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Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Film Buff 2: Afghanistan Banana Stand

Ever have one of those heists?

In 1972's The Hot Rock, Robert Redford steals a very slippery diamond - a couple of times.
Just out of prison, Dortmunder (Redford) is approached to steal a priceless diamond on behalf of an African dignitary. He assembles his team: an explosives expert (Paul Sand), a driver (Ron Leibman), and . . . his brother-in-law (George Segal). Without giving too many of the plot points away, let's just say that things don't go smoothly, so he has to steal the diamond again . . . and again.

I'm really surprised that more people don't know this movie. Directed by Peter Yates (Bullitt) with a script by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) adapted from Donald E. Westlake's novel, The Hot Rock has a lot going for it: suspense, comedy, and enough little surprises around each corner to keep you guessing how it's all going to end. There's also an amazing score by Quincy Jones, who was so impressed with his musicians that he asked that they be listed individually in the end credits. (They were, and they deserved it.)
I definitely think you should add this film to your viewing list, if for no other reason than to get to the bottom of the phrase: "Afghanistan Banana Stand."
Oh, one more thing: about an hour into the movie there is some great footage of the World Trade Center towers under construction. Not an important plot element, but an interesting bit of nostalgia.

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