Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 10/15/2015...
Just a year before his TV hit Wanted Dead or Alive Steve McQueen had a co-starring role in The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery. This is not the best McQueen role but does show how much potential he had before becoming the King of Cool in later great roles in movies like The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, and Papillion. My personal best Steve McQueen film will always be from 1980, the action packed The Hunter where in he portrayed Papa Thorson, a bounty hunter. It was his last role before passing away from lung cancer in November of 1980.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
One of the King Of Cool's first films
Georgios A. Katsaros | Greece | 01/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the first films of the King Of Cool the Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is not a bad heist film for its low budget and being made in 1959.Also the film is based on actual events in St. Louis with many of the police officers playing roles in the film.
The story is about George Fowler (Steve McQueen) he is hired to be the getaway driver in a bank robbery by a old friend Gino (David Clarke).He meets with the rest of the crew the methodical John Egan the boss (Crahan Denton) and Willie (James Dukas) the criminal that has past his prime and jealous of George's importance in the robbery.Throught the film we see the preparation for the robbery and George's involment with a past love.
What I liked about this film despite it being a old film and in black and white its that its good heist film.Its cool how they prepare the heist.Timing the runs and checking for cops close to the bank.Another thing is the film feels real and the plot doesn't go to extremes like some other films that we have today.Also there is a scene in the film that I especially liked was where Gino is in the bathroom shaving and George closes the door and Gino realises how small the bathroom is and claustrophobic of it reminding how jail is to locked up.Today in films criminals act like its nothing getting out of jail.
The DVD is a barebones release.Nothing at all.Dont expect in the near future any special edition.But if you really like this film get because just look at the price 4 dollars.Who can beat that.
A entertaining and quick film with good performances.Not a bad heist film with no happy ending for a change than most cliché films.Any Steve McQueen fans should see this to look at the start of this legend's career."
Tony C. Pastorello | Carlsbad,New Mexico | 03/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At 63, and a friend knowing I was from "Dago Hill" in St.Louis, we were chatting about how things had changed in our world. He being an avid Cardinals fan, as myself, we starting telling stories about Ole' St. Louis. When I told him about being an early teenager, my father owning the quick shop"Tom's Grill" and watching the making of the movie, meeting Steve McQueen,in person, seeing the behind the scenes operation, he was intrigued and asked me a lot about the story. As we sat talking my wife looked at me and suggested we go to Amazon.com, see if the movie was downloadable and watch it. Well, needless to say it brought back many memories, and since my father died in 1981, I got to see him, alive, young and in the movie in the restaurant scenes when Steve was timing things and had the argument with the girl.
My father obviously is "Tom", owner of the grill, I remember many of the actual police officers in the movie as well as those that were involved in the real robbery. In the scene where the police cars are coming out of the station to respond to the bank, they are coming out of the 2nd district police station on Hampton Ave. which was right behind my house. Since I used to go to the station, shoot my .22 rifle in the basement range, put the flag up on week-ends, I got to know many of the officers that also knew my dad. As well as sometimes sneaking a ride on the back of one of the police motorcycles from time to time.
Yes, it brought back many memories, the movie itself was of course low budget, black and white, a very young Steve and refreshingly not full of sex, and tons of profanity.
To Amazon, I can only say thank you, from my heart, I am now a semi-retired former police officer, on reserves, and a PhD meteorologist here in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
In missing old St.Louis, the movie actually reminded me of the times as a kid, crawdad fishing and bike riding in Tower Grove park, having sat under that very pagoda in the movie when the gang members met.
So, especially if your an old St. Louis resident or just want to see how it looked with the old 50's cars, cheap gas, and a nostalgic hamburger fast food shop, I highly recommend you watch this movie: "The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery"
Any comments or visitors you may e-mail me at: email@example.com or feel free to visit my weather website: www.weatherwatchofnm.com ."
Very good Steve McQueen, surprisingly good movie
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 07/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is an exciting movie featuring a young Steve McQueen. McQueen plays George Fowler, the getaway driver for a group of three robbers attempting to rob the Southwest Bank in the city of St. Louis. The four men must watch and observe the bank to see when the officers on duty change shifts, the amount of traffic on an average day, and when and where they will make their getaway. This is an exciting movie that I picked up because Steve McQueen was in it, but I enjoyed the whole movie, not just McQueen's performance(only a year after his first starring role in The Blob). This is a good example of film noir also with its dark mood, interesting camera angles/shots, and not so perfect characters. Very entertaining movie as the tension rises all the way until the exciting climactic bank robbery.
Steve McQueen, in his second starring role, is excellent as getaway driver, George Fowler, a naive college student who finds himself wrapped up in the world of crime. Even here in only his second major role, McQueen has already perfected the quiet, loner type. Crahan Denton plays John Egan, the emotionally fragile leader of the bunch who wants this to be his last job. David Clarke plays Gino, the ex-con who refuses to go back to prison. James Dukas stars as Willie, the member of the bunch who takes pleasure in antagonizing the rest of the gang. Molly McCarthy plays Ann, a girl George used to date who gets unwillingly involved with the heist. The DVD contains a small biography about McQueen and the standard presentation of the movie which doesn't look too bad. For a surprisingly good heist movie with an excellent performance from a young Steve McQueen, check out The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery!"
As usual, the Roan release is the one to have!
Yarby | Medina, OH United States | 04/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Roan has done a commendable job in restoring this movie, given that the first and last reels of 35mm fine grain were lost, and negatives had to be used for those reels. The picture, while technically widescreen, is a 1.66:1 ratio, so in viewing it on a 16x9 television, the viewer is either left with a slightly trimmed (top and bottom) full frame, or it can be viewed using the "zoom" function, sacrificing small amounts of information at the top and bottom. This is unfortunate, as viewing the movie in the latter manner, the picture appears somewhat soft. The picture is quite dark, until the last reel. However, grain and damage are minimal. Sound is probably the weak point of this release....however, I assume Roan did everything it could with the source materials that remained of the film. This is the only reason I leave them off the hook on this DVD.If you're interested in seeing early Steve McQueen, this is a great place to start. I actually found him to be more similar in this movie to the persona he would become known for, than in his early role in "The Blob".Recommended, but with hesitation."
A Foiled Robbery
Acute Observer | Jersey Shore USA | 04/27/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The St. Louis Bank Robbery, 1959 film
The film begins with a man driving a car on a highway. Three cars park off the street, across from a bank. `This story is based on a true incident." Men of the St. Louis Police Department play their actual parts. The four men discuss the bank: no guards, never been touched, easy access. There is a schedule to plan the job. The talk tells about the characters. [Notice the words.] George Fowler is the wheelman, he will get the license plates to disguise the car. [How many people check their rear license plates?] "Do you come here often?" [The talk and story drag.] Will Ann trust George? [Better fill-in lighting needed.] Is Willie getting old? Gino has fears of going back. Time passes slowly. Ann saw Gino and George together, she is suspicious.
They gather together to collate their observations. The robbery must be over in two minutes. They rehearse the timing of the operation. [The talk and story drag.] Will they go to Mexico after the job? A man brings in a shoebox with merchandise. A warning on the bank window? [Bad luck?] "It wasn't my fault." "Do you want to get me killed?" Can they trust Ann? Egan doesn't think so. There is conflict over the driver. They begin the robbery. "This is a hold-up!" The alarm is given. The police arrive before they can get away; they're trapped! Gino won't go back. Egan's taking of a hostage doesn't work. George takes a hostage, he's scared. Shooting continues. Then the police go in to end the robbery.
This film tells a story but runs on too long. There are better low-budget films."