Strongroom (film)

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Strongroom
"Strongroom" (film).jpg
Brazilian poster
Directed byVernon Sewell
Produced byGuido Coen
Written byRichard Harris
StarringDerren Nesbitt
Colin Gordon
Ann Lynn
Music byJohnny Gregory
CinematographyBasil Emmott
Edited byJohn Trumper
Production
company
Theatrecraft
Distributed byBryanston Films (UK)
Release date
May 1962 (UK)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget£17,000[1]

Strongroom is a 1962 British crime drama film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Derren Nesbitt, Colin Gordon and Ann Lynn. The screenplay concerns a group of criminals who lock two bank employees in a safe during a robbery.

Plot[edit]

Three small-time crooks, Griff, Len and Len's brother Alec, hold up a bank just after closing time on a Saturday preceding an Easter Monday bank holiday.

The stuffy bank manager (Mr Spencer) and his secretary, Rose are locked in the bank's airtight vault, or "Strongroom" by the crooks when two cleaners unexpectedly arrive. The robbers escape but realise that they face possible murder convictions as the bank will be closed for days and the two employees will suffocate. The crooks improvise a plan to leave the keys to the vault in a telephone box and alert the police by an anonymous phone call. Alec has this task. He is seen driving off but is killed in a road accident. Griff and Len receive a knock on the door from the police. The news of Len's brother's death is given. Len panics at news of his brother's death but blames the two bank employees, vowing not to help Griff in helping to release them.

Meanwhile in the vault the two are calculating their length of air supply: a maximum of 12 hours if they conserve their breath... they will not live until Tuesday morning when the vault is opened. They hope someone will rescue them. However, the manager's friends, who he had agreed to meet up him at the bank, left when seeing his car gone and have started their round of golf without him. Rose's family believe her to be away (alone) for the weekend.

Len tries to retrieve his dead brother's belongings from the coroner's assistant but gets angry when told that the items, which include the strongroom keys, cannot be returned until the police give permission to do so. The duo decide to get hold of an oxyacetylene torch and try their best to break through to the suffocating bank workers (Griff having persuaded Len that, by not doing so, they're essentially putting their own necks on the block). In the meantime, having been contacted by the coroner's assistant, the police sergeant spots that the dead brother's belongings include a strongroom key, something a car-breaker shouldn't possess. The police track down the maker of the key and he advises them to which bank it belongs. The police initially suspect the bank manager of absconding, but it is pointed out that no bank employee should ever have both keys – and therefore something is very amiss.

The police catch Len and Griff boring a hole in the strongroom door. When the boys explain that they're trying to free the workers trapped inside, reluctant at first, the Inspector agrees to let them continue. The duo get an air line through the door but their relief is shattered when, though the vault is opened and the bank manager taken out (barely alive), a police officer states "This one (Rose) is DEAD sir!" The look from Griff and Len sums up the impending doom for the pair, as murder was a capital offence at that time in the UK.

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The Radio Times wrote, "director Vernon Sewell sets up this improbable story quite neatly, but it's hardly breathless entertainment."[2] TV Guide called it "a suspenseful, taut crime drama".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petrie, Duncan James (2017). "Bryanston Films : An Experiment in Cooperative Independent Production and Distribution" (PDF). Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television: 7. ISSN 1465-3451.
  2. ^ "Strongroom | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Strongroom Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014.

External links[edit]