As mentioned in the last film update, films from the 30’s with an heiress are “must-record”. Films about small towns are… fur fashion kryptonite, so to speak, even if they’re also from the 70’s. Sometimes wild, random hunches pay off, as they did in the case of The Great Bank Hoax. Maybe it was the 1978 glowing in the program guide that suggested that, yes, there was promise here. Expecting five minutes lost to a pointless fast-forward, what I found was a most pleasant surprise.
The Great Bank Hoax – The Film
The plot of the The Great Bank Hoax is virtually immaterial to why it ended up on this site. It’s about 2 officers at a small town bank, Burgess Meredith and Richard Basehart (miss ya, Gypsy), who concoct a scheme to defraud their own bank by way of a teller’s “test” embezzlement. The teller, Richard Smedley (Paul Sand), had done it to prove it could be done and give the money back, but his bosses realize there’s even more money to be made if the embezzlement appears to be quite real. This has nothing to do with the minor sub-plot at the beginning of the film with a lady named Patricia and her desperate need for a loan…
The Great Bank Hoax – The Fur
Patricia is played by Constance Forslund, whose filmography is dotted with a lot of TV guest roles between the odd film. She was on 2 different episodes of CHiPs! Patricia meets up with the 70’s small town bank teller equivalent of a a white knight hacker, Richard, after a game of bingo and takes him back to her place, where…
Where she puts on her full length silver fox fur coat and attempts to seduce him into giving her a loan. Yes, this is an example of the “seduction in fur” cinematic cliché. Granted, I’m not sure how much of a cliché it is, after all, I’d think it would have to happen a lot more often to reach that status. I’d love it if happened a lot more. Patricia’s lovely, large, silver fox is the only fur in the film, but it gets its cinematic due and is used oh so effectively.
Patricia shows off her coat to Richard. This was 1978, and I was 3, and full length silver fox coats were something to be shown off, admired, and used as tool of seduction. Sadly, many of those facts have changed today.
Richard, being that good, honest guy he is, takes a few minutes to catch on.
Though, at a certain point, even he catches the clue train. Right about the time Patricia and her big silver fox fur coat are on top of him, then underneath him, and in generally very close proximity.
As we enjoy a close up of a rejected Constance Forslund laying on the floor in her fur, now would probably be an appropriate time to point out the movie is a family friendly PG comedy. So, get your dirty minds out of the gutter, nothing actually happens.
Not the least of which is because Richard can’t give Patricia the loan she wants, so he feels it would be wrong to take advantage. Patricia shows up at the bank the next day, searching for someone who can give her a loan. She ends up with Jack Stutz (Burgess Meredith).
Patricia arrives working not only the big full length silver fox coat, but a cigarette holder as well.
Sadly, the director of photography for second sequence kind of let everyone down. Outside of a wonderful intro shot as she enters the bank and the camera pans up from her heels over the fur, to her face, the rest of the sequence doesn’t showcase the fur or the holder very well.
Yes, I can find something to complain out in a movie where a blonde vamps it up in a full length sliver fox fur and a cigarette holder. I suppose had been editing the film, the director would have called me in and asked why they never saw Burgess Meredith once in the entire sequence, and lingered on b-roll of Constance smoking with the holder.
Patricia and her attempts to seduce her way to bank loan liquidity are confined to the top of the film, and once she’s gone, there’s no more fur. Still, any film that indulges the fur seduction mystique then tosses in a cigarette holder for good measure is worth some time. Goes to show that sometimes good furs will show up in most unlikely of places.