Armoured Car Robbery (1950)
William Talman Feels the Heat
Whilst there are those who really like Richard Fleischer's "Armoured Car Robbery" the only thing which I found memorable about this cops & robbers thriller is that it only lasts 67 minutes. Not that I think there is a lot wrong with it, it's just the fact it is another cops & robbers thriller which is briskly paced because it crams in everything you expect from this sort of movie but adds nothing new. In fact because it crams so much in to just 67 minutes it ends up becoming a series of snappy scenes which make various points but there is no fluidity to them, no flow between scenes and that is I suppose what I missed.
Dave Purvis (William Talman) is not only having an affair with the stripper wife of his friend Benny (Douglas Fowley) he plans to involve Benny with his plan to rob an armoured vehicle. The trouble is that despite detailed planning the robbery goes wrong and not only does Benny get shot, Dave ends up killing a policeman. With the cops partner Lt. Jim Cordell (Charles McGraw - Saddle the Wind) vowing to catch the robbers especially the man who killed his friend and partner he sets out following what little clues he has whilst Dave won't let anyone get in the way of getting away with the loot.
Whilst it may be called "Armoured Car Robbery" the actual robbery is only a small part of the movie coming surprisingly early on. And in a way it is the best part of the movie as whilst we don't get to see the full extent of Dave's plans those we do see are good and the actual robbery, whilst simple is also quite good. But as mentioned it comes very early on and then for the rest of the movie it is all about Cordell and his new partner young Detective Danny Ryan trying to solve who pulled off the robbery and then tracking them down.
Now this is where my issue with "Armoured Car Robbery" is because whilst we get every part of the investigation from working out the car they used from the tire base to building connections between Dave and a woman through lipstick stains it feels like a list of facts. There is no flow, no real investigating just a series of scenes which make a revelation and then snap to the next. Now for some this will make it tense and fast paced but for me it makes it abrupt and jarring.
The knock on effect of this snappy style of story telling is that whilst we have characters from Dave Purvis to Lt. Jim Cordell they are just people on screen; we don't connect with them at all. Now again some may love this sense of feeling distant but to me it just made them stiff characters and that means the performances from William Talman and Charles McGraw are forgettable. The only performance which isn't forgettable is that of Adele Jergens who is as the stripper/ adulterous wife adds a touch of beauty to the movie.
What this all boils down to is that for me "Armoured Car Robbery" was just a standard cops & robbers thriller which did nothing differently or better than any other similar movies. But for me it ended up slightly spoiled by the way it snapped from one scene to the next as if it was working its way through a series of bullet points but never fleshing them out.
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