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A penniless widow blackmails a robber into teaching her the trade.
Divested of her savings by her selfish, middle-aged children, Bunny O'Hare suddenly loses her home when the bank forecloses on her mortgage, leaving the widow destitute and homeless. Sympathetic Bill Green, an aging itinerant salvaging the house's plumbing, offers to give her a ride anywhere in his camper truck. Soon after, Bunny calls her children, daughter Lulu and son Ad, in hopes of staying with them, but is too proud to mention her predicament, and they refuse to let her stay with them. Lulu explains that her husband Lloyd, a butcher, is chronically depressed after being fired, while gambler Ad lies and says he is too busy closing an important business deal to help. Bunny then begs to go with Bill to Mexico, where he resells his fixtures. Although generous, Bill decides that after one night in the camper, he will pay for bus fare to a destination of her choice. That night, Bill sets up Bunny's sleeping bag several hundred feet from the camper, hoping to quietly roll the truck away and leave unsuspecting Bunny behind. However, unknown to Bill, Bunny is inside the camper when he takes off and recognizes him on a wanted poster she finds there for fugitive bank robber William Gruenwald. Deciding to recoup her loses from the bank that took her home, Bunny politely blackmails Bill into teaching her how to rob a bank. Bill reluctantly begins Bunny's training routine with vigorous exercise and practice escapes on a motorbike, Bill's vehicle of choice for robberies, which he stores in the camper. Seeing hippies protesting outside a bank, Bill and Bunny adopt a hippie disguise for the robbery: Bunny wears a long blonde wig, over-sized hat and sunglasses, while Bill sports a beard, leather vest and bell-bottom pants. On the day of the robbery, Bill must encourage timid Bunny, who then threatens to "spill [the cashier's] guts" if he does not give her the money. The elderly pair flees the police on the motorcycle through parking lots, a shopping center and finally onto the freeway, escaping with $736, which Bunny sends to Lulu. Meanwhile, näive, by-the-book police lieutenant, Horace Greeley, arrests 436 hippies as part of the robbery investigation and, unable to understand their slang, asks his chief for a translator. Invigorated by her own bravery, Bunny buys a dress for a celebratory evening with Bill, but soon after, she calls Ad, who brashly asks her for $1,000 to invest in an oil syndicate, another ruse for his ever-increasing debt to loan shark Max. Despite Bill's protests, the couple robs again, setting free a canary in the bank to distract the guard while they take the money and escape. Back at the camper, Bunny explains to Bill that she alone is responsible for her children since their father died early on. Bunny then invites Bill to spend the night with her. Soon after, criminologist R. J. Hart is assigned to help Greeley, who is reluctant to take the young woman seriously. Although Washington D.C. reports that four older robbers have the modus operandi of a canary and a motorcycle, Greeley is still convinced that the felons are young hippies. Soon after learning that Lloyd needs group therapy to deal with his growing aversion to meat, Bunny and Bill rob another bank, using the canary trick again. Ad then asks for $1,000 for "legal expenses," prompting another robbery, in which Bunny sets off smoke bombs to aid in their escape. Back at the police station, Greeley, obsessed with tracing canary feathers found at the crime scenes, interrogates a mild-mannered hippie with a pet parrot, pressuring the "bird lover" to divulge the name of any friends with canaries. Greeley and R. J. agree that the motorcycle, which has not been spotted by the police after the crimes, must be hidden between robberies in a truck or camper. However, when police stop Bunny and Bill during a subsequent road check, they let them pass, believing they are too old to be the robbers. Finally Greeley agrees with R. J. when she notes that the robberies are all of branches of the same bank, but balks at her suggestion that they look at a list of recent foreclosures. Back at the camper, Bill urges Bunny to let her children take care of themselves. Later, Greeley and R. J. decide to stake out one of the four remaining branches in the area with undercover agents. Soon after, Bunny and Bill arrive at the same branch, but unable to find parking, decide instead to rob the bank across the street, directly under the hotel room where Greeley and R. J. are stationed. Meanwhile, when Greeley pulls a muscle in his back, R. J. orders him on the bed for a back rub. When police sirens suddenly alert them to the crime, Greeley is forced to run downstairs half nude to take command of his men. During the escape, an officer shoots and wounds Bunny in the shoulder, but Bill and Bunny manage to escape. Forced to stop at a police road block, Bill dupes Greeley into believing that the canaries chirping in the camper are parakeets. Unable to risk going to the hospital, Bill removes Bunny's bullet and they head to Mexico for a rest. Upset that all the news stories are about the robberies instead of recent protests, a disgruntled hippie couple dress identically to Bill and Bunny, rob a bank, shoot an officer in their escape and then race their motorcycle down to Mexico, riding just behind Bunny and Bill. Hearing the police sirens, Bill and Bunny pull off the road and watch as Greeley's men arrest the couple for the robberies. Although R. J. has spotted a motorcycle and a cage full of canaries through Bill's camper door, Greeley once again dismisses her and lets Bill and Bunny continue on. Crossing the border into Mexico, Bunny suddenly wants to make one more phone call to her children, whose selfish cries for more money motivate her to abandon them for a new life in Mexico.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||GP||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 30 Jun 1971|
|Release Date:||1971||Production Date:||
AFI-DVD; UCLA has 16mm print
|Color/B&W:||Color||Distributions Co:||American International Pictures|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||American International Productions|
|Duration(mins):||91-92 or 94||Country:||United States|
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User Ratings & Review
I thought I saw all of the Bette Davis movies on TCM. What a wonderful surprise to watch 2 legendary stars in this movie! I loved the funny storyline &...
Laugh out loud funny business
losen thomas 2013-04-29
Two classic stars and a few assorted fruit cakes create a fun movie.Who cares if it is hokey, it is, in the words of my beloved wife " a pee your...
Davis & Borgnine Together Again
Bruce Reber 2010-05-18
"Bunny O'Hare" (1971) reunites two great classic film stars (Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine) as senior bank robbers running away from the...