A fictional retelling of the infamous Brink's Company robbery in Boston, which took place on January 17th, 1950, with a score of $2.700.000, and cost the American taxpayers $29.000.000 to apprehend the culprits with only $58.000 recovered.
After a long spate of bad luck, the little criminal Tony and his gang successfully rob one of Brink's security transports, taking $30,000. Surprisingly their coup doesn't make the press. Curious Tony checks out their headquarters and finds out that their security standard is low beyond belief. Now a really big coup is prepared...Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Words almost fail me in talking about how much I love this film, this very funny, very stylish portrayal of what was considered the robbery of the last century.
First of all it could never have been done earlier. J. Edgar Hoover was not a figure to be satirized before May of 1972 when he breathed his last. Sheldon Leonard who plays him here and has him get it all wrong about who pulled the Brink's Armored Car Robbery, would not have taken the role, neither would any other actor. No one wanted to be on that man's bad side. Hoover was not quite the figure you see Leonard play here, though Leonard is fine in the part. Books and films subsequent to his death still really haven't got it quite right about him.
For all of J. Edgar's fulminations about the great Communist conspiracy at work in the Brink's job, the whole point of The Brink's Job is who actually did it. Six very ordinary street criminals, none of them violent felons in any way and one fence who declared himself in on the job.
The group is headed by Peter Falk who should have been Oscar nominated for his portrayal of Tony Pino, the group's leader and planner. You see The Brink's Job, Peter Falk will remain with you forever. A man without complications and hangups, he's a thief because it's his profession. He does have pride in how good he is though.
Some of Falk's best scenes are with his wife Gena Rowlands. She too is a woman who stands by her man. No doubt they came from the same hardscrabble background in Boston's Italian North End and she's completely supportive of him and his work. In particular I love the scene where she's bidding him off to work just like any other wife who's husband had a night job. Don't forget your screwdriver, here's a sandwich in case you get hungry, the scene is priceless.
I also love the scene in the restaurant where he takes her after a nice score. Falk is at the height of his considerable talents as he tells Rowlands of his plans for the Brink's Armored Car Company.
What everyone will love when they see this film is how comparatively easy it was for these knockabout guys from Boston to accomplish stealing over 4 million dollars. This score was so big, it HAD to be the work of a master criminal mind. The thing is it was, the mind was just not in a body where you would expect it to be found.
The others in the mob are Paul Sorvino, Kevin O'Connor, Warren Oates, Gerard Murphy and Peter Boyle who plays the fence. But my favorite in the mob and in the film is Allen Garfield who plays Falk's brother-in-law and sidekick who Falk keeps around for laughs. They have an Abbott&Costello like relationship with everything Garfield touches turning to waste product. My favorite scene in the whole film is when they decide to rob a gum factory payroll. Poor Garfield accidentally presses the wrong switch and he's awash in gumballs. Falk's and Sorvino's differing reactions are priceless.
A lot of the film was shot in Boston which in many ways is a city that tries more than most to keep it's traditional look. I haven't been in that city in about five years, but I daresay you could remake The Brink's Job today in the same area.
But if you did it wouldn't be as good, that isn't possible.
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