|Directed by||Richard Fleischer|
Armored Car Robbery is a heist movie, a subgenre of crime-based films. It tells the story of a well-planned robbery of cash from an armored car when it stops at a sports stadium. The heist goes awry and a tough Los Angeles cop sets off in hot pursuit of the culprits.
What a marvelous and underrated little gem!!
Wow, was I ever impressed by this little film. While ARMORED CAR ROBBERY is not an especially sexy title and the film possesses no real star power, it is a wonderfully effective and superbly written little B-movie directed by a young Richard Fleischer. So far in his career Fleischer had directed some shorts and a couple undistinguished films and it was several years before he gained fame with THE NARROW MARGIN (also a wonderful B-film starring Charles McGraw), THE VIKINGS and SOYLENT GREEN. So, since he was an unknown, they gave him mostly unknowns for the film. The biggest name in it was Charles McGraw–a great heavy and supporting actor who’d been around but still hadn’t made a name for himself. Additionally, William Talman plays the leader of the bad guys and while you most likely won’t recognize his name, he is the man who played Hamilton Burger on the “Perry Mason” TV show.
While McGraw was as wonderful as I’d expected since I’d seen him in quite a few great Film Noir movies, I was particularly impressed by Talman. As Ham Burger, he was a bland and one-note character–the jerk who ALWAYS lost to Perry Mason. But here, he was a very cold, calculating and scary man because he was so believable and amoral. It’s a darn shame that this role didn’t result in better roles–he really showed he could act.
The film is naturally about an armored car robbery and it was rather straight-forward in its plotting. However, because the dialog and the rest of the writing was so true to life, it really jumped out at me. While it did have a few great Noir-like lines (spoken mostly by the great McGraw), it emphasized reality over style and seemed like a very honest crime drama more than anything else. While it lacked the tension of THE NARROW MARGIN, it made up for it with quality at every level–resulting in a marvelous and generally unrecognized little gem. Watch this film–it’s dandy.
Another Fleischer Film Noir Gem
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
23 December 2005
Wow, this was a neat little film, far better than I had hoped. I don’t tape many shows on TV, but this was one I’m sure glad I did, especially since it is not available on VHS or DVD.
I say “little” film because it’s only 67 minutes long. Richard Fleischer, who directed THE NARROW MARGIN (1952), another short and fast-moving crime story, directed this movie, too, and you can see some similarities. The major similarity is how fast-paced these films are. Another is the presence of one of the best ‘B’ tough guys ever: Charles McGraw.
Because of that, and it’s so interesting to view, it’s one I plan on viewing a number of times. McGraw, as the cop, and William Talman, as the leader of the gang, are fun to watch.
It’s a heist tale and most of the film is about the gang trying to escape after the robbery and what happens to each one. In that regards, it reminds me a bit of another great film: THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, which also came out at this time. This isn’t up to that level, but it’s good and highly recommended viewing if you see it listed on TCM, where I saw it
Solid little cops-n-robbers flick
Author: BrianG from California
13 April 2000
Director Richard Fleischer was responsible for two of the best of the low-budget ’50s cops-n-robbers flicks, both notable for starring Charles McGraw, one of the great movie bad guys, as a tough detective. One, “The Narrow Margin,” is quite well known; this is the other one, and while not as well known, it certainly should be. The story is about a vicious gang of robbers, headed by a murderous psychopath (William Talman, who seemed to have a corner on that market in the ’50s), pulls off an armored car robbery that goes awry. Detective McGraw is out to track down the gang. The film is a textbook example of the best of the B movie–swiftly paced, tightly edited, with a good story and a cast of veteran character actors that work together like a well-oiled machine. Some clever plot twists and startling (for the time) violence make this one a keeper. Very highly recommended.