Video Release: August 1, 2006
Rating: PG (MPAA)
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
- Closed Captioned
- Runtime: 85 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
- Released in Spanish
Woody Allen's directorial debut is a comedic mock documentary about a crook (Allen) who tries and tries to pull off heists and robberies, but never to any avail. This is due to the would-be thief's incredible incompetence and stupidity, which leads to his downfall each time (for example, he uses a fake gun made of soap -- and gets caught in the rain).
Allen casts himself as a desperate criminal one step ahead of the law in this documentary-style comedy full of slapstick silliness.
Theatrical release: August 18, 1969. Filmed on location in San
Francisco and San Quentin. The film opens with the narrator
(Jackson Beck) saying that Virgil Starkwell was born on December 1,
1935--the same day that Woody Allen was born. Estimated budget:
$1.6 million. The film came in under budget and ahead of schedule.
The film was shot using a single-truck mobile studio that had been
built for I SPY by Fouad Said, who is credited with the locations
for TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN. The film marked Allen's directorial
debut; he said, "I am operating on the principle that the less you
know about directing, the better off you are." Narrator Jackson
Beck was the voice of many Paramount Newsreels; his voice can also
be heard in RADIO DAYS. The short that Virgil shows his gang is
entitled TROUT FISHING IN QUEBEC, which is a Rollins & Joffe
Production, just like Woody's films. The actual documentary footage
used in the film includes shots of Kaiser Wilhelm, Richard Nixon,
and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Don Frazier, who appears here as the
psychiatrist, Dr. Julius Epstein, appeared in BANANAS as the priest
hawking cigarettes in the fake commercial. Virgil's temporary
transformation into a rabbi is mimicked in ANNIE HALL, when Annie's
grandmother pictures Alvy as an orthodox Jew. Ralph Rosenblum, who
served as editorial consultant on this picture, would go on to
become the editor on a series of Allen films. Walter Hill, who
would later go on to direct such films as THE WARRIORS and 48 HRS.,
served as the second assistant director on TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN.
The film features hilarious spoofs of such films as I AM A FUGITIVE
FROM A CHAIN GANG and COOL HAND LUKE.