Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Great Bank Robbery


A western comedy that’s a lot better than I expected. There’s this un-robbable bank in a small Texas town. It’s full of gold from some of the great gangs of the time, like the James’s and the Youngers, maybe Butch Cassidy. Guys who can’t just deposit it and who don’t trust their companions not to steal it. It’s protected by guards with Gatling guns. So no less than three gangs set out to rob it. One is a bunch of comic Mexicans led by Akim Tamiroff and Larry Storch (who I’ve always loved), and their method is to just charge at it, over and over, never seeming to learn that it won’t work. The second is a gang with Zero Mostel (who I love even more) as a phony preacher and Kim Novak as his shill. The third is Clint Walker, one of the great Hollywood stiffs, who is actually a Texas ranger and is assigned to rob the bank to get its books, so the sleazy banker/mayor can be put in jail.

It proceeds in an agreeable slapstick sort of way until it gets to be just Too Much in the last fifteen minutes or so. It has a script by William Peter Blatty, writer of The Exorcist.