Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take the Money and Run - Movie Review

'Take the money and run' is a Woody Allen movie in which he is the actor, director and the writer. It was made in 1969 which is a long time ago and was Allen's first movie as a director.

As the movie title indicates it is about a guy, Virgil Starkwell (Woody Allen), who has always been inclined to a life of crime. Only he is not good at it and is always getting caught. So from his childhood onwards, the account of Virgil is given by his parents, teachers, friends and all sorts of people like his cello teacher, in an interview fashion, while he goes about trying to steal and gets caught, gets beaten up and almost always, gets his spectacles stamped upon. But Virgil does not give up. It appears to be his only talent, or non-talent, and he is always in jail.

Virgil's bank holdup is amazingly funny as he passes a  piece of paper to the bank teller confirming that this is a holdup and that the money better be handed over. Only his handwriting is not too legible and everyone is discussing what the words mean - all the clerks first and then they direct him to the Vice President's office where holdups are best dealt with. The VP's office is soon crowded with people who are trying to figure out what Virgil has written.  

Another time he and his gang hold up a bank and at the same time another gang also lands up. Virgil asks the customers to raise their hands to which gang they would like to be robbed by and the result is heavily loaded in the other gang's favour. Or the scene when his pretty wife (I liked her, Janet Margolin) informs Virgil that she is pregnant and Virgil panics and asks how? Or the scene when he and his jail bird friends make a break for it from the jail transport vehicle - only all of them are chained together. They reach a house with an old lady and Virgil tells her that his car broke down and could he make a call and she lets him in and in shuffle six more jail birds, chained together. And they shuffle along, all of them, to the bedroom where they get a change of clothes, to the bathroom, shuffle discreetly when a cop comes visiting and shuffle off as well. They go to Virgil's house where the six shuffle behind him as he and his wife have an argument and snigger and snicker. Hilarious stuff.

In the end Virgil holds up a guy on the road and they realise that they took music classes together. As they exchange pleasantries and laugh about the good old days, Virgil innocuously asks him to hand over the watch, the wallet in a polite manner and then just as they are about to leave, the other guy, still laughing uproariously informs Virgil that he is now a cop and could Virgil please return all the stuff and put his hands up.

'Take the money and run' is full of such jokes and I had a great time laughing my guts out. Must watch for anyone who loves comedy and especially this kind of comedy. Allen is brilliant. I did get a moment in the second half when the comedy was getting predictable, you know he will always fail at all his capers, but that was only for a moment and I am nitpicking. Otherwise its a brilliant watch and you must go and watch it NOW!

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