Guns, Girls and Gangsters

With a title like that I could not resist watching this 1959 film noir crime film (although calling this film noir is like calling the president of a certain country “a classy dude”).

It starts off in an awful hurry with the obligatory authoritative 50’s narrator blazing through the back story, with the meat of the film already underway 10 minutes in (although this film was only 70 minutes long).

Chuck Wheeler has just been released from prison and he quickly comes up with a plan for an armoured truck heist, carrying bags of lovely money from a Las Vegas casino all the way to L.A. The girl involved is Mamie Van Doren as a nightclub singer. Her husband, Mike Bennett (played by Lee Van Cleef), who she wanted a divorce from, was in the same prison cell as Chuckers, and together they came up with the heist plan. Chuck was released early so he went about the plan by enlisting the help of the nightclub owner and Mamie, who was reluctant at first.

Mike Bennett though escapes from prison, and when he hears that Chuckers was using his wife in the heist, and upon seeing them together see’s red and goes a bit berzerb.


Mike Bennett peering through a window watching Mamie and Chuck together. Lee looks extremely cool in the shades.

He kills Chuck’s old friend, and tries to kill Chuck, but they end up working together on the heist. The heist goes pretty well at first, but of course there was a flaw in their plan and Chuck and Mike are gunned down by the fuzz. Mamie is taken away, a life in prison ahead of her.

It sounds all rather exciting, but this is just cheap thrills, fifties style. Mamie gets a couple of song and dances, all dressed up in her blonde bombshell duds.


Mamie and Chuckers

Here is she in 2007…


Mamie launching her new limited edition classy wine

The best part though was the last few seconds. The narrator returned after his opening monologue, with a few short words about Chuck, then, over a shot of the armoured car trundling along a road…

…says, “Yes, this is an armoured car! Specially constructed for it’s job. It does that job!”. End credits roll.

Dang! The whole film was worth it just for that bizarro ending!

Date watched: June 30th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2017: 74

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