Bank Shot


1h 23m 1974
Bank Shot

Brief Synopsis

Crooks hatch an original plot to rob a bank temporarily housed in a mobile home.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jan 1974
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

A bank robber decides to steal an entire bank by lifting the building off its foundation with house-moving equipment in the middle of the night, painting it pink, and hiding it in a trailer park.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jan 1974
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Bank Shot -


One of the biggest surprise hits from 1972 was The Hot Rock, a slick and humorous crime film from 20th Century Fox and a new production company, Landers-Roberts Productions, run by producers Hal Landers and Bobby Roberts. The heist comedy starring Robert Redford and George Segal was based on a novel by hardboiled writer Donald E. Westlake, who had already completed a sequel, Bank Shot, which was picked up by Landers-Roberts before it was even officially published. A film version of the sequel was announced on October 22, 1971, a few months before The Hot Rock even hit theaters, with Redford and Segal slated to reprise their roles.

The prolific Westlake was a hot property at the time and often used pseudonyms to prevent his name from becoming oversaturated, with nom de plumes including Richard Stark (used for The Hunter, memorably filmed as Point Blank, 1967) and Tucker Coe, which he derived from two New York Giants backfield players, Tucker Frederickson and whom Westlake referred to as "a guy name Coy," which was changed to the more unusual Coe. Headquartered at Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Landers-Roberts was enamored with his work and picked up the options on four additional novels, though by the mid-'70s the public appetite for quirky crime capers was starting to wane after other Westlake-penned titles like Cops and Robbers (1973) and The Outfit (1973).

The production of Bank Shot eventually moved over to United Artists alongside a proposed Landers-Roberts version of Death Wish, which of course instead went off to Paramount and became a major 1974 hit, and a Tony Richardson-directed adaptation of I, Claudius, which turned into a popular public television miniseries. Interestingly, the author of the novel Death Wish was Brian Garfield, a friend and occasional collaborator with Westlake including the western comedy caper Gangway!.

After moving studios, the production of Bank Shot lost both of its proposed stars. Instead George C. Scott was announced in industry trades as the star on July 25, 1973. Having just completed a Broadway run in Uncle Vanya opposite Julie Christie, Scott was recently seen in theaters in Mike Nichols' The Day of the Dolphin and was still relatively fresh off of his Oscar win (which he refused) for Patton (1970). Wendell Mayes (The Poseidon Adventure [1972], Anatomy of a Murder [1959]) was set to script, while Gower Champion had already been confirmed as the director on June 5, 1973, with production set to roll on August 15. An acting fixture in screen musicals throughout the 1950s, Champion had become a pop culture fixture alongside his wife Marge and became one of the most honored men on Broadway (including eight Tony awards) as a director and choreographer on productions like Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!, and 42nd Street. Champion's only previous directorial effort was My Six Loves (1963) with Debbie Reynolds and David Jansen, with this film marking his second and last time behind the movie camera.

Shot entirely in Los Angeles, the film chronicles the comedic attempts of robbers to steal an entire bank temporarily in transit in a mobile building on wheels. The cast came packed with an odd assortment of actors including a young Joanna Cassidy, who was touted in the film's press kit as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall; she had just appeared in The Outfit (1973) and would go on to Blade Runner (1982) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Also in the cast were Sorrell Booke, a New York native best known for TV (including a later stint on The Dukes of Hazzard as Boss Hogg) but also a familiar face in such films as A Fine Madness (1966), Joy House (1964), and Fail Safe (1964). Also in the cast is another famous southern sheriff, Clifton James as prison warden Frank "Bulldog" Streiger, who is best known as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in the James Bond films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). A member of the Actor's Studio, he was also a seasoned stage actor with numerous Broadway and TV appearances.

By the time Bank Shot opened in July of 1974, the movie-going public had largely abandoned caper films in favor of all-star disaster epics. Critical reaction was also a mixture of delight and fatigued annoyance, with Playboy complaining, "It can't be easy to wring a lousy performance from George C. Scott, one of the best actors in any medium, but he's embarrassingly loutish and unfunny." Likewise, Time found that "Scott appears to be doing some sort of New Year's party imitation of Humphrey Bogart, an idea that consists entirely of petrifying his upper lip and pressing the dialogue out between the spaces in his teeth," while Richard Cuskely in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called it "a film comedy about as nourishing as a corn dog." However, Vincent Canby in The New York Times was an early admirer and called it "a rather ordinary pound-cake of a movie that's been stuffed with unexpected prizes... Director Champion seems to have had a great deal of fun with first rate actors doing a nonsense story." Now that it no longer has to be placed in context with a short-lived box office craze, its modest but undeniable charms are certainly easier to appreciate.

By Nathaniel Thompson
The Bank Shot -

The Bank Shot -

One of the biggest surprise hits from 1972 was The Hot Rock, a slick and humorous crime film from 20th Century Fox and a new production company, Landers-Roberts Productions, run by producers Hal Landers and Bobby Roberts. The heist comedy starring Robert Redford and George Segal was based on a novel by hardboiled writer Donald E. Westlake, who had already completed a sequel, Bank Shot, which was picked up by Landers-Roberts before it was even officially published. A film version of the sequel was announced on October 22, 1971, a few months before The Hot Rock even hit theaters, with Redford and Segal slated to reprise their roles. The prolific Westlake was a hot property at the time and often used pseudonyms to prevent his name from becoming oversaturated, with nom de plumes including Richard Stark (used for The Hunter, memorably filmed as Point Blank, 1967) and Tucker Coe, which he derived from two New York Giants backfield players, Tucker Frederickson and whom Westlake referred to as "a guy name Coy," which was changed to the more unusual Coe. Headquartered at Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Landers-Roberts was enamored with his work and picked up the options on four additional novels, though by the mid-'70s the public appetite for quirky crime capers was starting to wane after other Westlake-penned titles like Cops and Robbers (1973) and The Outfit (1973). The production of Bank Shot eventually moved over to United Artists alongside a proposed Landers-Roberts version of Death Wish, which of course instead went off to Paramount and became a major 1974 hit, and a Tony Richardson-directed adaptation of I, Claudius, which turned into a popular public television miniseries. Interestingly, the author of the novel Death Wish was Brian Garfield, a friend and occasional collaborator with Westlake including the western comedy caper Gangway!. After moving studios, the production of Bank Shot lost both of its proposed stars. Instead George C. Scott was announced in industry trades as the star on July 25, 1973. Having just completed a Broadway run in Uncle Vanya opposite Julie Christie, Scott was recently seen in theaters in Mike Nichols' The Day of the Dolphin and was still relatively fresh off of his Oscar win (which he refused) for Patton (1970). Wendell Mayes (The Poseidon Adventure [1972], Anatomy of a Murder [1959]) was set to script, while Gower Champion had already been confirmed as the director on June 5, 1973, with production set to roll on August 15. An acting fixture in screen musicals throughout the 1950s, Champion had become a pop culture fixture alongside his wife Marge and became one of the most honored men on Broadway (including eight Tony awards) as a director and choreographer on productions like Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!, and 42nd Street. Champion's only previous directorial effort was My Six Loves (1963) with Debbie Reynolds and David Jansen, with this film marking his second and last time behind the movie camera. Shot entirely in Los Angeles, the film chronicles the comedic attempts of robbers to steal an entire bank temporarily in transit in a mobile building on wheels. The cast came packed with an odd assortment of actors including a young Joanna Cassidy, who was touted in the film's press kit as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall; she had just appeared in The Outfit (1973) and would go on to Blade Runner (1982) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Also in the cast were Sorrell Booke, a New York native best known for TV (including a later stint on The Dukes of Hazzard as Boss Hogg) but also a familiar face in such films as A Fine Madness (1966), Joy House (1964), and Fail Safe (1964). Also in the cast is another famous southern sheriff, Clifton James as prison warden Frank "Bulldog" Streiger, who is best known as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in the James Bond films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). A member of the Actor's Studio, he was also a seasoned stage actor with numerous Broadway and TV appearances. By the time Bank Shot opened in July of 1974, the movie-going public had largely abandoned caper films in favor of all-star disaster epics. Critical reaction was also a mixture of delight and fatigued annoyance, with Playboy complaining, "It can't be easy to wring a lousy performance from George C. Scott, one of the best actors in any medium, but he's embarrassingly loutish and unfunny." Likewise, Time found that "Scott appears to be doing some sort of New Year's party imitation of Humphrey Bogart, an idea that consists entirely of petrifying his upper lip and pressing the dialogue out between the spaces in his teeth," while Richard Cuskely in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called it "a film comedy about as nourishing as a corn dog." However, Vincent Canby in The New York Times was an early admirer and called it "a rather ordinary pound-cake of a movie that's been stuffed with unexpected prizes... Director Champion seems to have had a great deal of fun with first rate actors doing a nonsense story." Now that it no longer has to be placed in context with a short-lived box office craze, its modest but undeniable charms are certainly easier to appreciate. By Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

I'm going to get up from this table. I'm going to walk to the nearest police station, and I'm going to turn myself in. And they will take me back to Stryker's funny farm, where at least I was safe...
- Walter Upjohn Ballentine
...and sane. And I pity the fool who tries... to stop me.
- Walter Upjohn Ballentine

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1974

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States 1974