Payroll (1961)

William Lucas och The Femme Fatale, Francois Prevost

UK Optimum Classic DVD edition




Great Britain and Film Noir ? After watching a collection of Hammer B Noir you could believe that wasn't the case, but this film, Payroll
tell another story, a great and paceful Heist crime movie in a late Film Noir style. Yeah, made in 1961 makes it too late to be a Film Noir.

The Heist movie - Good or Bad?

Sometimes Good as in the Mother of all Heist films - Rififi (Du Rififi chez les hommes, 1955) by Jules Dassin but often Bad. Why?
All these grave silent men with sweaty foreheads welding their way into some bank or other, and with close-ups of some wrist-watch
and of the time ticking away. Yeah, let's throw in some more close-ups of drops of sweat too, very suspenseful, very ....
and the worst type of Heist films are for sure the idiotic big-budgeted one's with Bad star actors in sleeping pills as Ocean's Eleven or
MI where you know that everything will go as plan, success guaranteed .... Zzzzzzzzz.

But, when you have absolutely No Idea about the outcome of the Heist, if it will go to hell or not, if the criminals will turn on each other
or if a beautiful and rotten Femme Fatale will turn up and spread chaos, then it's probably a good Heist movie.
And, if there are elements of Film Noir to it too, then we're talking, and Payroll is just this - a Heist film and a late Film Noir.

The Kneale's Bodyworks Robbery

The 4 Bad Guys of the film, the brain and leader Johnny Mellors (a brilliant Michael Craig), Monty (Kenneth Griffith), Blackie (Tom Bell)
and Bert, plan a Heist against an armored car with valuables, money, over 100 000 pound for a company's wage payments.
The armored car is supposedly a new Foolproof model, but Johnny has got some inside information about it's construction from the
office-rat Dennis (William Lucas) a coward with a much to snazzy wife, french beauty Cathy (Francois Prevost). She despices Dennis,
but maybe love will come if he only get's some money, something he does by copying the secret documents about the armored car.

The highlight of the film is the daring Heist, a sardine can opening operation. Then the dance around the loot starts and a femme fatale
enters the game and Set-Ups are being planned. Great Stuff and very entertaining. I had never heard about this film as it seems to be
unjustly obscure and forgotten, but it's very good, snappy with pace and Michael Craig and Francois Prevost are fine as rotten perps.
Maybe not with enough desperation to be called Film Noir but still a fine Heist movie done in a late Noir style.

Presented in widescreen 1.66:1, english audio mono, black & white with no extras

 

Back to Film Noir page