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Take the Money and Run / Prends l'oseille et tire-toi

Woody Allen , Janet Margolin , Woody Allen    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 96.89
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

Woody Allen's feature-film debut, Take the Money and Run, a mockumentary that combines sight gags, sketchlike scenes, and standup jokes at rat-a-tat speed, looks positively primitive compared to his mature work. Primitive, but awfully funny. Allen plays Virgil Starkwell, a music-loving nebbish who turns to a life of crime at an early age and, undaunted by his utter and complete failure to pull off a single successful robbery, continues his unbroken spree of bungled heists and prison breaks even after he marries and raises a family. Narrator Jackson Beck, whose stentorian voice of authority makes a perfect foil for Starkwell's absurd exploits, lobs one droll quip after another with deadpan seriousness. Though spotty, Allen tosses so many jokes into the mix that it hardly matters and when they hit they are often hilarious: the chain gang posing as cousins to their old-woman hostage ("We're very close," Virgil explains to a dim cop), arguing with a dotty movie director who is supposed to be their cover for a bank robbery, Virgil's escape attempt with a bar of soap. Allen spoofs decades of crime films, everything from I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang to Bonnie and Clyde, but you don't have to know the movies to enjoy this goofy, sometimes clumsy, but quite clever comedy. --Sean Axmaker

From the Back Cover

Ce film raconte la vie de Virgil Starkwell. Enfant, Virgil s'essaie au violoncelle, mais il l'abandonne pour faire carrière dans le crime, malgré sa petite taille, sa timidité, et ses lunettes constamment cassées par les gros durs. Il braque une banque mais se fait arrêter misérablement et il est envoyé en prison. Il parvient à s'échapper et vit de vols de sacs à mains avant de rencontrer Louise, une blanchisseuse, avec qui il aura un enfant. Mais toujours sans le sou, il tente à nouveau de faire un braquage, n'y arrive pas et se fait renvoyer au bagne. Encore une fois, il s'échappe, attaché par des chaînes à d'autres bagnards. Il se fera définitivement arrêter en essayant de voler un vieux copain d'enfance s'avérant être un agent du FBI.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No, that's an "n". It's G-U-N. That's "gun." July 8 2004
Format:DVD
"Take The Money and Run" is presented as a biographical documentary of Virgil Starkwell (Allen), a petty criminal.
He has a difficult childhood, and plays the cello in a marching band (but sitting on a chair and trying to keep up with the others). He begins a life of crime by robbing an armored car, but is quickly caught. In prison, he models a fake gun and tries an unsuccessful escape. Later, in exchange for a pardon, he volunteers for an experimental vaccine, the only side effect is turning him into a rabbi for a few hours. From time to time, his parents are interviewed (wearing Groucho Marx disguises). Finally released, he rents a room. He then begins another life of crime with purse snatching and small robberies.
Intending to steal her purse, Virgil meets a young woman, Louise, who is a laundress, and is smitten. He narrates his nauseous nature when in love. He robs a soda machine for money and goes to dinner on a date with Louise. Now he is in love. Virgil tries to rob a bank - but can't write a legible holdup note, and gets arrested and put back in prison, where he gets visits from Louise. Although she says she will wait for Virgil, he plans an escape. The warden gets wind of the plan, so the escaping group calls it off but forgets to tell Virgil, who tries it alone, and improbably escapes.
Virgil and Louise get married, and of course later Louise gets pregnant. Virgil wants to go straight and tries to get job as insurance agent, but is hired instead as for the mailroom. He is ferreted out by a coworker and is blackmailed. Virgil contemplates murdering her, but is unsucessful in every attempt, including stabbing her with a turkey leg, but finally is accidentally lucky with the exploding candlesticks.
Petty crimes follow in his life on the run.
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3.0 out of 5 stars HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF A COMICAL GENIUS July 12 2004
Format:DVD
From around this early time, before Allen truly crystallized his peculiar brand of a nebbish neurotic New York man, I had enjoyed Bananas and Sleeper for their sheer creativity and comic pizzazz. I thought Take the Money and Run would be in a similar league but unfortunately it's not.
A prescient newsreel style voiceover constitutes the narrative device of choice, putting its personal spin on events as it recounts the life of our doozy criminal, Virgil, a nerd turn notorious gangster. It is this wry commentary that lends the film its pseudo-documentary flavor, and the plot is pretty much a patchwork of such clips and thus not exactly awash with consistent humor. Certain scenes are pretty funny though, e.g., the protagonist's escape attempt at the prison that involved a bar of soap and some shoe polish, or a bizarre incident with a chain gang, etc.
For Allen fans, it's a no brainer: you'll see it anyway. For the rest of the viewers, I'd recommend giving other more polished comedies from Allen a try before you get to this erratic early-in-the-game cameo. It simply hasn't stood the test of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of Woody Allen's best Jan. 29 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Though I usually enjoy Woody Allen's more recent work, I'm one of many filmgoers whose heart still belongs to his earlier, anything-for-a-laugh, anarchistic comedies like Bananans, Sleeper, and this one. Take the Money And Run was Woody Allen's first real film to direct himself and it remains one of his funniest. Disguised as a documentary, this 1969 film tells the hilarious story of Virgil Starkweather, the world's most inept (if stupidly optomistic) thief. Like most of Woody Allen's early films, everything is played almost solely for the laughs it might provide and nearly forty years later, it all holds up very well. Lots of hilarious stuff in here (at times, this film is the funniest Mel Brooks film that Mel Brooks never made) but my personal favorite bits would have to include: Virgil's parents who disguise their indentities by wearing Groucho Marx glasses but will be familiar to anyone whose seen any of Allen's films, Virgil's attempt to rob a bank is foiled when none of the clerks can read his bad handwriting, another robbery goes wrong when a rival gang decides to rob the same bank at the same time, Virgil's attempt to escape from prison by making a fake gun out of soap is ruined when it starts to rain, the sight of Woody Allen on a southern chain gang (and being punished by being locked in the hole with an insurance salesman), and especially the scene where a man Virgil attempts to mug turns out to be not only a childhood school friend but an undercover cop as well. Directing with a wild-anything-goes-spirit, Woody Allen gives one of his first (and best) "born loser" performances as Virgil. Amongst all the madness, the film also presents a bizarrely sweet love story between Virgil and his wife, who is well-played by the lovely (and the sadly no longer with us) Janet Margolin. Read more ›
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Format:VHS Tape
"Take the Money and Run" will not entertain or humour those of us familiar with the rest of Woody Allen's sparkling oeuvre. Its only real value is as a curiosity.
This is Woody establishing his template for later movies, i.e., nebbishy loser, a failure at his chosen occupation, acquires an impossibly beautiful girlfriend, and tries to do right.
The mockumentary style he chooses to utilize for the most part works nicely. At times, though, its tone feels uneven, floating from documentary to narrative fiction and back to documentary. If he had stuck to one style the power of the satire would be much stronger. And now that I think of it, choosing to do an obviously mannered genre parody with your first film is somewhat dubious. It sent him on a path that would lead to the well-meaning but uneven films "Bananas" and "Sleeper". Not till "Love and Death" would he make a film where the parody serves the story rather than the story serving the parody.
While most of the jokes feel forced, there are some truly hilarious proto-Woody moments. The marching band scene (with Woody gamely trying to keep up while tugging along his cello and a chair) knocked me down flat with laughter. And a moment late in the film, with Woody trying to conduct a substantive interview with a rambling subject (Woody keeps saying "Get to the point" from behind the camera), is a most effective moment in terms of parodying the documentary form. But other than these, and few others, I was disappointed by the humour. A running gag, where Woody's glasses repeatedly get stomped on by authority figures, was flat the first time I saw it and got flatter each subsequent time.
This film is definitely at the bottom of my personal list of favourite Woody Allen movies.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Howlingly funny and inventive early Woody Allen
A brilliant mock-documentary on the life of a criminal - played by
Allen - with some of the funniest lines and sight gags I've ever seen
in a film. Read more
Published on April 13 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, funny, silly and the best Woody Allen's movie ever
I can't stop laughing whenever I remember this movie. Have seen it dubbed in Persian language too and it was even more hilarious. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2008 by Winston
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious film - Not so good DVD
As others have written, this is a hilarious Woody Allen film. However, for DVD fans and film purists, be warned: the original widescreen format has been chopped down to full... Read more
Published on July 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny
The counter scene when Allen's character says he is robbing the bank and has a "gub". That is hilarious!! Many more humorous scenes! Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by J. McAndrew
4.0 out of 5 stars for those who like to laugh at stuff
Simply put, this movie is hilarious. If you like movies with a bunch of ridiculous (and unexpected) scenes to laugh at, as well as hilarious lines to repeat to your friends later... Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Ian Bowman
2.0 out of 5 stars Forced jokes, shameful mugging, dated.
Really lousy combination of second-rate physical comedy and tepid jokes that go on way too long. I find Woody Allen more or less repulsive when he acts like the cute little... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by C.J. Hustwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely hilarious
This is one of those Woody Allen movies that most people have never seen, yet, in my opinion, is still one of his best. Read more
Published on April 19 2003 by Sheldon
4.0 out of 5 stars Money In The Bank
Take The Money & Run is the first film that featured the Woody Allen triple threat of writing, directing and starring. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2002 by P Magnum
4.0 out of 5 stars Some brillaint moments
This was Allen's first so it may not be as tightly crafted as some of his later works but it is extremely funny. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2002 by R. J. Marsella
5.0 out of 5 stars The First In A Long Line Of Classics
Yes old Woody Allen movies are far different. But that's what is so wonderful. His newer movies tend to be a little less funny at times, yet more interesting as far as the story... Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2002 by "mnlaustin"
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