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| With: Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino, Sheldon Leonard, Gerard Murphy, Kevin O'Connor, Claudia Peluso, Patrick Hines, Malachy McCourt, Walter Klavun |
| Written by: Walon Green, based on a book by Noel Behn |
| Directed by: William Friedkin |
| MPAA Rating: PG |
| Running Time: 104 |
| Date: 08/12/1978 |
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The Big Boost
By Jeffrey M. Anderson Arguably William Friedkin's funniest film, this intricately-designed heist film re-creates the famous 1950 Boston Brink's robbery with loving detail.
Peter Falk stars as Tony Pino the mastermind, a small-time thug who bungles several other jobs before setting his sights higher. His crew is made up of a team of master character actors: Warren Oates, Paul Sorvino, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, etc., with Gena Rowlands as Tony's wife.
Friedkin concentrates, with his usual skill, on the tiny details of the robbery, but with a kind of ironic joy; it's a small town, and everyone seems to know what Tony's up to, but nobody cares. (The robbers actually hold little meetings inside the Brink's building at night.) The comedy then flows naturally from the characters and their interactions, though Friedkin keeps it from getting too broad and slapsticky.
The movie's trump card is Sheldon Leonard as a half-mad J. Edgar Hoover, who sees commies as responsible for the job. The strange ending is perfect for Friedkin: after all this research and detail, nothing is ever final, definite or understandable.
The film received one Oscar nomination, for its impressive set design and art direction. (Like several other Friedkin films, this one has yet to be released on DVD in the United States.)