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BEFORE TAKING A BULLITT PETER YATES STAGED THIS 'ROBBERY'

ROBBERY Year: 1967 Rating: ****

Best known as the little obscure crime film that gave English director Peter Yates his big game-changing opportunity to make BULLITT stateside after Steve McQueen had witnessed the rudimentary car chase sequence from ROBBERY, an extremely sparse, deliberately uncaring British Neo Noir Heist-Thriller... 

And it's not just the chase that Yates carried over to the McQueen classic but the meticulous and metronomic moments leading up to it...

Starring the always tough/ultra square-jawed Stanley Baker but only because he's in charge, ROBBERY makes pretty much equal use of the male leads including James Booth as the trailing cop, William Marlowe as Baker's strong-silent second, Barry Forster as his strong-silent third while Frank Finlay, as a meek though crooked banker too-easily broken out of prison, is the most vulnerable and sympathetic...

Yet there's very little sympathy for these particular devils, whose only flaw is how long and tediously methodical it takes for the actual train heist (inspired by The Great Train Robbery) to go down... the director not always considering an audience but, like real life crimes — and even the McQueen ultra-realistic police-procedure about the other side of the law — Yates showcases the slowburn reality like being right there, for better or worse since it's not always extremely exciting, and that's the point. Just don't let the casting of beautiful poster-perfect Joanne Pettit fool you. ROBBERY cares neither about romance or the human condition.

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