Monday, April 15, 2013


Hold-Up; crime comedy, Canada/ France, 1985, D: Alexandre Arcady, S: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Kim Cattrall, Guy Marchand, Jean-Pierre Marielle

Crook Grimm and his friend Georges stumble upon their dreadful acquaintance, Lasky, who suspects they are planning something in Montreal. Grimm and Georges manage to escape from him and soon go on to apply their plan of robbing a bank: dressed as a clown, Grimm manages to steal over 2 million $ and escape with Georges and accomplice Lise since all three disguise themselves as hostages. However, getting to the airport is equally of a challenge, because they again stumble upon Lasky while a taxi driver suspects they are robbers. They manage to get to the airport, but are too late to get on the plane with Lise to Paris.

Based on the novel by the brilliant Jay Cronley, Arcady's heist comedy "Hold-Up" is a good film, but its flaws get more apparent when one compares it with the same film that avoided them, Franklin-Murray's "Quick Change" made five years later, a rare remake that outranked the original. While Jean-Paul Belmondo "clowned" too much while disguised as a clown during the bank robbery sequence, Murray had absolute comic authority and avoided sinking into silly territory; "Hold-Up" already showed the "disguise" trick to the audience at the beginning, whereas "Quick Change" made it more interesting by revealing the "twist" only after the trio left the bank with the cash; "Quick Change" had a more versatile, better executed theme that it is easier to rob a bank than to get to an airport in time in a huge city, whereas the three robbers in "Hold-Up" get to the airport fairly quickly, after only three incidents, including an unnecessary subplot involving clumsy character Lasky, who was sacked in the '90 film. Only Jean-Pierre Marielle managed to outshine even the legendary J. Robards in the brilliantly, down to a T performed supporting role of Inspector Labrosse that is a joy to watch from start to finish, delivering a small comic gem. However, despite some heavy handed executions, even Arcady's version is clever and funny, managing to give a worthy viewing experience.


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