|The Great Bank Robbery|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hy Averback|
|Produced by||Malcolm Stuart|
|Screenplay by||William Peter Blatty|
|Based on||The Great Bank Robbery|
by Frank O'Rourke
|Music by||Nelson Riddle|
|Cinematography||Fred J. Koenekamp|
|Edited by||Gene Milford|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|
|September 10, 1969|
|Box office||$1.5 million (US/ Canada rentals)|
The Great Bank Robbery is a 1969 Western comedy film from Warner Bros. directed by Hy Averback and written by William Peter Blatty, based on the novel by Frank O'Rourke. The movie had a soundtrack with songs by Jimmy Van Heusen.
Gold stolen by outlaws is stashed in the impenetrable bank of Friendly, a small town in Texas. A preacher, Rev. Pious Blue, is actually a thief. He and his associates, including partner Lyda Kebanov, plan to tunnel into the vault and blow it up with TNT, just as a Fourth of July celebration drowns out the noise.
There are complications. A number of rival gangs also are after the loot. Then there is Ben Quick of the Texas Rangers, a lawman out to find evidence confirming the corruption of banker and mayor Kincaid that is also inside the vault.
Zero Mostel uses the line "What we have here is a failure to communicate" which is similar to (and possibly a parody of or simply just a misquote of) a line from 1967's Cool Hand Luke. This line by Rev. Pious Blue is actually more often quoted than the original line and usually categorized as merely a misquote.
The reverend's band is successful, distracting the bank's guards by having Lyda pretend to be Lady Godiva, riding nude on a white horse. They intend to escape by hot-air balloon. The gold is too heavy for liftoff, however. Lyda volunteers to abandon ship, in part because she has fallen for Quick, who finds the proof he needs to convict Kincaid while the reverend and the gold fly safely away.
|Zero Mostel||Rev. Pious Blue|
|Kim Novak||Sister Lyda Kebanov|
|Clint Walker||Ranger Ben Quick|
|Sam Jaffe||Brother Lilac Bailey|
|Mako Iwamatsu (as Mako)||Secret Agent Fong|
|Akim Tamiroff||Papa (Juan's father)|
|John Anderson||Mayor Kincaid|
|Sam Jaffe||Brother Lilac Bailey (art forger)|
|Elisha Cook, Jr.||Jeb (as Elisha Cook)|
|Ruth Warrick||Mrs. Applebee|
|John Fiedler||Brother Dismas Ostracorn (explosives)|
|John Larch||Sheriff of Friendly|
|Peter Whitney||Brother Jordan Cass (tunneling)|
|Norman Alden||The Great Gregory (balloonist)|
The Great Bank Robbery, the Western farce that opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters, is probably the least interesting movie of 1969 through this date. I hedge because there are several films I haven't seen, and because The Great Bank Robbery is so casually inept it can't support even negative superlatives.
- "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
- "The Great Bank Robbery (1969) : Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- Canby, Vincent (1969-09-11). "Movie Review - The Great Bank Robbery - An Inept Western Farce Opens on Local Screens - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-05-14.