Struggling small-time con man Roland (a solid and credible performance by Graham Beckel) decides to improve his miserable lot in life by abducting the children of prominent businessman Richard Banks (a fine portrayal by Laurence Luckinbill) and holding them for a hefty ransom.
Writer/director Chuck Workman relates the compelling story at a steady pace, makes nice use of seedy Atlantic City locations, and astutely nails a sense of raw desperation with several down on their luck characters resorting to drastic measures in order to keep themselves afloat (in a neat touch, it turns out Banks is in dire financial shape just like Roland). The sound acting by the capable cast holds this movie together, with especially stand-out contributions from Regina Baff as Roland's ditsy girlfriend Lucy, Sam Levene as well-off rich guy Lou Maurice, Jerry Lacy as Banks's nervous business partner Phil, Robert Miano as no-nonsense pool manager Steve, and Antonia Rey as feisty maid Pearl. Popping up in nifty bits are Danny DeVito as an amiable bartender and Josh Mostel as a Wheel of Fortune operator. The sharp cinematography by Burleigh Wartes provides a pleasing crisp look. Worth a watch.
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