11 August 2012 | down_ian
Noirish girl trap to steal a million!
Very surprising no previous reviews of this film (a minor classic). (UK title: On Friday at 11/ US: World in my Pocket) Released in 1961 in grainy black and white this was a West German/French/Italian co-production with an international cast: Rod Steiger (USA, Nadja Tiller (Austria), Peter van Eyck (Germany), Jean Servais (French - the original Rififi)and Ian Bannen (Scots).
The plot concerns an enigmatic woman who recruits a gang of specialised criminals (dynamite expert, safe cracker, hired muscle/strong arm and driver)to rob an armoured car bound for Marseilles carrying a US army payroll ($1million). The plan is to stage a phony car accident en route with the woman as badly injured decoy to lure the driver and guard from the truck when they will be taken out (no holds barred). The vehicle will then be hi-jacked to a deserted fairground and the vault opened at leisure.
Tensions inevitably arise during the planning/logistics stage, division of money, and also interaction with the woman (resentment at taking orders and growing sexual interest). However, events don't work out as expected (surprise), several unexpected twists occur and at times the suspense is literally killing. Key elements were rehashed in the 1968 US potboiler - They came to rob Las Vegas with Lee J. Cobb, Gary Lockwood and Jack Palance - but this film is vastly superior.
Taut direction and script, top-notch acting and no wasted scenes make this very effective crime thriller with strong vein of black comedy required viewing.