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TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969)

This Woody Allen mocumentary - mock documentary - explores the incompetency of one petty criminal by the name of Virgil Starkwell. Following the childhood of Starkwell, the film documents his failed musical career and his eclectic penchant for bank robberies. Employing the technique of voice-over narrative and family interviews, the film is an eclectic expose on one of America's most interesting fictitious characters to date.

The cast includes: Woody Allen, Janet Margolin, and Marcel Hillaire.

Directed by Woody Allen

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Promotional lines: "He robbed 16 banks. He got caught 16 times. His record is perfect."

"WANTED. For Assault, Armed Robbery and Committing a Lewd and Immoral Dance with a Chocolate Pudding."

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This is Allen's first original feature film, a parody that combines elements of "Cool Hand Luke" prison films, and pseudo-documentaries that the media puts together on infamous people, trying to discover what makes them tick. It's a screenplay that promises endless laughs.

An inept criminal, Virgil Starkwell is the subject of this pseudo-documentary that explores his "rough" childhood & life of crime, through a series of interviews with people who knew him, flashbacks to his past as well as filming his current escapades, all which pokes fun at television documentaries done on infamous people. A Narrator (Jackson Beck) ties the different sequences together and interviews the people in his life.

Woody put together a very talented cast, that he directed. Also, the editing, pacing, and the style of this film are excellent and unique.

The late Janet Margolin was great as Allen's sweet, supportive girlfriend/wife, Louise, who stuck by him despite his character weaknesses, and his inability to stay out of a life of crime that he isn't even very good at. Louise worked as a laundress, who liked to spend time in the park, painting. Virgil happened to be in the same park, trying to steal purses, when he met Louise. "After fifteen minutes I wanted to marry her, and after half an hour I completely gave up the idea of stealing her purse."

Jacquelyn Hyde does a great job portraying Miss Blair, who finds out about Virgil's past, and blackmails Virgil, threatening to tell his boss of his jail time not mentioned on his resume, causing him to be fired from his straight, legal job. A very funny sequence of scenes is when Miss Blair forces Virgil to come to her house and eat a turkey dinner. Virgil brings her 2 pieces of dynamite disguised as candlesticks, hoping o et rid of this blackmailer once and for all.

James Anderson is convincing as the menacing Chain Gang Warden, playing his role straight as an arrow, to Woody's comedic responses. Woody earns the ultimate chain gange punishment; to be put in the lock box with an Insurance Salesman.

Henry Leff (Father Starkwell) and Ethel Sokolow (Mother Starkwell) were convincing as Virgil's embarrassed parents in the film, who both wore Groucho glasses, with a rubber nose attached, to disguise themselves during their interview.

There are many absolutely hilarious parts in Woody's screenplay. The childhood flashback moments, the car driving sequences, the bank robbery plot scenes, the chain gang sequence, the rabbi prison scenes, and the breaking out of the chain gang are by far some of the best in this film.

Allen's last attempted bank robbery is hilarious, as it shows what can go wrong, even with the best plan is hatched. He explores the question: What happens when 2 gangs plan to rob a bank at the same time? Should you ask the people in the bank, what group of robbers do you want to rob you?

It's given four stars so you can't go wrong. This film is rated PG, great and enjoyable for the whole family. It offers high-quality humor, suitable for everyone!

If you enjoyed TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN you may like "SLEEPER, ZELIG, BANANAS, LOVE AND DEATH and RAISING ARIZONA.

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