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Studying the British Crime Film$
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Paul Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733742

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733742.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

The Heist

The Heist

(p.53) Chapter Three: The Heist
Studying the British Crime Film

Paul Elliott

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates the British heist film. The heist movie is more than a film about robbery and financial gain; it is a carefully constructed generic type that developed in the late 1950s and evolved from both Hollywood and European cinema. The image of the gentleman crook, the jewel thief, or safe breaker who remain undetected whilst carrying out their crime is an important one in both English and French crime fiction. It was Jules Dassin's 1955 film Du rififi chez les hommes, more succinctly known as Rififi, that set the tone, structure, and aesthetic for the heist thriller and ensured that it would become ‘an international cinematic genre’. Rififi contains the three main narrative stages that will come to typify the heist thriller: the plan, the execution, and the aftermath. These stages, although often varying in length, are present in most, if not all, heist thrillers and not only shape the audiences' expectations but propel the narrative forward. The chapter then looks at Basil Dearden's The League of Gentlemen (1960) and Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast (2000).

Keywords:   British heist film, heist movie, robbery, crime fiction, Rififi, heist thrillers, narrative stages

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