GUNS, GIRLS AND GANGSTERS. United Artists, 1959. Mamie Van Doren, Gerald Mohr, Lee Van Cleef, Grant Richards, Elaine Edwards, John Baer, Paul Fix. Director: Edward L. Cahn. Currently streaming on YouTube (see below).

   A heist movie, and everyone reading this knows exactly how heist movies, go, if not having possible scripts already in mind and ready to go, if only someone would come along and offer you the money to start filming it tomorrow. In this one, Gerald Mohr’s character has just been released from prison and has a armored car hijacking all figured out.

   He hooks up with a night club owner (Grant Richards) who could use a sizable cut of the loot (somewhere in the two million range) to help finance the robbery. Working for Richards is a singer (Mamie Van Doren) who, as it happens, is/was (I’m not clear on this point) married to Mohr’s cellmate (Lee Van Cleef), who is still in prison.

   I won’t go into how the heist goes wrong, but the movie certainly picks up its rather slow and sluggish pace when Van Cleef breaks out of prison, even with only a few months before he is due for a parole. Livens the movie right up, it does.

   Unfortunately, while Gerald Mohr had a great tough-sounding voice for radio (Philip Marlowe), he has been rather stiff in any of the movies I’ve ever seen him in. Mamie Van Doren is always easy to look at, but in this movie her voice is harsh and bitter-sounding. Lee Van Cleef’s eyes brighten up with glee whenever he can do some damage to whatever the plot is that he’s walked in on, and he walks away with full acting honors in this otherwise lackluster black-and-white crime film.