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Film / Bank Shot

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Bank Shot is a 1974 film directed by Gower Champion and written by Wendell Mayes. It was loosely based upon Donald Westlake's novel of the same name, which was the second book of his Dortmunder series. The film stars George C. Scott, Joanna Cassidy, Sorrell Booke, and G. Wood.

A bank temporarily housed in a mobile home while a new building is built, looks like an easy target to break into. On the other hand, why not steal the whole bank, and rob it in a safer location?

Bank Shot contains examples of:

  • Bank Robbery: Ballentine and his crew steal a branch bank that is temporarily being housed in a mobile home: stealing the entire bank so they can crack the vault in an isolated location.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Ballentine stages this steal a set of mobile home wheels and the truck towing them. Staging a series of minor traffic accidents, Ballentine—dressed as a traffic cop—starts giving instructions to everyone to disentangle the mess. By the time he is done, and everyone has driven off, the truck drivers realise someone has driven off with their truck.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: The film starts with Ballentine in prison. Karp visits him with plans for a bank robbery and a plan to allow him to bust out.
  • Camping a Crapper: During his breakout, Ballentine lurks behind the privy; waiting for suitable construction worker to come along who can be Mugged for Disguise.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: El prevents the guards from noticing the sound of the approaching truck by revving a very noisy motorbike outside the bank.
  • The Caper: Crooks plot literally steal a bank, i.e. to steal the entire building.
  • Car Meets House: Ballentine drives the scraper into a barn in order to hide it. However, El has selected the wrong barn and it is too small for the scraper. As a result, Ballentine demolishes the entire structure.
  • Cigar Chomper: The pugnacious 'Bulldog' Streiger has a cigar clenched in his teeth for most of the movie.
  • Criminal Procedural
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Streiger is showing his team some old surveillance footage of Ballentine. The camera temporarily loses Ballentine when it swings away from him to focus on the cleavage of the woman walking next to him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The crew hide the bank by painting it pink and parking it in a mobile home park. FBI agents walk past it several times without giving it a second glance.
  • The Hyena: El has a disturbing habit of bursting into laughter, even when nothing funny has occurred.
  • I Call It "Vera": Hermann X has a bicycle-powered drill that he calls 'Old Faithful'.
  • Inspector Javert: Bulldog Streiger, whose personal motto is "No one escapes Bulldog Streiger". After Ballentine escapes, Streiger pursues him all the way to Los Angles, and organises a multi-agency taskforce in an attempt to bring him to justice. At the end of the film, he is vowing to learn to swim and then swim to Samoa to continue the chase.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Ballentine explains to El that the food in prison was spiked with saltpeter, and asks her if she knows what that does. El kisses him and, when he fails to become aroused, he explains that that is what saltpeter does.
  • Low-Speed Chase: When Ballentine breaks out of prison in a 50-ton scraper, Streiger chases after him in a golf cart.
  • Monumental Theft: Ballentine and his crew steal a branch bank that is temporarily being housed in a mobile home.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Ballentine ambushes a construction worker and steals his clothes as part of his plan to break out of prison.
  • Office Golf:The golf-obsessed Streiger is practicing putting in his office when he calls Constable and orders a loose tail put on Karp.
  • Putting on the Reich: The guards in Streiger's prison wear uniforms that make them look like Brownshirts.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Deliberately invoked. Ballentine and Stosh park the stolen bank on a railway crossing. When the signals go off and the guards hear what sounds like a train approaching, they abandon the bank rather than get smashed.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Hermann X carries a gun that he draws at the slightest provocation. When Victor's very intimidating 'door bell' goes off, Hermann draws and fires despite not having a target. The bullet ricochets around the inside of Victor's home. Ballentine ends up forbidding Hermann to bring the gun along on The Caper.
  • Running Gag: Karp's continuing changes of false mustache.
  • Safecracking: Ballentine steals the bank because they don't have time to crack the safe on site. Hermann then sets to work cracking it. He cuts it, drills it and finally blasts into with nitroglycerin before it opens.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Ballentine is sitting in a steam cabinet when El comes in to show him several coats she's bought him. She starts with a trench coat which she takes off to show him a plaid coat underneath. She then takes off the plaid coat to show she is wearing nothing under it.
  • Sinister Shiv: Ballentine jabs a shiv into the back the construction worker he mugs for disguise while Camping a Crapper.
  • Steal the Surroundings: Ballentine and his gang steal the entire bank (which is housed in a mobile home) in order to be able to have the time to crack the safe.
  • Super Window Jump: When the guards think they are sitting on Railroad Tracks of Doom, one of the guards jumps out of the bank's window without opening it first.
  • Title Drop: Karp mentions the phrase 'bank shot' multiple times within a couple of minutes when outlining the job to Ballentine.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Ballantine escapes from prison by hijacking a 50-ton scraper from the highway construction site. 'Bulldog' Streiger pursues him in a golf buggy. Also doubles as a Low-Speed Chase.