CASH ON DEMAND (1961)


Watching film which is supposed to be a ‘World wide ‘  art form one can become centralized on the Hollywood model.     The  British have always done a  strong job with the  spy thriller as long as the maintain their essential “British flavor”. There is a tone in their Television series  from  the sixties I.T.V series THE  AVENGERS  to the films  like the classic  Hitchcock Directed THE 39 STEPS (1935).  CASH ON DEMAND (1961) is perhaps not  in the same  cinematic league as those yet is is a refreshing excursion into the heist film.

CASH ON DEMAND was produced by HAMMER FILMS and distributed  by COLUMBIA PICTURES in  1961  which was the same year as the initial James Bond offering DR. NO.  HAMMER FILMS was getting notice for their remakes of Horror films and sequels that splashed color,  gore and  sexuality on the screen.   The studio also did  a series of pictures  dubbed  ‘Physiological thrillers”  by the names of  CRESCENDO (1970) , TASTE OF FEAR (1961) plus others. These  starred as would most of the early Hammer productions the same  troupe of actors usually with a choice newcomer or  big name sprinkled in sometimes  an  American for marketing purposes.  Black and  white films are always  a favorite with me and  CASH ON DEMAND does not disappoint in that department.

Plot wise we have a story about the  perfect crime of a theft of 97,000  pounds sterling from the a  city bank  in a  small town during a snow storm.   The star of the picture is  Peter Cushing who plays Bank Manager  Harry Fordyce who is menaced by Andre Morell and Col. Gore Hepburn.    Hepburn  masquerades as a bank insurance  person come to test the alarm system.

The initial glimpse of Peter Cushing as  Fordyce brings that  stylised ‘British flavour’ forward as he  brushes off the banks outside sign when comes into work.   He is ruthlessly efficient and cold towards his staff as he asks one of the women to remove her Christmas cards from her desk as they are  not  ‘Dignified.”   He dresses  proper in conservative style with  limited  body movements and speaks in clipped tones.   This a man  who is in total control of his world which is the bank, knows  his  job and  his and other peoples place in the  scheme of things.

This is contrasted by the  younger employees of the bank which sit on desks when Fordyce is not in.  The  men try to date the women and  flirt shamelessly foreshadowing the  young peoples  new  ideas  of the  sixties  England that  were trying to replace the old ways  in  ‘Swinging London”

 

 

The world of the Bank is turned upside down when Hepburn reveals his true intentions plus he has  kidnapped Fordyce’s  wife and  daughter who will be  killed  if they do not succeed.  Fordyce must keep this  secret from his staff as he  goes about the alarm check  and other duties.    Morell and Cushing do some excellent  verbal sparing through out all the while  with  Morell’s  character holding the  ace of having control of Fordyce’s family.  The staff  that Fordyce rules  with managerial coldness learn of the plot.   Fordyce begs them to do nothing because of his wife and child however  the wheels have been set in motion. The  terrified bank manager must endure  a police  visit Detective Bill Mason (Kevin Stoney).

Tension abounds  with little bits of  business between the actors which Cushing was  famous for developing himself. Little quirks of character like the lighting of  cigarette or pipe and drawing on it in a special way.   The placement of  desk items in easy reach for a moment.  One also takes  tea  differently if on is a manager at a  bank then the usual person. The  pivotal physical turns  when he spins to face a adversary are all different each time these are all hallmarks of actor building character  which is  to often not seen or a lost skill.

 

CASH ON DEMAND (1961)  features taunt writing by David Chantler and  Lewis Griefer keeping  the  dialogue down to size and short direct  scenes.  Director Quentin Lawrence who actually performed  the same function on the original television adaption of this story  called THE GOLD INSIDE’ for program called THEATER 70 keeps the action rolling and  the  setups  to a minimum. Action is in shot  inside the Bank plus  outside on the street in the snow all in glorious properly photographed with shadows black and white.

CASH ON DEMAND (1961)  runs  sixty six minutes in original  form  pumped up to eight nine minute late on.  It seems like a hard picture to find on networks  yet it is  well worth solid film making on  budget with good  characters  and  a story.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “CASH ON DEMAND (1961)

  1. This is a great little movie which I caught on youtube quite a while ago. It’s still up and the print is very good. It caught my eye originally because of Cushing who doesn’t disappoint, but everyone is very good here. Nice little twist in the end too.

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