Last night I caught a brilliant little crime film that had somehow regrettably managed to go underneath my radar all these years, probably because it was released by a mainstream studio with mainstream actors.
Charley Varrick, stars the great Walter Matthau as a minor league bank robber who makes most of his living as a crop duster, but who stumbles into a much bigger score and lots more money then he had ever planned for.
Varrick and his gang, including Andrew Robinson in his best raving idiot, psycho mode rob a small town bank that is actually a drop for mob money and end up on the run from both the cops and the friendly, good spirited, very creepy, Joe Don Baker as Molly, the mob enforcer.
Directed by Dirty Harry's, Don Siegel and featuring most of his stock actors, Matthau plays it totally straight and as we watch him methodically go about his plan to get away with the cash and his life, it makes for a truly thrilling little film.
On top of that, Joe Don Baker just has a fine time in his part as Molly, one of the calmest, friendliest and most threatening villains I’ve ever seen.
It’s really a good piece of work and listen closely to hear at least three classic lines that Tarantino would use later in some of his own films.
And of course, there’s this totally cool poster too.