Picture this: Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine as motorcycle-riding, hippy-disguised, bank-robbing senior citizens. A highly underrated movie, indeed.
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After having her house repossessed and demolished by an uncaring bank, Bunny O’Hare (Davis) wants revenge. Borgnine, who is recycling the plumbing from the doomed house, offers to drive Davis to her daughter’s home, but when Davis discovers that Borgnine is a wanted bank robber, she blackmails him into teaching her how to rob a bank. Just before the first robbery, in front of the bank, she rehearses her lines:
Davis: “Now lets see. ‘This is a stickup.’ ”
Borgnine: “No, no. Come on, come on, let’s get out of here.”
Davis: “No! ‘I’ve got a gun in my purse. Put all that money in my purse.’ ”
Borgnine: “Paper bag! paper bag!”
Davis: “Why is it always a paper bag?”
Borgnine: “Because it is. It’s been a paper bag for years.”
Much of the action consists of chase scenes. One of the early sequences was shot in a Montgomery Ward store, with motorcycles careening through the aisles and shoppers scattering in all directions. Somehow, no matter how many police cars are in pursuit, the robbers are never caught while fleeing the scene of the crime, even when the bag of money is dropped and they went back to pick it up.
The intrepid detective hot on their trail is Jack Cassidy, he of the toothy smile and adorable dimples. This is a detective who appears to have been trained by Inspector Clouseau. Cassidy is assisted by a bright young psychology student, who provides valuable suggestions to the detective, but gets no credit for her insightfulness.
The bank robbers systematically rob branches of the Bank of New Mexico, not because they need the money, but because Bunny’s children keep asking her for money every time she phones them. After every robbery, she stuffs all the money in an envelope, and drops it in the mail at the nearest post office, taking time to remove the Wanted posters from the wall of the post office. Although a motorcycle is used as a getaway vehicle, it is usually hidden in the back of Borgnine’s pickup camper.
When there are only four branches of the Bank of New Mexico that have not been held up, Cassidy arranges a trap. He selects one of the remaining banks as the most promising for the next robbery. Police are planted around the bank in various disguises, waiting for the robbers to arrive. As luck would have it, this is the bank that the robbers have chosen for that day. When they arrive on their motorcycle, there is no place to park.....too many police loitering around. Davis says to park around the corner. Borgnine says that they always park in front....stick to the plan that works.
Noticing a bank on the other side of the street, they decide to rob that one instead, although it is not a Bank of New Mexico branch. So.....while the police are falling all over themselves at the first bank, the bank across the street is successfully robbed.
The plot thickens when two hippies, almost identically attired as our senior citizens and riding a motorcycle, decide to rob a bank on that very same day. Unfortunately, they use a gun, and someone is shot.
Everyone heads towards Mexico: the escaping hippies, a bevy of police cars, a helicopter, Cassidy and his assistant, and last but not least, Davis and Borgnine in the pickup.
Within sight of the border, the motorcycle passes the pickup, Cassidy crashes into the back of the pickup, exposing the motorcycle inside, the hippies are apprehended, and.......
You will just have to find out for yourself if the senior citizens get away.
This is not the greatest movie that ever came down the pike, but I found it enjoyable. After all, how often do you see Bette Davis roaring down the highway on the back of a
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