Eight on the Lam

Eight on the Lam.
Hope Enterprises 1967

Before watching the movie:

I keep thinking of this as a large-cast bank heist movie and it isn’t. That’s probably because I keep connecting it to Bank Shot, and it doesn’t really have much in common with that movie.

The cast is pretty exciting though. Hope, Winters, and Diller all together might be an interesting mixture.

After watching the movie:

Henry Dimsdale is a teller in a bank supporting seven children alone, except for his babysitter Golda, and to a small extent his girlfriend, who is a teacher at the younger ones’ school. He barely has enough money to keep everyone fed and clothed, and then on a trip to the store he literally stumbles across a money clip filled with 10 thousand dollar bills. Despite everyone in his family telling him to keep it, he waits two weeks to hear that someone is looking for a missing ten thousand dollars before spending it on his family and an engagement ring. That night, Henry’s boss Mr. Pomeroy discovers that the bank is $50,000 short and reports that Henry’s books have a $50,000 discrepancy. Henry is suddenly taking his whole family on the run to buy time to prove his innocence, and Golda is doing her best to slow down her detective boyfriend’s pursuit of the Dimsdales.

For how much focus he gets next to the rest of the cast, I’d call this a Bob Hope vehicle, but he’s actually pretty subdued. Aside from one or two sequences, he’s the straight man of the movie. The third-act moments he gets to let loose a little are some of the most memorable parts of the movie, including his impersonation of a mustachioed rhinestone cowboy.

A lot of the comedy however, is carried by Winters and Diller through their misadventures on the chase. I don’t know how they managed to stay a couple through weeks of her openly trying to thwart his investigation, but it provides a lot of physical comedy. The climactic chase is as overdone as most climactic chases of the era, but the earlier slowest car chase in the world is very fun even before Golda gets out and runs ahead. Meanwhile the kids are mostly there as a comedy prop, but about half of them get good characterization.

This movie handles a large cast pretty well, especially juggling three comedians. Overall it’s probably nothing special, aside from seeing Bob Hope grow a beard and mustache, but it’s a fun little romp, and that’s all it needs to be.

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