Take the Money and Run (1969)

“After 15 minutes I wanted to marry her, and after half an hour I completely gave up the idea of stealing her purse.” If you’re like me and you prefer the slapstick style of Woody Allen’s early films – like Bananas, Sleeper and Love and Death – then you’ll love this comedy mockumentary that stars Allen as “Virgil Starkwell”, an aspiring (but severely untalented!) musician who devolves into a bumbling criminal. Highlights include Virgil trying to play cello in the town’s marching band, Virgil’s “gun”/”gub” argument with a confused bank teller, Virgil’s failed prison escape attempt using a gun carved out of a bar of soap (he is foiled by a sudden downpour), the chain gang posing as cousins, Virgil ineptly trying to murder his blackmailer and Jackson Beck’s classic deadpan narration that features such absurd lines as “Frankie Wolf, wanted by federal authorities for dancing with a mailman.” Look for Janet Margolin (David and Lisa) as “Louise,” Virgil’s love interest. Take the Money and Run was filmed on location in San Francisco and San Quentin State Prison. Critic Roger Ebert remarked that “in the last analysis it isn’t a very funny movie. It isn’t really a movie at all. I suspect it’s a list of a lot of things Woody Allen wanted to do in a movie someday, and the sad thing is he did them all at once.” Oscar-winning Composer Marvin Hamlisch (The Sting) provided the score for both Take the Money and Run and Bananas.

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