24 user 13 critic

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 25 December 1966 (Brazil)
A paroled conman co-ordinates the robbery of an L. A. Airport bank with the arrival of the Soviet premier.


Bernard Girard


Bernard Girard
Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Coburn ... Eli Kotch
Camilla Sparv ... Inger Knudson
Aldo Ray ... Eddie Hart
Nina Wayne Nina Wayne ... Frieda Schmid
Robert Webber ... Milo Stewart
Rose Marie ... Margaret Kirby
Todd Armstrong ... Alfred Morgan
Marian McCargo ... Dr. Marion Hague (as Marian Moses)
Michael Strong ... Paul Feng
Severn Darden ... Miles Fisher
James Westerfield ... Jack Balter
Phillip Pine ... George Logan (as Phillip E. Pine)
Simon Scott ... William Anderson
Ben Astar ... General Mailenkoff
Michael St. Angel ... Captain William Yates


Involved crime drama about an intricate plan to rob an airport bank. Watch for the surprise ending and look quickly for a barely-recognizable Harrison Ford in his film debut, playing a bellhop. Written by Brett England

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

airport | robbery | bank | heist | prison | See All (64) »


The slickest swingin'est con man who ever took the world for a ride!


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 48660 delivered on 16-2-1967. See more »


Miles Fisher: [vanishing inside the bank vault] Moneeeey!
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User Reviews

Slow, Disjointed, and Disappointing
21 January 2013 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Seeing this heist film made me yearn for the no-nonsense efficiency of Kubrick's classic The Killing (1956). I can't recall any other heist film that generated absolutely no tension or suspense the way this one does. Instead the screenplay is cluttered with parts that fit together about as well as a bombed-out house. Writer Girard treats connecting threads as a needless distraction, which I guess we're supposed to take as the mark of European sophistication, 1960's style. Instead, we're treated to the wolfish Coburn's irresistible way with women, something about a Soviet premier on a visit, nameless guys who sort of appear and reappear leaving few tracks, and something about getting money from a bank after it's closed. The idea is to toss them all into the air and see how they come down.

Now, it might be argued that the movie is not really a heist film at all. That it's really not a genre film despite superficial appearances. Rather, the robbery and its planning are merely events leading up to some kind ironic point in the end about Eli outsmarting himself. Or some such more general point than merely a heist film. Okay. But the same general problem remains—the movie's just too slow and disjointed to hold interest regardless how it's defined.

Despite all, there are several redeeming features. There's ditzy Nina Wayne (Frieda) looking and sounding like her sexy sister Carol doing one of her hilarious bits on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Then there's the LA airport looking like a giant spider that's decide to squat on the city. And for old movie fans, it's an easy gig for Aldo Ray who gets marquee billing and about three lines of dialog. And finally, there's the neat twist ending—too bad this flash of inspiration is so slow in coming. In my book, it's one of the disappointing crime films of its time.

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Release Date:

25 December 1966 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Eli Kotch See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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