Review: ‘A Prize of Arms’

Stanley Baker's carefully laid scheme for knocking off a $700,000 army payroll seems unnecessarily complicated. This seems to shriek out for mishaps. But Paul Ryder's screenplay [from an original story by Nicolas Roeg and Kevin Kavanagh] is smoothly efficient even though audiences are too often left in the dark about detail. Baker plays an ex-army captain who has been cashiered for Black Market activities in Hamburg. While in the army he has dreamed up a perfect plan for revenge (and to get rich). He has enlisted the help of Helmut Schmid, an explosives expert, and Tom Bell, a daring but edgy young man.

Stanley Baker’s carefully laid scheme for knocking off a $700,000 army payroll seems unnecessarily complicated. This seems to shriek out for mishaps. But Paul Ryder’s screenplay [from an original story by Nicolas Roeg and Kevin Kavanagh] is smoothly efficient even though audiences are too often left in the dark about detail. Baker plays an ex-army captain who has been cashiered for Black Market activities in Hamburg. While in the army he has dreamed up a perfect plan for revenge (and to get rich). He has enlisted the help of Helmut Schmid, an explosives expert, and Tom Bell, a daring but edgy young man.

Baker learns that an army is preparing to go abroad at the time of the Suez crisis. He realizes that when troops are on the move abroad they have to take money with them. The trio plan to hijack the dough while the forces are moving towards the docks.

Baker, Schmid and Bell play the three leads confidently, with Baker particularly on the ball in the type of harsh tough part that he plays so often and so well. But the thesping of the three stars is given greater impact by the strength of a long list of character and feature actors as officers, other ranks, detectives, etc.

A Prize of Arms

UK

Production

RLC/British Lion. Director Cliff Owen; Producer George Maynard; Screenplay Paul Ryder; Camera Gilbert Taylor, Gerald Gibbs; Editor John Jympson; Music Robert Sharples; Art Director Jim Morahan, Bernard Sarron

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Stanley Baker Helmut Schmid Tom Bell Tom Adams Anthony Bate
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