216. Charley Varrick (U.S. 1972)

director: Don Siegel

starring: Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Andy Robinson, Felicia Farr

support: Jewell Everett, John Vernon, Norman Fell

music: Lalo Schifrin

FACT1: The film was released as Kill Charley Varrick in the UK.

FACT2: Andy Robinson (who played Scorpio in Siegel's Dirty Harryiis the son of Edward G. Robinson.

LIE1: The film was released as Kill Charley Cairoli in The Isle of Man

LIE 2:Andy Robinson is the nephew of Call My Bluff/Ask the family  host Robert Robinson ("Hish, tush, nay; our old enemy time is upon us once again. Right, hands on buzzers or I'll kill all of your mothers.")

A bank robbery goes wrong.

Another splendid film from no-nonsense, but quite brilliant director Don Siegel. Matthau plays the titular Charley Varrick (in a role initially offered to Clint Eastwood), a crop-dusting pilot and bank robber with a sense of morality (unlike practically everyone else in the film).

The film starts with a violent robbery in a small American town. Two of Varrick's 'gang' are killed during the robbery whilst Varrick's wife Nadine (Everett) dies soon after from a gunshot wound.

Varrick and the hot-headed Sullivan (Robinson) escape, but soon find that they have stolen Mafia money and have to hide out in a trailer park and hope that the 'heat' will soon be off. Southern gentleman/psychopath Mafia enforcer 'Molly' (Baker) is despatched to recover the money and punish the thieves.

Violence, double-crossing and some unlikely Matthau-sex-with-a-much-younger- woman ensue.

He (left) gets to do 'it' with her (right).

 The story ends with a barely credible piece of stunt-work (which had been flagged-up earlier in the film) and  the synchronisation of a million-to-one set of circumstances which (almost) tarnish an (almost) great 'seventies heist' film.

Acting awards to (the great) John Vernon and Joe Don Baker.