Christmas is going to come early for Batman fans, because Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is releasing a prologue, the first six minutes of the movie, to appear before IMAX screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. It reminded me of the prologue for The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger's Joker robbing Gotham National Bank, which we saw in December 2007 before I Am Legend.
Quite apart from the Batman angle, that was one slick bank robbery. So, in the spirit of whetting our appetites for whatever is to come, I thought a survey of some favorite cinematic heists was in order. In no particular order…
The Adrianas Job, Beverly Hills Cop II
It started with a soft urgent percussion setting the tempo as the stars circled
the Paramount logo. We didn’t need the smoggy establishing shot or the text on the screen to tell us this was Beverly Hills, California; the sleek limo depositing an impeccably chic blonde at the door of a posh jewelry store told us where we were, and the gun she pressed to the doorman’s temple told us what was happening.
The tension built as we saw a security camera’s black-and-white view of a man in sunglasses foaming over its lens. It was a little more than one minute of film time between Karla Fry’s first cry for customers and staff to “Eat the floor” and her crew’s escape with untold thousands in jewelry, but what made the heist seem so fast-moving and well-executed was Fry’s countdown from the two minute mark on her stopwatch: “1:45,” “1:00 minute,” “30 seconds,” as her cohorts smashed cases and loaded jewels into sacks by the handful.
Remember, though, however impressive the Alphabet Bandit’s first crime might have seemed to those of us watching, the man behind the scenes declared that “Adriana’s was not perfect. It was perfectly planned. But it was executed with Neolithic incompetence.”
So remember kids, to make your jewelry store robberies seem slicker than they actually are: limo, leggy blonde that reeks of money and status, “Eat the floor,” stop watch countdown, and it helps if you set the whole thing to Faltermeyer’s “Bad Guys,” although so many people think the music was “Duke Arrives/The Barricade” from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, that might work just as well.
The Monet in The Thomas Crown Affair