The Bank Robbery (film #5 on The Origins of Cinema, Vol. 5: Rare Films (Video Yesteryear, 1997)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Now this is a Western! It almost looks like it could be a home movie of a real Old-West bank robbery. Considering the time period in which it was made, and the fact that it stars real bank robber Al Jennings, it might as well have been. It's very primitive technically––half the time they don't seem to know where to point the camera and they don't even know enough to edit out the shots where the horses relieve themselves––but that just adds to the authenticity. A band of thugs robs a small town bank, leading to an extended manhunt and the inevitable shootout and milling-around festival. The bad guys are eventually hauled out of the Wicheta National Forest and Game Preserve (says so!) and brought back to town to face justice. Not particularly romantic, and there's lots of dirt, but that's probably what the Old West was really like. An Oklahoma Mutoscene Film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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