GUNS, GIRLS AND GANGSTERS (director: Edward L. Cahn; screenwriters: Robert E. Kent/story by Paul Gangelin & Jerry Sackheim; cinematographer: Kenneth Peach; editor: Fred Feitshans; music: Buddy Bregman; cast: Mamie Van Doren (Vi Victor), Gerald Mohr (Chuck Wheeler), Lee Van Cleef (Mike Bennett), Grant Richards (Joe Darren), Elaine Edwards (Ann Thomas), John Baer (Steve Thomas), Paul Fix (Lou Largo), Carlo Fiore (Tom Abbott), W. Beal Wong (Mr. Wong); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert E. Kent; U.A.; 1959)
“Noirish, fast-paced, sleazy, violent and terrifically acted.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An exciting small-budget Imperial Film shot in black-and-white about a botched Las Vegas heist. It’s a classic B-film by prolific low-budget director Edward L. Cahn (“The She Creature”/”Voodoo Woman”/”It! The Terror from Beyond Space“), that’s noirish, fast-paced, sleazy, violent and terrifically acted. It’s based on a story by Paul Gangelin & Jerry Sackheim, and is cleverly written by Robert E. Kent.
Blonde bombshell Las Vegas nightclub singer Vi Victor (Mamie Van Doren) is visited in her dressing room by her trigger-happy volatile husband Mike Bennett’s (Lee Van Cleef) former cellmate at San Quentin, cocky tough guy bank robber Chuck Wheeler (Gerald Mohr). Vi’s nightclub is owned by the racketeer Joe Darren (Grant Richards), her current boyfriend, who is needed by Chuck to launder the $2 million casino money estimated in the take of the armored car robbery Chuck planned in jail with Mike. Another ex-con from San Quentin, petty criminal Lou Largo (Paul Fix) is hired to rig a short-wave radio on the armored car that regularly must check-in with headquarters and can pick-up police signals.
Chuck easily rounds up his gang, but his carefully worked-out plan gets upset when a raging Mike escapes from jail after Vi tells him she wants a divorce and he hears she’s messing around with Joe. Though promised by Chuck a cut in the robbery for just staying in prison and serving out the three more months of his sentence, the crazed Mike returns to LV to discover it’s not Joe but Chuck his unfaithful wife is planning to run away with after the robbery, and the cellmates become bitter rivals while Joe is eliminated by Mike. But before they can settle matters the rivals for Vi must work together on the precision-planned robbery that involves shooting out the tire of the armored car and forcing the guards to have the flat fixed in the garage owned by the nearby Stage Coach Inn owners (Elaine Edwards & John Baer). While the repair work takes place, Chuck and Mike kill the three guards and take the armored car to Los Angeles where they plan to launder the money through Joe’s connection with the shady warehouse owner Mr. Wong (W. Beal Wong). But the perfect plan turns violently sour and the principle hoods get gunned down in a shoot-out at the garage with the police, with Vi arrested as an accomplice.
REVIEWED ON 1/30/2013 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ