0147: The Bank Dick (1940)

The Bank Dick.jpg

Rating: 7/10

This movie is about an alcoholic old man named Souse. He gets so drunk on absinthe he goes through a series of unlikely events that he inadvertently stops a couple of bank robbers and is then made the guard at the city’s bank because of his “heroism.”

The humor in the first-act movie relies too much on the “drunks are funny” cliche. “Oh he ran into that telephone pole, because he’s drunk! He went up the wrong side of the steps, BECAUSE HE’S DRUNK! HE FELL OVER WHEN HE TRIED TO SIT DOWN, BECAUSE SATAN DEMANDS IT!!! (also, he’s drunk.) The thing is, it’s not that funny. Drunks can be funny in movies, but when it relies so heavily on it like this it feels more like they are poking fun at drunks rather than sharing their experience with them. The first act feels like it’s totally pointless, sure we get character setup, but we know pretty much everything we need to know about the characters in the first five minutes. Then when the second act starts we’re introduced to even more characters, and then the characters we met in the first act reside to the background until the very end.

The second act is where the real story begins when he starts going to the bank. The story before this just feels random, but it all starts to come together from this point on, and then the third act is amazingly funny and entertaining, it’s weird, I spend the first half of this movie not really liking it very much and then the second half loving it. It also ends with one of the best car chases I’ve seen in any movie, despite being from the 40s and needing to rely on many scenes of rear-screen projection, it has a lot where they took cars of the time period and had stunt drivers chasing each other around in somde pretty good, action-packed sequences.

Why you should watch it before you die: If you like comedies of the time period, definitely check it out, though you might find the first twenty minutes or so to be a little strange, it gets better as it goes along.


+7.5: Pretty good by the end of it

-1: First act feels separate from the plot, or badly paced, or something I’m just not sure of

+1: Great third act

-0.5: doubled up on character introductions when many weren’t even necessary

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