The St. Louis Bank Robbery


1h 28m 1959

Brief Synopsis

Three hardened criminals and one young turk are brought together to master-mind the perfect heist. Though the participants mistrust each other, they bond reluctantly as the fateful day nears. Once inside the bank, things start to go wrong. Pent up frustrations and petty jealousies resurface. When th

Film Details

Also Known As
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
Release Date
Feb 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Guggenheim Associates
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

In St. Louis, Missouri, former college football star George Fowler joins three ex-convicts, John Egan, Willie and Gino, in a plot to rob the town bank. Gino vouches for the novice crook George, but does not reveal to the woman-hating Egan that the younger man once dated his sister Ann. Resentful of George's inclusion in the scheme, Willie, whose long-time association with Egan began when they met as prison inmates, grows angrier when Egan assigns George his usual role as getaway driver. Egan tells the men that they must case the bank for the next few days in order to learn the bank's daily routine. Then, wary of George's commitment to the scheme, Egan takes him to steal a license plate to use for their car. Later, when George and Gino realize they have no money, Gino orders George to contact Ann and ask her for a loan. Although initially unwilling to see Ann again, George agrees and that afternoon meets her at a local bar. After some awkward talk, George explains that Gino is in Chicago and needs a loan. Although disappointed and suspicious of George's nervous prattle, Ann writes Gino a check. That night in their hotel room, Willie complains to Egan about his role in the heist, but Egan criticizes him for growing fearful and complacent. Willie is further dismayed when Egan considers asking George to accompany them to Mexico after the robbery. Meanwhile, down the hall in their room, George gives Gino Ann's check and Gino admits he is afraid of being captured and returned to prison. Over the next few mornings, according to Egan's meticulous plans, the men take turns watching the bank from various locations. Unrecognized by the men, Ann exits the bank one day and is startled to see Gino driving away. Upon spotting George sitting in a café, she angrily confronts him, but he refuses to speak with her except to order her to meet him back at the bar later that afternoon. Unknown to the couple, Willie has witnessed George speaking with Ann. Later, Egan and the men meet at a park to discuss their observations and Egan sets about constructing an elaborate timetable for the robbery. When Willie reveals that he saw George speaking with a woman at a café, George denies the accusation and Egan chastises Willie for not watching the bank. The men then perform a practice drive to the bank, carefully timing stop lights and choosing where best to park the car. In private, Gino asks George if the woman in the café was Ann, and George reassures him that he has revealed nothing to her. That afternoon George meets Ann, but she is not persuaded by his insistence that he is a salesman. George finally admits that he was kicked out of college when his athletic abilities faltered, but that he hopes to return and take up writing. When Ann presses him to explain Gino's presence, George maintains that he is involved with Gino as a driver for a "job" and nothing more. Ann laments that he will become a common criminal like Gino and implores George not to go through with the plot. Although anxious that Ann may go to the police, George leaves abruptly and, driving back to the hotel with Gino, assures him that his sister will remain silent. That evening at another bar, while Egan and George wait for a delivery of pistols, Egan relates how his distrust of women began with his drunken, unfit mother. Meanwhile, out on a date, Ann grows depressed and, slightly drunk, goes to the bank and writes on a window with lipstick: "Warning, you will be robbed." Egan and Willie discover the message and angrily confront George and Gino, who reveals the likely culprit is Ann. Egan takes the men to Ann's apartment, where she swears she has told no one of the scheme. Ann again pleads with George to pull out of the plot, offering to help him find a stable job, but he remains evasive. Egan directs Ann to pack for a trip out of town, then orders George and Gino to go to their rendezvous point at the park. Egan then forces Ann to leave her apartment by the fire escape, but when she demands that he tell George where she is going, the older man bursts into anger and tells her that George has no need of her. Furious at Ann's continued resistance, Egan slaps her then pushes her over the railing to her death as Willie watches in horror from below. Meeting the others at the park, Egan states he put Ann on a plane to Chicago and Willie reveals he has been reassigned as the driver, infuriating George. The next morning, the men follow Egan's detailed plans for the robbery. Willie drops off Egan and Gino at the main door while George enters through the back. With bandanas hiding their faces, the men order the customers and bank personnel to lie on the floor and, as George and Egan offer cover, Gino quickly raids the drawers, unaware that a teller has set off a concealed police alarm. The police quickly converge on the bank, burst through the doors and shoot, striking George in the leg. Egan returns fire, while outside in the waiting car, Willie is paralyzed with fear. When more police cars arrive, he drives off in a panic as George watches in dismay. While hiding from the police among the terrified customers, Egan admits he had to give Willie the position he coveted to keep him quiet and George realizes with shock that Egan has murdered Ann. As the police make another assault, Egan takes a woman hostage to get outside, only to be shot down. Gino flees from the police and, finding himself trapped, shoots himself. Terrified and distraught by the mayhem in the bank, George tries to take a woman hostage, but when her husband insists on going in her place, George collapses with shock and surrenders in tears.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
Release Date
Feb 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Guggenheim Associates
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

This story is based on a true incident. The men of the St. Louis Police Department play the same parts they did in the actual crime.

Notes

Reviews list the film's title as The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery, but the onscreen credits list it as The St. Louis Bank Robbery. The following written prologue appears in the opening credits: "This story is based on a true incident. Men of the St. Louis Police Department play the same parts they did in the actual crime." The film was shot in St. Louis, MO, and according to publicity materials, actual locations, including the real site of the 1954 robbery site, were used. Although the film was copyrighted by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), the role that CBS played in the film's production is unknown.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1959

Released in United States on Video April 26, 1996

Released in United States 1959

Released in United States on Video April 26, 1996