Man in the Vault (1956)

72-73 mins | Drama | December 1956

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Lock and the Key . Man in the Vault marked the first independent production by director Andrew V. McLaglen, son of actor Victor McLaglen, and producer Robert E. Morrison, brother of John Wayne, co-owner of Batjac Productions. According to a 26 Mar 1955 LAT article and the HR production charts, Lori Nelson was originally cast as "Betty Turner." As noted in a Feb 1956 HR news item, RKO took over worldwide distribution of the completed film. Although HR production charts list Denver Pyle in the cast, he did not appear in the final film. As mentioned in the Var review, the lighting in the film is extremely ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Lock and the Key . Man in the Vault marked the first independent production by director Andrew V. McLaglen, son of actor Victor McLaglen, and producer Robert E. Morrison, brother of John Wayne, co-owner of Batjac Productions. According to a 26 Mar 1955 LAT article and the HR production charts, Lori Nelson was originally cast as "Betty Turner." As noted in a Feb 1956 HR news item, RKO took over worldwide distribution of the completed film. Although HR production charts list Denver Pyle in the cast, he did not appear in the final film. As mentioned in the Var review, the lighting in the film is extremely dark. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Dec 1956.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1955.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Dec 56
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1955
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1955
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1956
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 56
p. 4.
Los Angeles Examiner
25 Mar 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Jan 57
p. 209.
Variety
26 Dec 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
Supv film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Asst to the prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Lock and the Key by Frank Gruber (New York, 1948).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Let the Chips Fall Where They May," words and music by By Dunham and Henry Vars.
COMPOSERS
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Lock and the Key
Release Date:
December 1956
Production Date:
began 6 Aprilil 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Batjac Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP7325
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
72-73
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17525
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, racketeer Willis Trent is conspiring to rob the safe-deposit box of his former cohort, successful but corrupt businessman Paul De Camp. Trent has secretly engaged De Camp’s lawyer, Earl Farraday, to seduce the businessman’s girl friend, Flo Randall, into revealing the number of the box. Trent now instructs his thug, Herbie, to find an expert locksmith to pick the box’s lock, and in response Herbie brings him the name of Tommy Dancer. Trent watches Tommy at his bowling-alley hangout and later offers the young man cash to open a locked footlocker. They drive to Trent’s house, where a party is underway. After Tommy easily opens the locker, Trent encourages him to join the party, and Tommy is immediately intrigued by Earl’s girl friend, Betty Turner. When Betty spots Earl with Flo and urges him to leave, Earl roughly informs her that he is “doing business,” and she leaves in tears, followed by Tommy. Tommy’s initial attempts to soothe Betty are met with disdain, but she soon relents and asks him to drive her “anywhere.” He brings her to his apartment, but as soon as he tries to kiss her, Betty slaps him and rushes out. In the morning, Trent appears at Tommy’s apartment with his henchman, Louie, a former boxer, and offers Tommy $5,000 to open De Camp’s box. Although this is more money than Tommy makes in a year, he turns down the proposal. Noting with pleasure that Betty left her stole on his couch, Tommy returns it to her. Again, she receives him coolly but then backs down, speculating that neither of them is as tough as he or she pretends to be. Meanwhile, ... +


In Los Angeles, racketeer Willis Trent is conspiring to rob the safe-deposit box of his former cohort, successful but corrupt businessman Paul De Camp. Trent has secretly engaged De Camp’s lawyer, Earl Farraday, to seduce the businessman’s girl friend, Flo Randall, into revealing the number of the box. Trent now instructs his thug, Herbie, to find an expert locksmith to pick the box’s lock, and in response Herbie brings him the name of Tommy Dancer. Trent watches Tommy at his bowling-alley hangout and later offers the young man cash to open a locked footlocker. They drive to Trent’s house, where a party is underway. After Tommy easily opens the locker, Trent encourages him to join the party, and Tommy is immediately intrigued by Earl’s girl friend, Betty Turner. When Betty spots Earl with Flo and urges him to leave, Earl roughly informs her that he is “doing business,” and she leaves in tears, followed by Tommy. Tommy’s initial attempts to soothe Betty are met with disdain, but she soon relents and asks him to drive her “anywhere.” He brings her to his apartment, but as soon as he tries to kiss her, Betty slaps him and rushes out. In the morning, Trent appears at Tommy’s apartment with his henchman, Louie, a former boxer, and offers Tommy $5,000 to open De Camp’s box. Although this is more money than Tommy makes in a year, he turns down the proposal. Noting with pleasure that Betty left her stole on his couch, Tommy returns it to her. Again, she receives him coolly but then backs down, speculating that neither of them is as tough as he or she pretends to be. Meanwhile, De Camp catches Trent at Earl’s office and warns Trent that although they may have started out together, De Camp is no longer “in the gutter.” Later, Betty calls Tommy at work and asks him out. That evening, they drive to the Hollywood Bowl, where Betty reveals that she is the daughter of wealthy parents who disapprove of her but pay her bills. Though worried that he can never provide enough for her, Tommy admits that he is falling in love, and they kiss. Back at their respective homes, Tommy is jumped and beaten by Louie, while Betty is assaulted by Earl, who discloses his partnership with Trent. Tommy confronts Trent and punches him, but the racketeer threatens to disfigure Betty if Tommy does not acquiesce. With no other choice, Tommy rents a box at the bank and, when the teller’s back is turned, manages to make an impression of the lock on De Camp’s box. The next day, Herbie surreptitiously suggests to Tommy that they steal the $200,000 in De Camp’s box and split the profit, but Tommy rejects the offer. When he delivers the key to Trent’s, however, he sees Betty there with Earl. Not realizing that Betty is there to beg Trent to leave Tommy out of his double-dealings, Tommy assumes Betty is dating Earl again. Remembering his boss’s excitement at making a mere $200, and Betty’s desire for a rich boyfriend, Tommy impulsively decides to rob the box himself and keep the money. After doing so, he stashes the cash in a locker in the bowling alley, not realizing that in the meantime, De Camp has discovered that he has been robbed and forced Flo to admit the scheme to him. Betty finds Tommy packing to leave town, and soon convinces him that she loves him and wanted only to save him. Together they devise a plan to return the money to the bank, but Trent shows up at the apartment and overhears them. Trent has Louie beat up Tommy, then abducts Betty, warning Tommy they will kill her in one hour unless he delivers the money to them. When Tommy goes to the bowling alley to retrieve the money, De Camp finds him there and attacks. Tommy ducks into the area behind the pins, prompting De Camp to roll balls down the lanes in order to flush him out. Narrowly averting the alley machinery, Tommy manages to set off the alarm and race to Trent’s. While the police capture De Camp, Tommy spots an ambulance in front of Trent’s and fears for Betty’s life. The dead body, however, is Trent’s, killed earlier by De Camp. Betty and Tommy embrace, then face the police together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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