3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Sure a guy, a guy like Frank, who came up the hard way, a coal-miner father taken by the dust, and a bereft mother left to raise six kids helter-skelter with no dough, had dreams, big dreams of that one big score that would settle accounts, settle accounts with society, and settle accounts with that nagging empty feeling of always being short of dough. Frank though did not see those dreams coming true from working nine to five and saving his pennies, or maybe making some big invention to wow a candid world or hitting a big score on the horses over at Santa Anita (truth to tell he was on something of a losing streak just then). No, our Frank, a good- looking young guy with plenty of black hair and blue eyes, was nothing but a hustler, a Bunco guy, you know a con artist, a flimflam man and so with larceny in his heart he kept trying to figure out the road to that big score.
And Frank found it, found it like finding gold on the ground in his sunny California homeland ; a payroll heist, a million dollar heist of the dough for servicemen, for Marines, at Camp Pendleton, down by Oceanside held over the weekend before payday at a local bank nearby for safe keeping. The problem though was that Frank was tapped out, broke, was moreover way outside his league on pulling this one together, way outside his penny ante games, small time grift stuff. And he needed confederates, a few specialists, yeggs, wheelmen, heavy duty rough stuff guys to cope to this caper.
So naturally Frank turned to his old comrade- in- arms in the Bunco rackets the semi-retired Mister Flood (everybody in the rackets, even Frank, called him that as a sign of respect for his prowess as a con artist living in luxury and the promoter of few legendary scams) to promote this one. And Mister Flood (and his girlfriend, Missy) reluctantly bought into this proposition. Maybe for the dough, never ever discount greed as a motive, maybe to prove he could pull off a bank job (his one mistake in life which cost him a nickel at Folsom was a botched bank job), or maybe, just maybe to do the thing for professional pride. Everybody agreed, hell, I agreed, that if this caper worked it would go down in the record books; hard guys would be speaking in whispers as he passed by on this one for years.
Once Mister Flood put his hands on the caper though, once Frank got him on board, like he was somehow doomed by his own ferocious appetites, by moving out of his comfort zone, the thing became a disaster. First Flood came up with the bright idea that Frank and Missy should pose as man and wife for a few months in that little Podunk town where the bank held the payroll in order to case the joint and to set up the caper, to become part of the landscape when the deal went down . Of course, like I said Frank a young good -looking guy who would never want for female company in the 1950s night, and Missy, who turned out to be tired of Flood fell in love, ruffled up some sheets together. Then the cast of characters, those so-called specialists, who were supposed to pull the job off turned out to be something like the gang who couldn't shoot straight. Psychos, rummies, and misfits. Which makes one wonder about whether old Mister Flood had lost a step, or seven. They got the dough alright, Mister Flood anyway. But in the end it was Frank (and Missy) turning "square" that queered the thing up. After a dust-up with Mister Flood he and "wifey" could have walked away with that million and legendary status in the hard-guy community but instead they opted for some California version of the white house with picket fence, two point three children, and a dog. Yeah, Squaresville.
[KNDY] Dennis A. Amith
- Published on Amazon.com
In 1957, the heist film "The Big Caper" was made. Featuring an adaptation of the novel by Lionel White, the film is directed by Robert Stevens ("Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Never Lose a Stranger") and a screenplay by Martin Berkeley ("Tarantula", "Revenge of the Creature", "The Deadly Mantis").
The film would star Rory Calhoun ("Texan", "How to Marry a Millionaire", "River of No Return"), Mary Costa ("Sleeping Beauty", "The Great Waltz") and James Gregory ("The Manchurian Candidate", "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", "The Lawless Years").
"The Big Caper" revolves around Frank Harper (played by Rory Calhoun), a man who is in debt for gambling and wiped out his money on horse races.
Frank decides to pay his good friend and former bank heist professional Flood (played by James Gregory) to rob a small coastal town bank which is the bank used for the payroll for a nearby army base. But unfortunately, Flood has no intention of going to prison again and wants to live the good life.
But after Frank shows Flood the location and how there are not many police, it appears that there chances of success are high and both men are enticed to robbing the bank.
But first, Frank needs to fit in with the community and learn more about how things work in the small town. He and Flood's girlfriend, Kay (played by Mary Costa) purchase a gas station shop and immediately, they start to fit in with the community, making friends and even befriending a police officer.
And for Kay, she starts to enjoy the domestic life of cooking and having people over at their house. She also starts to fall for Frank, but Frank reminds her that this all for business and their plan is to rob the bank and he would never betray Flood by messing around with his girlfriend. But Kay tells Frank that she and Flood have been over for a long time, but he still remains loyal to his friend.
Meanwhile, Frank begins to assemble his team and hires Zimmer (played by Robert H. Harris), an alcoholic and pyromaniac. In addition, Flood brings his men, Roy and Harry (and his intrusive girlfriend Doll).
But when Kay breaks off her relationship with Flood, Flood begins to become jealous that Kay has taken a liking to her new "fake" life with Frank. Despite both Kay and Frank telling him that nothing happened between them, part of him doesn't believe it. Especially when Zimmer tries to fuels the fire by trying to get Flood jealous by telling him that he thinks that Kay is falling in love with Frank.
But when both Frank and Kay start to learn how violent Flood can be and that his jealousy has gotten the best of him and that he wants them dead.... what will happen to Frank and Kay?
Part of the worry of viewers who had bad experiences with MOD DVD's is its overall DVD pressing. Granted, those problems were much common during the beginning of MOD's several years ago but so far, I have not had any problems with MGM's Limited Edition Collection.
With "The Big Caper", its printed quite well with printing on top of the DVD, it's not a plain silver disc with letters. If you didn't know it was MOD, you would think it was an actual DVD release.
As for playability, I played "The Big Caper" on my Blu-ray player and DVD player with no problems. I then played it on my Mac and PC, no problems whatsoever.
VIDEO AND AUDIO:
"The Big Caper" is presented in black and white (1:33:1 full frame). Picture quality is actually good as there are not many blemishes or damage. You do see the occasional white specks and scratches but for the most part, contrast for the film look good and there is a fine layer of grain. Back levels are good and no sign of a major DNR.
Dialogue is presented in Dolby Digital, dialogue is clear.
"The Big Caper" comes with no special features.
When it comes to '50s heist films, among the best is Stanley Kubrick's 1956 film "The Killing".
MGM tried to repeat that success with their 1957 film "The Big Caper" but as "The Killing" focused on the characters and a bank heist gone wrong, "The Big Caper" goes a different route in which two of the robbers in the group, a man and a woman, disguise themselves as a couple and get used to their new life.
Granted, for the man...Frank, it's all about business and his goal of robbing the bank. For Kay, she always wanted that family life and wants to keep it that way, especially since she is falling for Frank.
The problem is, Kay is Flood's girlfriend and despite their relationship is pretty much down in the dumps, Flood has a reputation for a person not to be messed with.
The film focuses primarily on Frank and Kay who are changed by their life in the coastal town and the fact that they are falling in love with each other, it starts to cause problems in the overall planning of the heist as Flood can sense that something may be developing between the two and once again, you mess with Flood...bad things will come.
For the most part, "The Big Caper" has a feeling of a Monogram Pictures film (known for producing low-budget films in Hollywood) but with better location shots and maybe even a higher budget. While Flood and the pyromaniac Zimmer are worthy antagonists, the problem is that once you see a film like "The Killing", "The Big Caper" is almost lowered to something like a TV movie. It has dangerous people, but not dangerous enough. It has action, but only for a short duration.
Whereas "The Killing" made you wonder if they can pull of a heist, "The Big Caper" becomes less about the heist but more of the survival of Frank and Kay, as you know that Flood is going to turn on them.
Needless to say, the film doesn't stray far from any major twists and you can pretty much sense how things are probably going to end as the film makes things a bit obvious.
Still, "The Big Caper" does have charm, especially with the romance factor between Frank and Kay but I will say that how the film ends within the last minute, it's such an easy way-out which was typical for films at the time but I suppose this film can fit into the long list of films with the banality of happy endings. Although this happy ending felt cheap and contrived!
As for the DVD, as mentioned, picture quality was good and there is no major damage to the video or audio.
Overall, "The Big Caper" may not be anywhere near the quality of "The Killing" but if you are looking for a '50s heist films that is straightforward and banal, then give this film a try!