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After the dismal box office and critical reception of SORCERER (1977), William Friedkin went for a change of pace with this light-hearted piece which, however, proved that his previous misstep with was no fluke: in fact, his career never really picked up after that costly bit of self-indulgence (even so, I’ve only just acquired the director’s fair update of his own THE FRENCH CONNECTION , namely TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. )! Anyway, this concerns – in a somewhat uneasy comedic vein – the famous January 1950 robbery from the Boston branch of the titular depository of payrolls destined to various key firms; incidentally, the same events had previously been depicted in the 1976 TV-movie BRINKS: THE GREAT ROBBERY. Its coup is in the meticulous period reconstruction (which earned production designer Dean Tavoularis, already responsible for BONNIE AND CLYDE  and “The Godfather” films among others, an Oscar nod) – Friedkin himself had …
When you look at this now and hear all the language in here, it's amazing this was rated "PG," but that's the 1970s rating system for you. Peter Falk spews out the Lord's name in vain six times in the first ten minutes alone in this movie! Yet, few people consider that offensive, and certainly not the scumbags who make movies nor the people who "rate" them.The cast is a clue to how profane this film can be: Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands and Paul Sorvino aren't exactly actors you wouldn't find in "The Sound Of Music."I like heist movies, and a lot of films by director William Friedkin, but this script doesn't deliver and it just has way too much of the "Sleazy '70s" feel to it, visually and audibly. For those who loved Falk in TV's "Columbo" it must come as a shock to hear him use as much profanity as he did in films. This is far from the only case.
I've been trying to pick up a VHS of this flick for 2 years and finally won it on an auction. It was on AMC a few years back and I caught about 30 minutes of it. I was so intrigued that I started to look for a chance to buy it.I thoroughly enjoyed this film, a great cast with a young Peter Falk leading the way. Peter Boyle was realistic in his portrayal of the money launderer. Used VHS tapes are out there and although this robbery occurred in the 50's there is enough suspense and a ton of surprises for you. Sometimes a true story beats the best fiction a writer can come up with.