Moore
Joan Rice ... Madge Moore
Vanda Godsell ... Doll
Stanley Meadows ... Bowen
Brian McDermott Brian McDermott ... Brent


A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong, when the factory employs an armoured van to carry the cash. The gang still go ahead with the robbery, but when the driver of the armoured van is killed in the raid, his wife plans revenge, and with the police closing in, the gang start to turn on each other. Written by mike.wilson6@btinternet.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The scheme was perfect...the getaway was clean...but a ruthless woman plotted a deadly doublecross! See more »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

20 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Promised to Pay See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lynx Films Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In a recent late night U.K. TV broadcast (29/05/18) there is a sequence set in a house where a woman is talking to a man while she is washing her daughter who is in a bath. The daughter is standing up but from her shoulders down her body is optically blurred while her mother is washing her. See more »


Despite its Newcastle setting, not one character has a genuine "Geordie" (Newcastle/Tyneside) accent. See more »


Johnny Mellors: In case you didn't know, killing that driver was murder, and you're an accessory. You give yourself up, Monty, you'll swing, sure as Christmas.
See more »


Featured in Oil City Confidential (2009) See more »


It Happens Every Day
By Tony Osborne & Norman Newell (uncredited)
Sung by Eddie Ellis
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User Reviews

A Jazzed Up Adrenaline Fuelled Heist Flick... and much more...
3 April 2018 | by stephenabellSee all my reviews

This is a many-layered story and it's this which keeps it riveting for the audience. Johnny Mellors (Craig) is a career criminal. He likes to have all the facts before hitting his mark. The biggest mark of his career is the payroll of a large factory, over one-hundred-thousand pounds. Unfortunately, on the day of the hit a couple of motorcycle police ride up just as they are about to put their plan into action. Then to make matters worse, their inside man, Dennis Pearson (Lucas), informs them of the companies decision to employ an armoured car for the wage run. Unable to turn down such a big score Mellors and his men start to stake out the armoured car...

This is only the beginning, some writers and directors would make a movie just about the heist. Though, what Baxt and Hayers give the viewers is the aftermath of the heist itself. So we have the police, chasing after the criminals, though evidence and clues are running thin. A wife, hellbent on revenge. Another wife, cunningly trying to get the better of every man in her life, who she pities, hates, and doesn't trust,.. just to get the money. A man who cannot handle guilt and mentally breaks down. All of these characters are well rounded and written.

The good thing is that the actors are brilliant in their roles and bring them to life. Craig is believable as the leader of the gang. This guy is methodical and cool. Though if you get on the wrong side of him he will break you in two... without blinking. Whitelaw is one of the strongest in the cast. When she sets out on her mission of revenge the look on her face says it all. This woman is a juggernaut with a one-track mind and will not stop until she has her revenge. Francoise Prevost has an air of a clever and cunning woman. Always thinking, always planning, who will do anything to better her life... but can she be more wily or slick as Mellors? And, William Lucas does scared, anxious, and frightened magnificently.

But there's still more. Director, Hayers, is great in his field. There are plenty of interesting camera shots, angles, and iconic photography. All of which add power to the film. To be honest, this is a masterpiece in modern film noir, though it's old now as it was filmed in 1961 - it is still a great watch.

Now, I'm not a great jazz fan but the soundtrack to the movie is outstanding and used to it's fullest potential. It has the power to pull the viewer in and make them feel the excitement and tension of a scene. I was surprised by how much I liked this element of the movie.

I would recommend this to everyone.

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