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Man in the Vault (1956)

William Campbell , Karen Sharpe , Andrew V. McLaglen  |  NR |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Campbell, Karen Sharpe, Anita Ekberg, Berry Kroeger, Paul Fix
  • Directors: Andrew V. McLaglen
  • Writers: Burt Kennedy, Frank Gruber
  • Producers: John Wayne, Robert E. Morrison
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BDH6CG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,234 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man in the Vault" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this taut thriller William Campbell stars as a locksmith forced to crack a bank safe deposit box in order to save his girlfriend (Karen Sharpe) from a ruthless mobster (Berry Kroeger). Also stars Anita Ekberg.

A film noir set-up unfolds in the opening minutes of Man in the Vault: while relaxing one night at a bowling alley, a humble locksmith named Tommy Dancer (William Campbell) finds himself dragged into a bank heist plot because of his dexterity with lock-picking. It only takes 72 minutes for Tommy's nightmare to unfold, and yet the storyline seems uncommonly convoluted; rival gangsters are involved, Tommy strikes a volatile match with a slumming Beverly Hills dame (Karen Sharpe), and a moll plays a seemingly extraneous role--not that there's anything wrong with that, when the moll is the young Anita Ekberg. The ultra-cheap production values deflate the effort to put some noir atmosphere into the thing, but the main problem is leading man Campbell, who was a cross between Vince Edwards and a young Tony Curtis, but without the attitude. (He had been in The High and the Mighty--like this film produced by John Wayne's Batjac company--and went on to many TV roles.) Still, there are moments, and director Andrew V. McLaglen tries to work some ingenious visual touches into the mix. Berry Kroeger makes a truly decadent villain, while Batjac regular Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez gives comic relief. The film comes very early in the credits of McLaglen and screenwriter Burt Kennedy, both of whom became associated with Westerns later in their long, fruitful careers. The movie keeps returning to the bowling alley ("Art Linkletter's La Cienaga") thereby setting up one of the strangest scenes of noir menace ever filmed. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a reasonably-good crime thriller September 30, 2007
MAN IN THE VAULT, produced by John Wayne's Batjac production company, is a well-paced and impressively-cast crime thriller, which reunited "High and the Mighty" co-stars William Campbell and Karen Sharpe.

Tommy Dancer (William Campbell) is an unemployed professional locksmith, forced into assisting a daring bank raid, after his girlfriend Betty (Karen Sharpe), a feisty society debutante, is swept up into the plot.

Filled with some great performances, MAN IN THE VAULT is an enjoyable excursion into a shady world of corruption and greed, and never wears out it's brisk 70-minute running time. Both William Campbell and Karen Sharpe are attractive and well-used in the leads; with Anita Ekberg, Paul Fix and Barry Kroeger in strong supporting roles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir Forgotton Classic! October 22, 2014
By Bela
This is a over looked classic! What are some of these reviewers watching? Directed by Burt Kennedy this one has all the things
that made great film noir gangster pictures great! The writing directing is excellent and the acting by some actors you've seen in
many movies and TV make this a good one. The lead actor who I never heard of and kinda looks like a young Cornell Wilde was
not a good choice but he's okay. The story about a guy who's tricked into helping the mob rob a bank and of course falls in love
with one of the girls involved with the gang! The ending is pretty good but no a surprise. It's become one of my favorite film noir
movies and I don't know why except it's just a above average story and made really well. Film Noir fans will love this one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's be kind and call it below par... July 6, 2006
The Man in the Vault is William Campbell, a sort of D-movie hybrid of Cornel Wilde and a much-diluted Robert Mitchum with a quiff the size of a tidal wave. The closest it gets to big names are in the supporting cast, and even then we're only talking about bit parts from Paul Fix, Mike Mazurki, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ("Ay theenk") and Anita Ekberg. The behind the camera credits are slightly more impressive - a script by Burt Kennedy, direction by Andrew V. McLaglen and cinematography by William H. Clothier that shows that his mastery of color was not always matched by the blandness of some of his black and white work.

It's the kind of programmer that DVD boxed sets were made for, something you can't imagine any major studio releasing if they didn't have to pick it up as part of a package with The High and the Mighty and Hondo or anybody buying if it didn't come in a set with Track of the Cat. The Man Who Would Be Mitch is locksmith Tommy Dancer (they knew how to give characters names in those days), forced to break into a mobster's safety deposit box with the usual consequences. It passes the time inoffensively and efficiently enough, but it says something that the most memorable thing about it was the discovery that a restaurant on La Cienaga that I used to pass on my way to work every day used to be a bowling alley.

No extras whatsoever, despite an extract from the trailer featuring on other Batjac titles.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Crime movie February 1, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a good Crime movie starring William Campbell, Karen Sharpe, Paul Fix, Berry Kroeger, Mike Mazurki and Anita Ekberg. This movie is presented in B&W, Full frame formant and runs for about 73mins (1hr 13mins). This might not be the best plot, but Andrew V. McLaglen direction is great! Overall this is a good movie and I would recommend it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No, it isn't so great September 2, 2009
Other reviewers are quite right -- this is sub-par noir. Although one wouldn't want it to linger much further beyond 72 minutes, the character development and plot resolution do seem rushed. In fact, quite a bit of the acting and interacting seems to be ritualistic, like the players are aware that they're making a noir picture, so that they must strike a certain stance or pose in keeping with the genre. Self-conscious noir doesn't work.

I will say that the scenes in the vault itself are pretty tense. The final scenes in the bowling alley are just lame and ill-conceived.

And again, everything gets sewn up in a tidy little package at the end - gangsters knock off other gangsters and get caught by the police. How convenient!

Skip it. Certainly don't buy it.
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