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Film / The Great Bank Robbery

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The Great Bank Robbery is a comedic 1969 Western film directed by Hy Averback, in which the fortress-like, criminal-founded bank of 1880-era Friendly, Texas is targeted by a converging collection of individuals:

  • The Reverend Pious Blue AKA "Harry" (Zero Mostel) and his team of con-artists.
  • A grubby gang of Mexican banditos ineptly lead by a father-son team (Akim Tamiroff and Larry Storch).
  • The violent and hair-triggered thug Slade (Claude Akins).
  • And, on the opposite side of the law, the Texas Ranger Ben Quick (Clint Walker) and his Secret Service liaison Fong (Mako).
  • Oh, and there's Pious's female accomplice Lyda Kebanov (Kim Novak), who takes an immediate shine to Mr. Quick, and devotes as much (if not more) effort to seducing him as she does to the robbery.

Unsurprisingly, an escalating and chaotic Gambit Pileup ensues.

The Great Bank Robbery contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Battering Ram: The Mexicans' final attack on the bank deploys this tactic, using an enormous log mounted on wheels. It works, but Blue and Co. have already stolen all the money.
  • Chase Scene: Done with a train full of Mexican bandits and a hot-air balloon.
  • Chinese Launderer: Quick's support team is working undercover as a group of these.
  • Covered in Kisses: Lyda does this to Quick at the end of the film.
  • Crowd Song: Justified in-universe, as it's Reverend Blue's way of covering up the noise made by his team's digging operation underneath the church.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The bank's defenses effortlessly repel the Mexicans' first attack.
  • Digging to China: Subject of a gag when Blue's tunnel-team starts hearing Fong's team of competing diggers.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: During the bank robbery, Lyda rides into town posing as Lady Godiva, almost completely naked on horseback with just a few flowers covering her nipples.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: The Mexicans, constantly.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Sort of. Papa gets thrown in the town jail not for attempting to rob the bank, but for littering.
  • Gambit Pileup: As noted, everyone tries to rob the bank at once.
  • Godiva Hair: Averted when Lyda rides up to the bank naked on horseback, as her hair falls to the sides of her breasts, but her nipples are still covered by flower pasties.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Slade.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Lyda gives up her chance at escape and her share of the loot to stay with Quick.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Slade commenting on the Mexicans trying to rob the bank: "Scum."
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Subverted. "You sure are inscrutable, Fong. Just like all you Secret Service fellas."
  • Intoxication Ensues: Quick after unwisely eating the snack offered to him by Lyda.
  • Last Disrespects: Slade shoots Jeb, buries him, and then casually tromps over the grave as he leaves the scene.
  • Love at First Sight: Pretty much Lyda's reaction to Quick.
  • Mr. Fanservice: For the ladies, there's Mr. Quick.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Novak's character, again done deliberately as part of her gang's plan.
  • Not Quite Dead: "Quick! Watch out for Whatisface!!" AKA Slade
  • No Sense of Direction: Unfortunately for Blue and Co., their get-away balloon pilot is cursed with a bad case of this.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: The bank is where numerous notorious western outlaws store their loot, which is why Quick is attempting to "rob" it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Papa and Juan finally (wisely) just give up and go home. "I promised your mother we wouldn't do anything dangerous."
  • Showdown at High Noon: Quick and Slade inevitably end up facing each other in this fashion.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Justified in-universe, as it's Reverend Blue's way of covering up the noise made by his team's digging operation underneath the church.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A literal example, when Slade's sidekick Jeb just can't keep his mouth shut about Slade's Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Tunnel King: Both Quick and Blue's group are trying to get into the bank in this fashion.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Juan and Papa.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Mexican gang's loud and frantic attack on the bank is utterly ignored by the townsfolk attending church.