16 November 2007 | MartinHafer
What a marvelous and underrated little gem!!
Wow, was I ever impressed by this little film. While ARMORED CAR ROBBERY is not an especially sexy title and the film possesses no real star power, it is a wonderfully effective and superbly written little B-movie directed by a young Richard Fleischer. So far in his career Fleischer had directed some shorts and a couple undistinguished films and it was several years before he gained fame with THE NARROW MARGIN (also a wonderful B-film starring Charles McGraw), THE VIKINGS and SOYLENT GREEN. So, since he was an unknown, they gave him mostly unknowns for the film. The biggest name in it was Charles McGraw--a great heavy and supporting actor who'd been around but still hadn't made a name for himself. Additionally, William Talman plays the leader of the bad guys and while you most likely won't recognize his name, he is the man who played Hamilton Burger on the "Perry Mason" TV show.
While McGraw was as wonderful as I'd expected since I'd seen him in quite a few great Film Noir movies, I was particularly impressed by Talman. As Ham Burger, he was a bland and one-note character--the jerk who ALWAYS lost to Perry Mason. But here, he was a very cold, calculating and scary man because he was so believable and amoral. It's a darn shame that this role didn't result in better roles--he really showed he could act.
The film is naturally about an armored car robbery and it was rather straight-forward in its plotting. However, because the dialog and the rest of the writing was so true to life, it really jumped out at me. While it did have a few great Noir-like lines (spoken mostly by the great McGraw), it emphasized reality over style and seemed like a very honest crime drama more than anything else. While it lacked the tension of THE NARROW MARGIN, it made up for it with quality at every level--resulting in a marvelous and generally unrecognized little gem. Watch this film--it's dandy.