THE ALPHA CAPER (INSIDE JOB)
US, 1973, 85 minutes, Colour.
Henry Fonda, Leonard Nimoy, James Mc Eachin, Larry Hagman.
Directed by Robert Michael Lewis.
The Alpha Caper (Inside Job) is a routine crime melodrama made for television. Entertaining in its way, it boasts Henry Fonda as its lead and has good support from Leonard Nimoy and Larry Hagman, It is the type of material very popular on TV series and offers little more.
1. The indications of the title? Which title was more appropriate? An entertaining thriller, telemovie? Bringing the caper genre to the home?
2. How well did the film use the conventions of robbery? The set up, the situation for Mark Forbes and his enforced retirement, the parolees, the planning of the robbery, the authorities, the details of the robbery itself, the exposure? Conventional material, conventionally presented?
3. The colour photography, the television techniques? Locations? The nod in the direction of special effects with Mitch and his work? The special effects for the robbery - especially the emphasis on electronics and explosives?
4. How credible was the plot? Could such a robbery attempt happen? Could People get away with it? Did this matter for the purposes of this thriller?
5. How interesting were the principal characters? Credibly presented? Could the audience identify with them, participate in their robbery? Mark Forbes and his background as a parole officer,' his enforced retirement, the chip on his shoulder? The accident of his encountering Harry Balsam and learning the information about the robbery? His hold over Mitch, Tudor, Skat? His skill in persuading them to participate? His 'elderly father' hold over them? His skill with Lee Saunders? The cool preparations? His manoeuvring the party to get the final instructions together? His masterminding of the robbery and his control? The wisdom in his delay for three months? The irony of his being followed: the tension of his interviews with Saunders? The disaster of being discovered and being imprisoned? The comradeship of the group and their trying to save him? The personality of Mitch and his background of explosives? Skat and his preparation of the plans for the sewers? Tudor and his film work? Lee Saunders as a typical official? The pompous nature of Harlan Moss and the irony of his presenting Forbes with a watch? The contribution of the minor characters?
6. Audience interest in the details of the robbery, the details of the planning, discovering the final route? The tension with the television not working? The irony of it all working out finally? The details of the robbery and the creation of havoc in the street? The irony of the mishap at the end?
7. Particular details e.g. the irony of the funeral near the freeway, the schoolboy nature of the three parolees and their relationship with Forbes? The party and the presentation of the watch?
8. How enjoyable are films like this? Computerised television entertainment? Good examples of accepted genres?