Cash on Demand (1961) Quentin Lawrence

  

An effective little psychological thriller from England’s Hammer Studios that keeps you on edge for its entire 80 minutes in length. Peter Cushing is a Scrooge like manager at a local bank. Two days before Christmas a man posing as an insurance investigator (Andre Morell) enters with plans to rob the bank while his partners are holding Cushing’s wife and son hostage. Whether intentional or not the screenwriters have given us a unique twist on Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” including an ending that pleads for the line “God bless us everyone.”  Peter Cushing would have made a superb Scrooge as he proves here, bullying his staff unmercifully over one petty matter after another. Andre Morell is perfectly hateful as the arrogant bank robber.

The film reunites Peter Cushing and Andre Morell who were superb together, as Sherlock Holmes and Watson, just a few years earlier in Hammer’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”  “Cash on Demand” is the kind of small film that just would not get made today. There are no special effects or flashy moments. It is simply an unadulterated caper film with good writing and solid story telling that demands your attention. Hammer Studio’s was mostly known for its horror films, however they did make a few psychological thrillers in the early 1960’s (Scream of Fear, Stop Me, Before I Kill) that are worthy of being better known today that they are.

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3 comments on “Cash on Demand (1961) Quentin Lawrence

  1. John, I felt the same way about Cushing’s scroogeness when I saw the film, while Morell would probably have made a good Ghost of Christmas Present. His crook has some of that character’s bullying superiority, if it isn’t sacrilege to say so. He even more than Cushing, I think, makes this a Dickensian story fit for the season.

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  2. Sam Juliano says:

    Excellent capsule framing here John of that rare non-horror Hammer, that features the multi-purpose Peter Cushing, and actor who I believe could play any kind of role. The fact that he became typecast speaks more of his talent than his limitations. I grew up with teh Hammer films, and Cushing was one of my idols. Of course fo rme the role of his I admired most was as Van Helsing.

    Another year gone by and 24 FRAMES remains an essential stop for every serious cineaste and those with a veteran, nostalgic bent. I wish you and your wife John the best of all holiday seasons, and here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2011!

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