This is a very entertaining cat and mouse thriller starring Christopher Plummer, Elliot Gould and Susannah York.
Elliot Gould is a bank clerk working in a busy mall. It is Christmas time and the mall stores are making big cash deposits. Gould notices the same Santa always seems to show up outside the bank when the large stores are making a deposit. Gould figures the man is casing the place for a possible robbery.
The gears start grinding as he decides to take advantage of the situation if it happens. Gould takes several large deposits and hides them in his briefcase. Sure enough, the Santa, Christopher Plummer, shows and shoves a note at Gould. Gould hands over 3-4 grand. Plummer knows there should be more and produces a gun. Gould hits the alarm and the guard and Plummer exchange a few rounds. Plummer then beats the feet out of the mall.
Gould, the guard and fellow clerk, Susannah York, are taken to the police station for a look at some mug books. Gould sees Plummer among the photos but says nothing. He returns to the bank and grabs his case with the $50,000.
The next day, Gould and his fellow employees are interviewed on television. Needless to say our man Plummer is sitting in front of the tube watching. He knows Gould beat him out of his big score and he intends to get it.
Gould takes the cash and puts it in a safety deposit box under a false name.
That night, he gets a phone call from Plummer demanding the cash. Gould hangs up. He was not expecting this curve. Plummer calls again and says he is watching him right at the moment. Gould looks out and sees Plummer at the phone booth outside the apt. "I want my money or it won't go good for you." Plummer growls.
Gould says OK and tells Plummer to come up. Gould then leaves down the back way. When he sees Plummer inside, he phones from the booth. Plummer answers, "Go **** yourself!" Gould tells Plummer.
Plummer roars down the stairs to put the grab on Gould. When he can't find him, he heads home. Gould comes out of the shadows and follows. He sees where Plummer lives. He starts home when he has a flash. There is a delivery van dropping off fresh veggies etc. Gould jumps in the running van while the driver is in the store. Gould takes the van over to Plummer's place and parks it. He then makes an anonymous call to the Police about a man with a gun and a stolen van.
The Police swoop in and gobble up Plummer. The next day, Gould, York and the guard, Sean Sullivan, are called in for a line-up. It seems Plummer has form as a bank hold-up man. Again Gould does not identify him. Plummer does however go away for 6 months on the van charge and some outstanding warrants. Problem solved.
While all this is going on, Gould has been chasing York for a little horizontal mambo. York however is involved with the bank manager.
A few months go by and Gould meets and quickly beds Celine Lomez. This is great till Lomez asks him about the cash. Lomez is Plummer's girl and was sent to get the cash or the info on its location. Gould makes a deal with Lomez for a split that leaves Plummer out. Lomez tells Gould that Plummer is a very nasty fellow and will kill him over the cash. Gould says Plummer is still in jail.
Plummer now gets out on an early release. He has a talk with Lomez about Gould and the cash. He realizes that Lomez has switched teams. Plummer decapitates her, then, leaves her head in Gould's fish tank and her body on the apartment floor.
Gould discovers the body parts and is needless to say rattled. The phone rings and it is Plummer. "Do I have your attention now?" Gould agrees to hand over the cash. 'You have to meet me at the bank and I'll hand it over' Plummer agrees. Now Gould wraps up Lomez's remains. He dumps them in the foundations of a new bank building that is pouring concrete the next day.
Gould is at the bank the next day when Plummer comes for the cash. This time Plummer is dressed as a woman. Gould hands over a paper bag and tells Plummer everything is there. Plummer smiles. Then as he turns away, Gould throws up his hands and yells "No don't shoot me!" Everyone in the bank looks at Plummer. Plummer yanks his gun out to silence Gould. He gets off one round before the bank guard plugs him several times. Plummer staggers out of the bank, then drops dead on the escalator.
A wounded Gould is taken to the hospital. Needless to say he never handed over the cash.
This is a much better film than I make it sound. There is plenty of suspense and some great twists.
The screenplay is by Curtis (L. A. Confidential) Hanson and is based on the novel, THINK OF A NUMBER by Anders Bodelsen.
The director was Daryl Dukes. His films include TAI-PAN and PAYDAY. PAYDAY is my favourite Rip Torn film.
The D of P was Billy Williams. His work included, WIND AND THE LION, GANDHI and ON GOLDEN POND