This post is part of the Hammer Halloween Blogathon hosted by the Classic Film & TV Café. Click here view the complete blogathon schedule.
|This theatrical release film is based on a play written by Jacques Gillies. The entire story takes place within a bank.|
Christmas stories have long been filled with frightening elements. One doesn't have to look any further than Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to find a very popular ghost story. This blogathon is a celebration of Hammer Film Productions, which tended to feature horror stories, but I'm not going to be sharing a ghost story, nor a movie with an axe-wielding Santa Claus. However, there is an enjoyable psychological thriller worth discussing. 1961's Cash On Demand is a British-made Hammer production and its story takes place at Christmas time. Perhaps not so coincidentally, you may also recognize a bit of Dickens in it, as well.
|Actor Andre Morell plays the intellectual bank robber, Hepburn (left), and Peter Cushing (right), plays the bank manager and martinet, Mr. Fordyce|
The movie's story takes place on the morning of December 23rd within a bank, in a small community in southwestern England. A gentleman named Colonel Gore Hepburn passes himself off as a bank insurance inspector, and cleverly robs the bank. In this heist, the robber convinces the bank's manager Mr. Fordyce that he is conspiring with a team who holds Fordyce’s wife and child hostage until the robbery is complete. Fordyce must endure a humiliating morning while the robber demands that he cooperate with a complex set of instructions. Pretending to investigate and evaluate the bank's staff on their security procedures, Hepburn has Fordyce assist him in removing the vault's cash holdings while the rest of the bank's staff are unaware of the ruse.
|The well-thought out scheme forces Fordyce to assist in the robbing of his own bank. Will he be implicated as an accomplice when the criminal act is eventually discovered?|
|Shot with many close-ups, you'll watch as Fordyce is pushed to his mental edge.|
It's not a stretch to say you'll be impressed with the acting in this movie. It’s wonderful to see British actor Peter Cushing in this black-and-white cult classic--introduced to many American audiences by his small role as Grand Moff Tarkin in the 1977 movie Star Wars: The New Hope. However, classic horror film fans may recognize Cushing from his many appearances in Hammer Films.
|Can Fordyce get away with assisting Hepburn in robbing the bank without the staff becoming suspicious?|
Comparisons between the stern boss Fordyce and Ebenezer Scrooge are inevitable here as the robber challenges the bank manager’s prickly character again and again throughout the story. Fordyce is just as insensitive to the holiday spirit with his subordinates as Scrooge is with his employee, Bob Cratchit. Just as in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, viewers may ask themselves if Fordyce will transform his character, promising to change his ways at the end of this Christmas tale. Watching this thriller may be the perfect antidote if you’re feeling the uneasy pressure of commercialism and monetary concerns at Christmas time, once again reinforcing my claim that there's a Christmas movie for every taste preference.
Please check out the other Hammer Films in the blogathon. Happy Halloween!