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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

'The Day They Robbed the Bank of England' DVD: Cracking Crime Caper Cinema

The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England (1960)
The 1960 caper film "The Day They Robbed the Bank of England," which Warner Archive recently released on DVD, belongs to the class of Archive titles that wonderfully combine two genres. In this case, "Day" is a caper film set in 1901 that involves a plot by an IRA cabal to rob the titular financial institution to help finance the campaign for independence from the titular nation.

The following spoiler-free clip, courtesy of Archive and YouTube, shows both the British and Irishness of the film and the wonderful blend of humor, romance, drama, and action that it offers.

The IRA operatives in London recruit Irish American Charles Norgate  to return to the UK to pull off the titular heist; his motivation includes his relationship with cabal member Iris Muldoon, played by Elizabeth Sellars.

The early stages of the job include Norgate first arranging a chance encounter with British military officer Captain Monty Fitch, who commands the soldiers who guard the bank. Archive shares the role of Fitch is the first major one for Peter O'Toole.

Norgate further utilizes his charm and ingenuity well in obtaining the information required for depriving the newly crowned King Edward of a significant portion of his wealth. Watching Norgate repeatedly dupe an exceptionally trusting Fitch in this regard is quite amusing.

As is true regarding every classic heist film, a bit of bad luck for the perpetrators during the execution of their theft creates fairly intense drama. A development in English-Irish political relations also has a potential impact on the increasingly tense effort to make a large unauthorized withdrawal.

The aforementioned combination of a pure motive for the heist, romantic entanglements, a charming rogue, and clever plotting both makes "Day" far from a dog and suggests that it influences caper films that follow it. It is even more sure that watching it will make your day.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Day" is welcome to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.