Film: 5197

Feature Drama | 1960 | Sound | B/W


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Insurance and security for business, done as a drama about burglars planning to rob a warehouse. Great stuff ! 1960's

A thick set criminal-looking type sits in an open top convertible car, radio on. He flicks through a pornographic magazine. He smiles. A man carrying a suitcase passes. 'Ello Pops', says the man in the car. The other man (his father) looks round. They chat and the man with suitcase gets into the MG car. They drive off, the camera pans round to reveal the entrance to a prison (probably Wormwood Scrubs), the Father has just been released.
The young man and the father enter a flat, Mother (played by Dandy Nichols) runs and hugs Dad in the hallway. The son sits reading 'Harpers And Queen' magazine on the sofa in the lounge, he calls through, Mum and Dad walk in. Son reads from society pages that Lord so and so is going on holiday, so an excellent opportunity has arisen for a burglary, father is more sensible and tells his son about the locks they will have, son decides to go for a drive and leaves, Mum and Dad then discuss their son's new car, Mum says he is working 'up west' in strip clubs and clip joints, Dad says he is giving crime a bad name.
Newspaper stand with headline 'Dock Strike'. Three men walk into a public house next to it. Inside a man reads a newspaper. The three men who are dockers go to the bar and discuss goods at the dock or warehouse. Newspaper man listens. Yawning barmaid (and an old maid at that) comes to the bar. Dockers continue conversation, newspaper man leaves, obviously a criminal type, he leaves his newspaper on the table.
Back at the flat, Mum opens door to newspaper man, who is called Bert and another, they go into the living room where Dad is on the telephone and criminal types are gathered. Dad gets off the phone, they plan to rob the warehouse of radios. The son is given fake papers to work there and check out the locks and so on, dad tells him to see if they have a Mutual Security Scheme, he gives him a camera and he leaves, dad goes over to the others and they look at a map and discuss arrangements; son comes back in, he's has doubts about his papers, Dad tells him to get down there and 'act natural'.
London Underground sign, son leaves Wapping Station. He heads towards a warehouse. Exteriors of East End warehouse buildings, son takes photographs.
Back to the flat where Dad is still discussing disposing of the loot. Son takes more photos then enters the building. Film cuts between son and Dad and villains talking. Son walks down a messy corridor shiftily, he inspects a key in a lock and enters through a door. He walks the length of the warehouse and looks at the big entrance doors and the padlock, passing train heard on the soundtrack. He goes back along the corridor and looks into a room, a cleaning woman is scrubbing the floor, he looks at the ceiling window or skylight, the cleaning woman turns round and shocked, says 'Ooh you did give me a start'. The youth turns to leave but two executive boss type men appear, one asks the lad what he is doing there. They discuss the possibility of a job, son is told to wait downstairs. Boss, Mr Craig, walks into the room, bumps into the cleaning lady. The other man, who is quite old and works for an insurance company, Mr Frampton, is inspecting the skylight, tells the manager it's no good, he also says the lock on the door is no good, boss asks him to show him, he shuts the door, the other man, who is obviously some security expert, opens it easily.. The son leaves, door says 'Gun Wharf', he walks off, a van pulls up. Back inside the security man says the lock (on the door inspected by the son) is inadequate and the skylight should have iron bars. The boy, outside talks to the van drivers, probably trying to convince them he works there. Back indoors Craig and Frampton are now in the warehouse the son was in earlier, the old man says people should consult their insurance company and check where thieves would enter and exit. The large door needs need better padlocks. Outside the boy is helping the van driver to bring in some furniture. They carry it along a corridor past the boss and the insurance expert, he mentions security measures and the young thief looks worried.
Back at the house the young man gives a slide show of the photos he took earlier in the smoky darkened living room to the assembled crims. He points out details. Series of slides of doors projected onto a screen. He puts in another slide. Slide of door and drainpipe. He says all you have to do is climb up it. He concludes and turns the light back on revealing lounging lags. They discuss the robbery. Young man looks at one of the thieves' lock picking equipment. They discuss the insurance man, father crim holds a pint of beer, he is not worried about the insurance man. He holds forth for a bit.
The insurance man, Mr Frampton, sits at a desk speaking into a dictaphone or tape recorder, his recommendations. They must be done immediately!
At the warehouse, hand unplugs kettle. Young crim walks down the corridor smoking, a man with a briefcase passes and goes into an office. The lad kneels and listens at the door. He lingers in the corridor as the man leaves. He then goes into the office and offers the man inside, Mr Head, a cup of tea, he is holding a wad of cash and there is an open safe behind him. He locks the safe and says he wants two sugars in his tea. The lad leaves.
Interior of insurance company office, Mr. Frampton and another oldish man, his boss, sit at a desk and discuss the warehouse security. They will give it cover despite the security problems. Older man gets up says 'Thanks sir'.
Warehouse - boys takes in tea to the office and puts it on the desk. He looks up at the skylight, obviously checking it out, Mr Head notices. The boy deflects attention away from this by saying weather looks nice and he is taking a girl out at the weekend on a punt, 'with an awning'. (This is quite comical). He leaves with the tray.
Warehouse boss, Mr Craig, seated at desk dictates a letter about the insurance at the Chestnut Street warehouse. Secretary takes shorthand. He then tells her to arrange to send someone there to do the improvements.
Father and son stand by the river entrance to St. Katherine's Dock discussing when to do the robbery. Son thinks right away, Dad thinks it's too soon. They part, Dad walks off past warehouses (now gone - site of current (2004) Tower Hotel).
Warehouse, the insurance inspector is in the corridor, he fiddles with a lock unhappily. He enters the room with the safe and says hello to the man within who looks after it, Mr Head. He asks him to telephone Mr Craig, the boss. He is not satisfied. Mr Head passes the receiver over. Insurance man talks to Craig about how nothing has been done and the warehouse is 'Wide Open'. Craig, audible on the other end, says nothing he can do at the moment. Frampton, says there is maybe something he can do. The young lad comes in with tea, he offers to make Frampton a cup and leaves. Frampton asks Head for the office keys. He gives him the safe keys by mistake. Frampton is amazed by this, says he could open the desk drawer where they are kept with a 'winkle pin'.
The robbers' house, son with map on a blackboard of the warehouse street behind him tells assembled crooks they should go tonight. One of the others says they need more time to case the place out. Dad gets up, says they are going tonight. He talks about the night watchman and points to the map. They discuss his routine.
Nightime, exterior of the warehouse, Mr Frampton arrives with a workman.
Robbers again, one of them writes train times on the blackboard and discusses with Dad criminal the noise they will make as its useful for cover. Dad thinks they will have loads of time to carry it out. He talks to Bert who will be a tramp with a walkie talkie and act as lookout with a special code. Another is not worried about the skylight as he is 'the cat'.
Warehouse at night. A man peers from behind a door. 'The Cat' walks up with some rope. He shimmies up the drainpipe and climbs onto the flat roof. He pulls up a big cutter on the end of his rope. He approaches the skylight, he tries to force it with a jemmy but it won't budge. He gets out a torch and shines it through. There is a new padlock attached. He runs back along the roof and climbs down to the road. He meets Dad crim and his son in motorcycle gear. The Cat says it will not budge, Dad says to force it when a train passes. 'That insurance geezer nearly messed us up', Dad says, and tells son to park the bike and to look out for the nightwatchman. Silhouette of the watchman at the window playing darts. Interior of his office, he plays darts. Steam train 45238 passes slowly. Railway signals, it stops. Father and son listen. The Cat, now back on the roof prepares with train noise as cover. Tension building montage of The Cat, watchman, father and son and Bert the tramp. The robbers' van arrives. Dan and son help to push it to the warehouse. Dad tells the driver there has been a hold up. They all get in the van. The night watchman in his room turns off his radio. The train starts to pull away making lots of noise, The Cat smashes the skylight. Nightwatchman, oblivious sits down with a cup of tea. The Cat drops down through the skylight. He creeps through the darkened building and through the warehouse. Dad waits outside the warehouse door, the Cat, says he won't be a jiffy. He tries to cut the padlock while the van is moved into place. He cuts the padlock and starts to open the doors which are very noisy. Brief discussion among robbers about this. They will have to wait for the next train even though this is ten minutes before the watchman comes round. They blame the son. The sound of a train approaching, now's the time! The door opens a bit under the cover of the train noise but jams. They decide to load up anyway. They form a chain. A police car approaches slowly. Bert the 'tramp' sees it and taps out a code on his walkie talkie. The robbers pile into the van. Bert follows the car and as it drives away signals 'all clear'. The robbers then start loading up boxes again forming a chain. Cut back to the watchman preparing to leave, puts on his coat. Dad says 'enough' and they prepare to get back in the van. Watchman gets his torch. Son slaps the back of the van and it drives off. He then runs back in with a jemmy. He runs into the office, he forces Haig's desk open but cannot find the key to the safe. Suddenly the nightwatchman enters and turns on the light, there is now an exciting standoff as they circle each other, the son brandishing his jemmy. The watchman says 'That could kill me, you'd be up for murder' then slams a table into the son, winds him and hits him, he collapses. Fade to black.
The next morning. Haig, Craig and another man, possibly a policeman survey the damage in the office. They discuss the poor security and employing the son during the dock strike, the policeman berates them. Then a workman appears to do the security work. 'Too late chum' the copper says, 'the horse has bolted!' and points up to the broken skylight.

The End

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