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Take the Money and Run 1969
Description: Virgil Starkwell is intent on becoming a notorious bank robber. Unfortunately for Virgil and his not-so-budding career, he is fully incompetent.
Released: 10 Jul 1970 Director: Woody Allen Writers: Woody Allen (original screenplay), Mickey Rose (original screenplay) Actors: Woody Allen, Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire, Jacquelyn Hyde Genres: Comedy, Crime
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Take the Money and Run Reviews:

"Take the Cash and Run" is an absolutely hilarious Woody Allen film, done in a quasi-documentary style, about a career criminal, Virgil Starkwell, who has a very unsuccessful career. His prison breaks don't go as planned, his robberies are a disaster and usually coincide with someone else's robbery of the same place, and his planning of a job would be fine if only he weren't talking to an associate in a restaurant while the police are in the booth behind him. One great perk of failure: while attempting to rob a young woman's purse, he falls in love with her (Janet Margolin). Virgil does admit at one mission thinking of foregoing robbery and taking up a career in singing. He doesn't mention the cello, which gave him his begin in melody - and crime.This is one of those laugh out loud even when you're alone films of which there are all too few. But this is one. Over a tough, FBI-type narration, we watch Virgil's futile attempts at making cash through crime, see his parents (disguised) interviewed, as well as his wife and the different police and investigators he meets along the way.It's nice to look at this movie and then look at "Match Point" done 35 years soon and see the evolution of this brilliant man. Woody Allen is capable of rock-solid comedy as well as provocative movie-making. Although he's had a several blips along the way, one wonders what he'll think of next.


TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN is Mel Brooks-like in structure and gags, but definitely Woody Allen at his comical best. Its not his best picture by any means, but perhaps the greatest of his early slapstick flicks (SLEEPER, BANANAS). "Virgil Starkwell" has a difficult time stealing right from the start. When a criminal gets a gumball machine "stuck to his hand", you know he's in the wrong gig. Woody Allen is right at home with this innocent, documentary-style drip on the unintentional hilarity of 60's crime documentaries. Woody, or "Virgil", seems to be testing Woody as usual, something we all know runs through his whole body of work. This film is very much like his innovative ZELIG of 1983, a black and white docu-spoof about a fictional chameleon.Jackson Beck's narration is PERFECT in making the outrageous material seem "serious". It no doubt inspired the short spoofs "Saturday Night Live" would go on to produce for years, investigative reporting seemingly important, yet ridiculous in content. "Virgil's" parents are in disguise (Groucho Marx nose and glasses) whenever they are "interviewed". The chain gang escape is one of the funniest sequences I have ever seen. Woody also moves into romantic zone with the pretty Janet Margolin, who had a nice, fat purse for "Virgil" to steal, but also has a fast reaction to his inept robbery attempt and, of course, they fall in love. She is there for "Virgil" to live for during his everytime brief prison stays and to pick out his clothes for a robbery. There are some familiar elements here, most obviously the pretty young woman falling for a middle-aged homely Woody.TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN is all about raw comedic filmmaking and mockery. It is not a situational movie at all, just a bunch of perfectly cohesive episodes of this perfectly moronic bank robber, who spells gun G-U-B. Wouldn't that throw us all off if we were the bank tellers taking a note during a stick up ?


This is Woody's first "real" film and it's cute good. Surprisingly so, in fact, when you consider the he began as a stand-up comic dealing out yoks that were by necessity strictly verbal. Some of the yoks here work -- "He said me was a gynecologist but he didn't speak no foreign languages" -- and some don't -- "The prisoners were served one hot food a day, a bowl of steam." But the visual gags and Allen's physical performance more than create up for the jokes that flop. In fact the first joke in the film is visual, and imaginative: Allen plays a cello in a marching band. Still, it's a first feature, and it shows. The camera is shakey and the photography not everytime first rate. He was to improve with practice. Here he has a stage in which he is having a personal argument with his wife in the bedroom, but he's shackled to half a dozen escaped prisoners, who laugh at his entreaties and create wisecracks during the conversation. A related stage in "Love and Death," with a promiscuous Diane Keaton holding the hand of her husband on his deathbed. The husband tells something like, "I know you're pure and you've been faithful to me." The attending priests and doctors start puffing and humming while trying to stifle their laughter. It isn't that the soon stage is necessarily funnier, it simply takes it for granted that the audience can receive in on the joke without being prompted. There are few discernible sources for the story. The most obvious is "I Was a Fugitive From a Chain Gang." Some of the scenes -- the breaking of ankle shackles with a massive sledge hammer -- are repeated and played for laughs. I can't be sure that "Cool Hand Luke," which was released the year before, is an influence but it certainly seems so. There may be something of "Bonnie and Clyde" in it too. Woody hasn't got the nice all-star cast that he was to assemble for his post-"Annie Hall" efforts, but what he has is cute neat. The snarling James Anderson stands out as the Chain Gang Warden, in the Strother Martin role. What a face! Howard Storm as the hold-up victim/arresting officer is a familiar face and a welcome voice. Marcel Hilaire may not now BE Fritz Lang but he ought to be! But aside from Allen, the most necessary role is that of Janet Margolin as his wife, Louise. Her talent as an actress was modest, although she should sometimes outdo herself, as, for instance, the sympathetic closet Jew in "Morituri," a dramatic part. Here she's no more than adequate, but she is so pretty that it hardly matters, and the role hardly calls for thespian fireworks. She was 26 when this was released. She was everytime pleasant, a strange, wistful combination of vulnerability and sex appeal, and some recommendation emanated from her performances that recommended she was that method offscreen as well. Her career and her life ended with a terrible death at a relatively early age. Marvin Hamlisch's score is apt and simple to listen to. It's an amusing debut for Woody. You'll laugh out loud at it, unless you're a true sourpuss.



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