The young Woody Allen’s hectic 1969 first feature as director is a fresh seeming, hilarious delight, with the co-writer and star as inept criminal Virgil Starkwell who cannot even convince bank staff that they are being robbed.
In contrast to the mature Allen’s beautifully crafted work, Take the Money and Run is told apparently carelessly in a scrappy looking pseudo-documentary style. But nevertheless, it is a bright and lively fast-paced cornucopia of hit-and-miss loopy sight gags and crazy one-liners.
Janet Margolin is amusing as Woody’s wife Louise, while Allen’s real-life partner Louise Lasser, the second Mrs Woody Allen (2 February 1966 – 1970), has a small role as Kay Lewis. Also in the cast are Marcel Hillaire, Lonny Chapman, Jacquelyn Hyde, Jan Merlin, James Anderson, Howard Storm, Ethel Sokolow as Mother Starkwell, Dan Frazer as the psychiatrist Julius Epstein and Mark Gordon.
It is just the kind of fresh, fast and funny film that some people say that they wish Allen made now.
Paul Feig, famous for Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013), Spy (2015) and Ghostbusters (2016), saw Take the Money and Run when he was nine years old and was so enthralled by it that he still remembers how ‘it came on and it was like a religious experience’.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4000
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