As mentioned in the last film update, films from the ’30s with an heiress are “must-record.” Films about small towns are… fur fashion kryptonite, so to speak, even if they’re also from the ’70s. Sometimes wild, random hunches pay off, as they did in the case of The Great Bank Hoax. Maybe it was 1977 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 Great Bank Hoax‘s plot 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 concocts 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 legitimate. And it has nothing to do with a sub-plot about a lady named Patricia and her desperate need for a loan…
The Great Bank Hoax – The Only Fur
Patricia is played by Constance Forslund, whose filmography is dotted with many 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 white knight hacker, Richard, after a game of bingo and takes him back to her place, 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 it 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 1977, and I was 3, and full-length silver fox coats were something to be shown off, admired, and used as a tool of seduction. Sadly, many of those facts have changed today.
Being that good, honest guy he is, Richard 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.
Mostly because Richard can’t give Patricia the loan she wants, he feels it would be wrong to take advantage. Patricia shows up at the bank the next day, searching for someone to give her a loan, and she ends up with Jack Stutz (Burgess Meredith).
Patricia arrives working not only the full-length silver fox coat but also a cigarette holder.
Sadly, the director of photography for the second sequence kind of let everyone down. Outside of a beautiful 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 in a full-length silver 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 movie 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 the most unlikely places.