Connect with us

Movies

Time Lock (1957 with Robert Beatty and Betty McDowall)

Published

on

UK / 1957

Director: Gerald Thomas
Writer: Peter Rogers

Cast: Robert Beatty, Betty McDowall, Vincent Winter, Lee Patterson, Sandra Francis, Alan Gifford, Robert Ayres, Victor Wood, Jack Cunningham, Peter Mannering, Roland Brand, Sean Connery

Modest in scale only, this gripping rescue drama (directed by Gerald Thomas who went on to be the stalwart director of the Carry On series) clings with sweat-soaked claustrophobia and suspense. Robert Beatty heads a team of concerned Canadians, labouring against the clock to save a six-year-old boy who’s been trapped in a seemingly impregnable bank vault.

The plot couldn’t be simpler. On Friday evening, Lucille Walker (Betty McDowall) and her young boy Steven (Vincent Winter) go to the bank to pick up Mr Colin Walker (Lee Patterson). Before shutting up shop, Colin and branch manager George Foster (Alan Gifford) set the vault’s time-lock, ensuring that it cannot be opened until Monday morning. Distracted by an accident on the street outside, they fail to see little Steven slipping inside the vault, and casually shut the safe door, thereby trapping the boy inside.

As soon as they realise what has happened, Walker and Foster spring into action. They call Inspector Hugh Andrews (Robert Ayres) who swiftly organises a crew of acetylene welders to try and burn their way through the door. But this is no ordinary vault. The door is 14 inches thick and made of concrete reinforced by four layers of steel rod mesh, and try as they might, the welders make no progress. It’s 63 hours before the door will open. But Dr Charles Foy (Peter Mannering) and anaesthetist Dr Hewitson (Gordon Tanner), calculate that the air in the vault will last perhaps for only six to ten hours.

By now Howard Zeeder (Victor Wood), the Assistant General Manager of the bank, has arrived. He’s convinced that only one man is able to save the boy. As luck would have it, noted vault expert, Peter Dawson (Robert Beatty), is away on a fishing trip. Eventually he’s tracked down, however, and whisked to the bank by helicopter.

Once on the scene, Dawson injects a new sense of urgency into the fight for Steven’s life, and with the help of the gathering crowd and the introduction of heavy machinery, the rescue team finally manages to punch a hole through the door. But has the kid made it through alive?

The Daily Mail called Time Lock , “A neat and nerve-racking drama played…with an urgency that makes you feel a heartless lout for sitting there doing nothing to help”. Trivia fans should watch out for an early screen appearance by Sean Connery, breaking sweat as a welder.

Advertisement












Movies

California Split (Columbia 1974, Elliott Gould, George Segal)

Published

on

By

California Split

California Split is a movie about the adventures of two card players, and it stars two of 70s-era Hollywood’s most prolific male actors. Elliot Gould (M*A*S*H, 1970) plays Charlie Waters, a small-time card player who has the charisma and moxie of someone who’s way better at the tables than he actually is. Alongside him is George Segal (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966) who plays Bill Denny, a magazine writer who moonlights as a casual player. Charlie and Bill meet in a California poker parlour game that turns heated over a dealt card hitting the floor, raising concerns of cheating. Despite this, the game continues, and one of them wins. This leads to the two players getting mugged by one of the game’s sore losers, giving them an experience that’s worth bonding over. The two become fast friends and this starts them off on a poker adventure that will test and reveal their true spirit.

In a 1974 review, Roger Ebert called California Split a “magnificently funny, cynical film”, which is probably the best way to describe the succeeding events following Bill and Charlie’s meet up. Regarded by many to be one of the best poker movies ever made, California Split is a quirky but ultimately realistic and darkly comedic look into the life and mind of card players. Despite this, you don’t really need to know a thing about poker beforehand in order to enjoy the movie. It’s a classic American adventure movie that has inspired countless other road trip movies and casino films.

From start to finish, California Split follows Bill and Charlie through the race tracks, seedy bars, private poker parties, Vegas’ second-rate casinos, treating bruises with hot shaving cream, waking up to massive hangovers, and even another mugging in which their instincts are put to the test. The result is less of a movie with careful exposition, and more of what feels like an inside look into the hilariously nightmarish world of America’s casino scene. The Telegraph calls the film one of Robert Altman’s best out of his extensive catalogue. It is brilliantly pieced together by his signature subtle visual prose, realistically overlapping dialogue, and the bravely understated introductions of his many quirky characters, California Split is one of the 70s’ definite must-see adventures. Such was the film’s realism that PartyPoker state that legendary player Thomas Austin Preston Jr. aka ‘Amarilo Slim’ had a small part. In his time Slim was known as one of the greatest ever poker players, winning 4 WSOP bracelets, and would have been an inspiration for the two main characters.

California Split is definitely a treat not just for card players, but for anyone who likes well-crafted movies about friendship and the makings of the American Dream.

main stars
George Segal, Elliot Gould Ann Prentis, Gwen Welsh, Edward Walsh, Joseph Walsh, Bert Remsen

crew details
Director: Robert Altman
Producer: Joseph Walsh, Robert Altman
Director of Photography: Paul Lohmann
Editor: O. Nicholas Brown, Lou Lombardo
Composer: Phyllis Shotwell
Screenwriters: Joseph Walsh
Production Designer: Leon Ericksen

Video:

Continue Reading

Movies

Long Good Friday, The (1980, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren)

Published

on

By

Long Good Friday

Before Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Sexy Beast came along, this slick thriller ruled the roost among East End gangster pics. Armed with a strong script by Barrie Keefe and star-making performance by Bob Hoskins as a hard-as-nails East End ganglord, John MacKenzie’s film successfully transports the American gangster pic to these shores with gripping and incendiary results.

Good Friday is turning out to be anything but satisfactory for Harold Shand (Hoskins), whose negotiations with members of the American Mafia for aid in a multi-million pound Dockland development are interrupted by a series of attacks on his gang by an unknown aggressor. Following an attempt to kill his mother and the murder of his best friend, Shand leaves his girlfriend Victoria (Helen Mirren) looking after the Americans while he hunts for the perpetrators. A fearsome interrogation of other local gang bosses brings no clues, but a bent police officer (DAVE KING) notes that a councillor, Harris (Bryan Marshall), recently had explosives stolen from his demolitions firm with strong Irish connections. The scene is set for a final confrontation, but is Harold out of his league?

The filmmakers had to fight a fierce battle to get the film released in British cinemas, with the ITC initially planning to cut all the violence and merely show the film on television. Luckily, Handmade Films rescued the film, enabling viewers to see it in all its gory detail (meat hooks et al). The Sunday Telegraph called it “a gangster thriller with all the pace and brio of the old Warner Bros melodramas, brought bang up to date with authentic settings,” while The Times singled out Bob Hoskins’ performance, noting: “His Harold is a chilling creation in his unpredictable shifts from maudlin sentiment to bestial ferocity.”

Long Good Friday

UK / British Lion – Handmade / 114 minutes / 1980

Writer: Barrie Keeffe / Director: John MacKenzie

cast
BOB HOSKINS as Harold Shand
HELEN MIRREN as Victoria
PAUL FREEMAN as Colin
LEO DOLAN as Phil
BRYAN MARSHALL as Harris
PATTI LOVE as Carol
KEVIN McNALLY as Irish Youth
DEREK THOMPSON as Jeff
P.H. MORIARTY as Razors
RUBY HEAD as Harold’s Mother
DAVE KING as Parky
PIERCE BROSNAN as Ist Irishman
DARAGH O’MALLEY as 2nd Irishman

Continue Reading

Movies

Chance Of A Lifetime (1950, Kenneth More, Bernard Miles)

Published

on

By

Chance of a Lifetime

In Chance Of A Lifetime when industrialist Dickinson (Basil Radfrod) sacks a worker and has a strike on his hands, he remarks that he would willingly change places with the workers. They take him at his word and he rents them the factory.

Employees Stevens (Bernard Miles) and Morris (Julien Mitchell) are appointed managers by their fellow workers and win a large foreign order for a new plough. But when the order is almost completed, it is cancelled due to the dollar shortage and the workers’ management has to dispose of a large number of modified ploughs…

The film was not a commercial success in spite of excellent reviews, particularly from the Evening Standard : “The story this film has to tell is as significant and urgent as today’s dock strike… As a skilful piece of filming it is well above average and it has brilliantly evoked the authentic atmosphere of an English factory…”

UK / Pilgrim Pictures / 93 minutes / 1950 black and white

Writers: Bernard Miles, Walter Greenwood / Cinematography: Eric Cross / Producer: Bernard Miles / Directors: Bernard Miles, Alan Osbiston

Cast: Bernard Miles, Basil Radford, Niall MacGinnis, Geoffrey Keen, Julien Mitchell, Josephine Watson, Kenneth More, John Harvey, Hattie Jacques,

Continue Reading

More to View