Cast & Crew
Dan Dailey Jr.
A series of bank robberies committed by the River Gang plagues the Midwest and stumps the FBI. Meanwhile, at a federal penitentiary, tough guy Jeff Crane is placed in the same cell as Sonny Black, a suspected member of the gang. After Jeff stoically survives a three-week stay in solitary confinement for inciting a riot, he gains Sonny's grudging respect and tells him about his plan for a jailbreak. With smuggled guns, the two escape, but Sonny is badly wounded. Several days later, Jeff, who is an undercover agent, arrives at the FBI field office in Chicago and tells his superior, Jim Duff, that Sonny still does not trust him enough to discuss the gang. When Jeff returns to their hideout, Sonny, who has just killed "Moose," a black ex-convict who was helping them, orders him to drive them out of town to a large house he owns. Jeff then is ordered to bring back alcoholic mob physician Dr. Josiah Glass. In a rainstorm, Jeff accidentally collides with a bus, then refuses to give a ride to passenger Maria Theresa O'Reilly, who sneaks into the back of his car. By the time they reach the house, Jeff has learned that Terry is Sonny's sister. Doc saves Sonny's life, and after the recovery, Jeff secretly goes to Jim and tells him that the gang is planning a job. Although he still does not know many details, Jeff tells Jim to call the house and if Sam, Sonny's Chinese-American butler, answers he will know that they will have left for the robbery. When Jeff asks Jim to go easy on Terry, who knew nothing about Sonny's crimes, Jim warns him to pay attention to his duty and not get involved with her. Jeff arrives back at the house just as Sonny slaps Terry, angered by her pleas that he reform. Jeff then punches Sonny, after which Sonny orders them both to leave or be shot. On the bus to town, Jeff and Terry confess their love for each other and Jeff asks her to meet him at the train station because he has something important to do. After they part, Jim arrives, enraged that Jeff has ruined their operation. When Jim forces Jeff to turn in his badge and gun, Jeff goes on his own to Doc, and tells him that he will be needed at "the hideout" after the robbery. Jeff then pretends to get too drunk to drive, thus forcing Doc to take them to the hideout, an underground garage at a restaurant called "Rufe's Place." Once inside, Jeff gets one of the gang's machine guns and takes Doc prisoner, then calls Jim. When Sonny and the gang return after the robbery, Jeff captures them, but they knock him off a ramp and take cover as Jim and his men surround the garage. In a gun battle, all of the gangsters are killed except Sonny, who escapes. Jeff is happy to be reinstated, but Terry will not forgive his deception. Some time later, Jim calls Terry in for questioning, but she knows nothing. Because they are sure that Sonny will need money, they place an ad in the newspaper personals column asking "Dinky," Terry's pet name for Sonny, to contact her. They then stakeout the Palace Ballroom, where Terry works, and eventually Sonny comes. Although Terry tries to save him, he is killed in a shootout in which Jeff is wounded. Later, Jim tells Jeff that Terry is is leaving town. Jeff then rushes to the train station and tells the conductor that she is wanted. In her compartment, Terry finally forgives Jeff.
Dan Dailey Jr.
Veda Ann Borg
W. R. Burnett
James E. Newcom
J. Walter Ruben
J. Walter Ruben
Wade B. Rubottom
Edwin B. Willis
The Getaway -
Peckinpah brought on his own team of talents, including cinematographer Lucien Ballard who made sure the movie was beautiful to look at, no matter how gritty the story. He also brought in his supporting players, like Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson. Finally, his editor Robert L. Wolfe, who would work with him again on Pat Garrrett and Billy the Kid (1973), joined the team. To play the female lead opposite McQueen, Ali McGraw was cast, fresh off of her blockbuster hit Love Story (1970). McQueen and McGraw worked well together, so well in fact that they would fall in love and shortly after the movie's release, get married.
The story of The Getaway is as simple as a bank robbery but with a thousand complications added in for good measure. And if you're paying attention to the title, you should also suspect it has more to do with the aftermath than the robbery itself. When the story begins, Doc McCoy (McQueen) is in prison but his wife, Carol (McGraw), plans on getting him out using some creative deal making with the warden, up to and including a large cut of a big robbery they can commit if only McCoy is on the outside. From there, they assemble their team, rehearse every move, and watch every part of the plan go out the window when it's time to execute it, leading to the remarkable, and complex, getaway of the title.
The Getaway was written by Walter Hill who had spent years writing for TV and was eager to get involved in major film production. His story sensibilities led him to crime plots and his talents led him to Sam Peckinpah. The two got along well and a better marriage of writer and director couldn't have happened if David Foster tried. And try he did, of course, with Peter Bogdanovich. Bogdanovich began writing the script with Hill before McQueen gave him the nix and so everything he had done was thrown out the window, allowing Hill to take full control of the work. Still, some of what Bogdanovich had intended remained, as Hill later said that Bogdanovich wanted a more Hitchcockian feel and clearly, that happened. Roger Ebert noted in his original review that there is a moment in the movie that felt as if it came straight from a Hitchcock thriller.
The Getaway was the second film in a row that McQueen made with Peckinpah, the first being Junior Bonner (1972), and the two were a good match. Peckinpah was never much for actors doing a lot of emoting, except anger and frustration. Stoic worked much better for his characters, the kind of stoic McQueen excelled at.
The movie didn't do as well as everyone had hoped, thanks in part to a snarky review by the aforementioned Roger Ebert, but over time its greatness has become apparent. Walter Hill himself has remarked it's some of his best work and today it's considered alongside The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971) as one of Peckinpah's finest films. It's always discouraging for the artists involved in a production to have to wait several years before they get the appreciation they deserve. In McQueen's case, it's doubly heartbreaking, as he died too young, just eight years after The Getaway's release. He never got to see what a classic it would become. But a classic it is, and it just gets better with each passing year.
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Producer: Mitchell Brower, David Foster
Writer: Walter Hill
Music: Quincy Jones
Director of Photography: Lucien Ballard
Film Editor: Robert L. Wolfe
Cast: Steve McQueen (Doc McCoy), Ali MacGraw (Carol McCoy), Ben Johnson (Jack Beynon), Sally Struthers (Fran Clinton), Al Lettieri (Rudy Butler), Slim Pickens (Cowboy), Richard Bright (The Thief), Jack Dodson (Harold Clinton), Dub Taylor (Laughlin), Bo Hopkins (Frank Jackson)
By Greg Ferrara
The Getaway -
The movie is a remake of Public Hero #1 (1935), which starred Chester Morris, Joseph Calleia and, in Reed's role, Jean Arthur. The remake borrows generously from stock footage used in the earlier film. In the updated storyline, Dailey's crimes include the robbing of U.S. defense payrolls.
Reed, a beauty queen from Denison, Iowa, attended Los Angeles City College and drew the attention of Hollywood talent scouts when she was elected Campus Queen and her picture appeared in The Los Angeles Times. Three studios approached her with offers of screen tests, and she chose MGM, she later said, because it was the only one she had heard of. She tested with Van Heflin, already an established star on Broadway, winning a $75-per-week contract and her role in The Get-Away.
When The Get-Away was screened at a sneak preview in Inglewood, California prior to its release, Reed decided to attend incognito with Lou Hurtitz, a friend from college. In the biography In Search of Donna Reed by Jay Fultz (University of Iowa Press), the actress "described the experience of seeing herself on the screen: " Lou and I hung on to each other, we were so excited. I started to laugh and cry at the same time. It was the biggest thrill of my life!"
The biography also added that "the preview audience liked Donna and said so on sheets handed out in the lobby. "Miss Reed a comer," read one. Donna thought The Get-away was "a fair B" and her work satisfactory for a beginner. "I have very much to learn," she wrote to her confidante in Iowa...The most encouragement came from Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times: "Donna Reed arrives in spectacular fashion as an ingenue heroine with potentialities of a Janet Gaynor, as one remembers from her debut."
Producer: J. Walter Ruben
Director: Edward Buzzell, Richard Rosson (uncredited)
Screenplay: W.R. Burnett, Wells Root, from story by Root and J. Walter Ruben
Cinematography: Sidney Wagner
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Original Music: Daniele Amfitheatrof, Earl K. Brent (uncredited)
Editing: James E. Newcom
Cast: Robert Sterling (Jeff Crane), Charles Winninger (Dr. Josiah Glass), Donna Reed (Maria Theresa "Terry" O'Reilly), Henry O'Neill (Warden Alcott), Dan Dailey Jr. (Sonny Black, aka "Dinky").
BW-90m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe
'Rosson, Robbert' started directing this movie but left to help Victor Fleming, who was directing _Yearling, The (1947)_ on location in Florida. Edward Buzzell took over.
This film's pre-production title was Enemy Within. Some sources refer to the film as The Getaway or Getaway. According to Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, Richard Rosson began direction of the film but left the picture in late April 1941. At that time, Victor Fleming, who was directing The Yearling on location in Florida, requested that Rosson, a noted location and second unit director, join him in Florida (see Note in entry below). Edward Buzzell replaced Rosson on The Get-Away, and is the only person credited onscreen and in reviews.
According to M-G-M publicity materials and Hollywood Reporter production charts, Van Heflin was to have appeared in the role of "Jim Duff," but that part was played by Don Douglas. It is unclear whether Heflin began the role or was replaced prior to the filming of that part. Other news items note that Patrick O'Moore was to be in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Actress Donna Reed made her motion picture debut in The Get-Away. Reed, who had just changed her name from Donna Adams, was formerly a student at Los Angeles City College, and remained under contract to M-G-M for several years. In May 1943, the OWI disapproved this picture for export because, "Prisoners are treated brutally. A negro prisoner is killed. Lawlessness throughout."