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14 user 3 critic

Strongroom (1962)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 1962 (USA)
During a bank robbery, the manager and a cashier are locked in the strongroom while the crooks escape. Later when the gang realise that their plan to release the pair has gone wrong, they ... See full summary »

Director:

Vernon Sewell

Writers:

Max Marquis (screenplay), Richard Harris (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Gordon ... Mr. Spencer
John Chappell John Chappell ... John Musgrove
Ann Lynn ... Rose Taylor
Derren Nesbitt ... Griff
Keith Faulkner Keith Faulkner ... Len
William Morgan Sheppard ... Alec (as Morgan Sheppard)
Hilda Fenemore Hilda Fenemore ... Charlady
Diana Chesney Diana Chesney ... Charlady
Ian Colin Ian Colin ... Creighton
Pamela Conway Pamela Conway ... Secretary
Colin Tapley ... Haynes
Kevin Stoney ... Police Sergeant
Duncan Lewis Duncan Lewis ... Mortuary Attendant
John Dearth ... Police Sergeant Hopkins
Lockwood West Lockwood West ... Police Inspector
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Storyline

During a bank robbery, the manager and a cashier are locked in the strongroom while the crooks escape. Later when the gang realise that their plan to release the pair has gone wrong, they return to the bank to try and release them before the police turn up.. Written by mike.wilson6@btinternet.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Twelve minutes to live... or die!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

12 Horas de Pavor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Theatrecraft See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A taut, tense yet simple thriller from the vaults
24 June 2017 | by DPMaySee all my reviews

I first read about this film about fifteen years ago, but it never seems to have had a release on the home video market, and it's taken until now before I finally was able to catch one of its rare outings on television.

Considering it was a low budget affair made over fifty years ago, I thought it stood up very well as a tight drama and it managed to hold my interest throughout. But let me be clear: there are no big action scenes, no explosions, no car chases or bouts of fisticuffs in this crime thriller. There's no big crowd scenes and there's not even any incidental music. This is a film which succeeds through its sheer good telling of a story, through good characters, a strong cast and a clever, gradual cranking up of the tension from the very start to the very finish.

The plot is relatively simple: Three crooks (played by Derren Nesbitt, Keith Faulkner and Morgan Sheppard) realise their plan to rob the local bank. To give themselves the best chance of getting far away before the alarm can be raised, they strike just as the bank is about to close up on a Friday evening leading into a holiday weekend where the business isn't due to re-open until the following Tuesday. Hoping to catch the bank manager (Colin Gordon) alone, they have little choice but to execute their plan whilst another staff member (Ann Lynn) is also working late.

Their meticulously-planned scheme works perfectly – almost. Although they get away with the money, an unexpected event means that the crooks have to lock the bank manager and his female assistant into the bank vault (the 'strongroom' of the title) in order to evade immediate detection.

Both the prisoners and the crooks subsequently realise that the air in the sealed vault will be exhausted well in advance of the bank's scheduled re-opening for business. What follows then is a grim tale of humanity as the prisoners desperately seek a way out of their predicament and the crooks have to wrestle with their own consciences as precious time ticks away.

Nesbitt steals the show as the driving force of the villainous trio, a charismatic man who sees himself more as a roguish Robin Hood figure than a genuinely evil person and who meets resistance from his fellow conspirators when he suggests they risk their liberty and their newly acquired riches in order to go back and save the two bank employees from suffocating.

Another highlight is Colin Gordon's performance as the bank manager, a rather stuffy and professional man whom the situation forces to open up to his younger female colleague and also lumbers him with the unwelcome responsibility of trying to play the hero.

The juxtaposition of scenes of desperate plight with others depicting authority figures dallying and dithering plays out like a grim, serious version of Robb Wilton's famous 'fire station' comedy sketch and serves to maintain the tension while the plight of the bank robbers also takes some unexpected twists and turns. Even the very climax has one last crucial contribution to make.

Yes, there are a few things in the film which don't make too much sense. Could Nesbitt's character really not call the police to tip them off that there were people trapped in the vault? Or could he have called somebody else and told them if he was worried about the police tracing the call?

But when the end product is so good, I'm prepared to overlook a few shortcomings. Laced with lots of cameos by some of the best character actors of the day, Strongroom is a stark reminder to modern filmmakers that you don't have to be spectacular to succeed with your audience. I'm so glad this film was let out for air and wasn't kept locked away in a vault where nobody would ever find it again!


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