Friendly Heist

Effectively a thriller, Cash on Demand doesn’t completely divest itself from Hammer’s horror success. Here, it’s not a creature stalking people that elicits a jolt – it’s an innocent window washer. If there’s proof Cash on Demand’s tightly wound, small scale heist works, then it’s the panic over a handyman outside of a bank office.

Composed on three or four plain, even bland indoor studio sets, Cash on Demand asks Peter Cushing and Andre Morell to carry this crime saga. Mostly, it’s just them, locked in a room, trading soft barbs and carrying a superbly drawn drama.

While scenes inside the bank vault give Cash on Demand an action spark, the best work allows the script to breathe

Placed two days before Christmas, Cushing’s obsessive branch manager is staged as a grinch, outright abusive to his staff for the tiniest errors. Cushing stresses over a $10 mistake, willing to fire a loyal employee of 11 years. Insert Andre Morell, and suddenly, that $10 near loss seems insignificant.

In a Dickens-esque way, Cushing’s Scrooge-like, money-focused brute is forced to contend with his own beliefs: The bank is untouchable, a place of purity and right as it exists to sustain an entire nation’s economy. Money over people, until those people are his own.

It’s a fascinating turn, Cushing of course more than capable of swerving from indignant to terrified. Unless he relents to Morell’s plan, Cushing’s family will meet their end. For a while, Cushing fights. Money still matters, as does his own public profile – nothing can mar this bank’s reputation. Morell’s impeccable mind games claw at Cushing’s insecurities, worming into a fallible personality who projects strength and hides anxieties through other’s fear.

While scenes inside the bank vault (Cushing helping to load suitcases with money stacks) give Cash on Demand an action spark, the best work allows the script to breathe. The precision cuts and unwasted screentime (only 80-minutes) gives Cash on Demand a ceaseless adrenaline. It’s not about guns since the one in the bank’s possession is unloaded, rather an original hostage situation involving two dominate men, exerting their force through words alone.

In its closing moments, there’s a sense of healing. Cushing looks fondly at his staff from the bank entrance, still unable to acknowledge his appreciation through words, only a compassionate look. He’s a changed man, not totally, but shaken enough to realize his errors. Reconciliation is coming. Or, he quits, because cash isn’t what he once though it was. The transformation is captivating, and the smart robbery equally so.

Video

Banding, banding, banding. Mill Creek’s transfer – on a disc with two other films – fights in trying to resolve gradients. Each shade is messily separated, the end result causing pastiness in lighter tones. This particularly impacts facial detail, muddying medium shots even with overall range well represented.

A wide gray scale gives Cash on Demand the needed depth. While usually brighter and confined to stage lighting, black levels still stick around. A gun brings the deepest black, and dress suits dig into the richest shadows.

Rarely damaged (a vertical scratch the worst), the source print suffers no significant wear. It’s sharp enough to suggest modern scanning. Where not affected by gradient issues, grain sticks around naturally. There’s no processing applied, and in better, most spacious disc circumstances, Cash on Demand is A class stuff.

Audio

A throbbing bass line emboldens the mono track. It’s unexpectedly rich and bold, even rumbling a little. DTS_HD brings an overall organic quality as allowed by the source recording.

There’s no harm on the soundtrack itself, sporting clarity at the highest end. It’s crisp vintage audio, echoing around the small sets and losing nothing in the transition to Blu-ray.

Extras

Nothing.

Cash on Demand
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

A unique bank heist thriller, Cash on Demand is less about the money than the two men involved including an impeccable Peter Cushing.

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The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 18 Cash on Demand screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 120,000+ already in our library), 120 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, subscribe on Patreon.