» » The Silent Partner (1978)

The Silent Partner (1978) HD online

The Silent Partner (1978) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama / Crime / Thriller
Original Title: The Silent Partner
Director: Daryl Duke
Writers: Curtis Hanson,Anders Bodelsen
Released: 1978
Budget: CAD 2,500,000
Duration: 1h 46min
Video type: Movie
A bank teller is held up at gun point in his bank. Luckily for him he receives a clue that this is going to occur and diverts most of the cash into his own safety deposit box, leaving only a nominal amount for the crook. The ruse works well, but for the fact that the crook resents the fact that he has been outsmarted. There ensues a terrific battle of wits involving the clever but basically "moral" teller, and the cunning and totally uninhibited bank robber, which involves several other people in ways which cannot be revealed here.


Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould Elliott Gould - Miles Cullen
Christopher Plummer Christopher Plummer - Reikle
Susannah York Susannah York - Julie
Céline Lomez Céline Lomez - Elaine
Michael Kirby Michael Kirby - Charles Packard
Sean Sullivan Sean Sullivan - Bank Guard
Ken Pogue Ken Pogue - Detective Willard
John Candy John Candy - Simonsen
Gail Dahms-Bonine Gail Dahms-Bonine - Louise (as Gail Dahms)
Micheal Donaghue Micheal Donaghue - Berg
Jack Duffy Jack Duffy - Fogelman
Nancy Simmonds Nancy Simmonds - Girl in Sauna
Nuala Fitzgerald Nuala Fitzgerald - Safety Deposit Box Woman
Guy Sanvido Guy Sanvido - Locksmith
Charlotte Blunt Charlotte Blunt - Mrs. Packard

The only ever dramatic theatrical feature film to be scored by Jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson.

One of the first Canadian films to be developed and financed by the Canadian government's "Capital Cost Allowance" program, controversial for being a tax shelter scheme.

The main location for this movie, shown in the opening shot, is the Toronto Eaton Centre. It was built shortly before the movie was shot.

Thriller writer Curtis Hanson's first successful suspense movie. Hanson would go on to write and/or direct such thrillers as L.A. Confidential (1997), The Bedroom Window (1987) and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992).

When the security guard unlocks the entrance to the bank at the end of the movie, Tony Rosato (SCTV, SNL) can be seen amongst the waiting extras (and grinning to camera).

Star Elliott Gould held a private screening for legendary suspense-thriller director Alfred Hitchcock who apparently loved it.

The American DVD for the movie arguably implies two false story-elements. First, the banknotes seen on it are USA bills but the picture is a Canadian production with Canadian notes seen in the movie. Second, three characters are dressed in black-and-white gangster-like garb implying a kind of Reservoir Dogs (1992) gang which the movie clearly does not have.

The name of the black-and-yellow colored rare species of fish that Miles Cullen (Elliott Gould) bought was a "Holocanthus Tricolor" which is more commonly known as a "Rock Beauty"or "Butterfly Fish".

The film was nominated for several Canadian Film Awards and won six: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Musical Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Overall Sound.

The picture was filmed entirely in Toronto, Canada.

The bank robbery plot appears to have been taken from the film L'Etrange Monsieur Steve (1957) or the novel upon which the 1957 film was based, La Revanche des Mediocres by the film's writer, Marcel-Georges Pretre.

The DVD sleeve notes declare that the movie "features John Candy in an early film role".

This movie was made and released about ten years after its source novel "Tænk på et tal" (which translates into English as "Think of a Number") by author Anders Bodelsen was first published in 1968. The film was made about nine years after the first filmed version of that novel, Tænk på et tal (1969) was made and released in 1969. This picture is the second and final (to date, April 2012) version of this novel.

First film to be produced by Carolco Pictures (Carolco Entertainment).

The picture's story-element of a heist at Christmas time formed the background for the first few films in the "Die Hard" film franchise.

Elliott Gould's character Miles Cullen hides the money in a Superman lunch box. Co-star Susannah York played Superman's mother in the first two Superman movies, Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980).

Some movie posters for the film featured a text preamble that read: "A masterpiece of cunning and suspense . . . In a web of mounting tension, a beautiful girl is trapped and torn between two lovers, climaxing in a scene more terrifying than a nightmare! A chilling story interwoven with comedy... sex... terror!".

This movie is considered a Canuxploitation (Canadian exploitation) movie.

The amount of money that bank teller Miles Cullen (Elliott Gould) swindled out of bank-robber Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer) was $48,350.

Star billing: Elliott Gould was top billed first, Christopher Plummer received second billing, Susannah York was billed third with Céline Lomez being billed fourth.

The name of the financial institution was the fictitious "First Bank of Toronto".

The film was controversial for its grisly murder involving the jagged edge of a glass aquarium. This sequence has been said to be one of the most graphically violent scenes in a Canadian movie and contributed to the pictures various 18+ censorship classifications around the world.

At one point Christopher Plummer is seen in drag in this film.

Reviews: [25]

  • avatar


    Anders Bodelson's Danish novel "Think of a Number" has been transplanted to Toronto, intelligently updated by screenwriter Curtis Hanson, and directed by Daryl Duke in brilliant fashion. What makes this film so special, I think, is that you wind up rooting for Elliot Gould, a bank teller turned thief, to best Christopher Plummer, a sadistic bank robbery, even though Gould's character is basically amoral. This is that rare thriller that works on every level. The plotting feels free of contrivance, Gould and Plummer have never been better, chilly Toronto looks spectacular, and there's a wonderfully evocative, jazzy soundtrack by pianist Oscar Peterson.

    Coming as it did out of Canada in 1978, this film, despite its high quality, was almost immediately forgotten, but it is surely deserving of rediscovery. Check it out. It's one of the very best thrillers you'll ever see.
  • avatar


    Technically mediocre, but an adrenaline-fueled crime-thriller adapted from Anders Bodelsen's book "Think of a Number". Bank employee Elliott Gould dupes bank robber Christopher Plummer out of a small fortune, leading to a head-spinning game of cat-and-mouse. Gould and Plummer both do career-peak work, with Plummer never more riveting (violence turns him on, making him a dangerous, bloodthirsty cat). The film's R-rated mayhem may be over-the-top, but the movie is never off-putting and director Daryl Duke, working from Curtis Hanson's screenplay, nearly keeps it on track the entire way. Duke mounts the proceedings with flair, accentuating the coal-black humor inherent in the tension for a terrifically lively effect. Engrossing picture was unjustly swept under the carpet in 1978, but has more excitement than most big-budget films in this genre. Watch out! ***1/2 from ****
  • avatar

    Little Devil

    I first saw this movie about 15 years ago and watched it again the other night. What I once considered a very good film I now consider a borderline great film due to how movies in general keep regressing. It was so nice to see a movie with adult protagonists and a well-written, clever script that doesn't resort to explosions and mindless action stunts to cater to the MTV crowd.

    I won't give anything away at all -- if you like clever, twisty thrillers like The Usual Suspects, then check this one out. The acting is excellent and the script is too. Note that Curtis Hanson (Bedroom Window, LA Confidential) wrote this one 22 years ago!
  • avatar


    "The Silent Partner" is one of the best films you have probably never heard of. It had a very brief theatrical run in 1979 and I was lucky enough to see it during the one week it was in my town. I, along with the few brave others in attendance, were blown away. This is the only time I have ever seen just a handful of people in a movie and at the end we all applauded. It's that good.

    Elliot Gould plays a bank teller in a mall during Christmas time. Christopher Plummer plays the mall Santa who is planning to rob the bank. Gould finds this out (How? I will leave you to discover that for yourself) and soon Plummer knows that Gould knows thus Gould becomes Plummer's silent partner and a game of cat and mouse ensues. But there is much, much more to this intense thriller and it is better for me to leave it unsaid.

    Susannah York has a nice supporting role as Gould's would be girlfriend and she looks just great.

    I only have one complaint and that is there are two scenes involving Plummer that are shockingly violent. We know Plummer is a bad guy after the first act of violence. Did we really need to see the second (which is far more graphic and brutal)? I found this film on video about 15 years ago and watched it again and loved it just as much. I haven't seen it since. If you are a fan of thrillers then this is one of the best and I urge you to search far and wide to find it. You won't be disappointed.
  • avatar


    Director Daryl Duke makes a very taut thriller here about a figurative chess game between Elliot Gould, a bank teller who stole in excess of $48,000, and Christopher Plummer the real thief who gets outwitted. Gould and Plummer have some remarkable scenes between them - most of them on phones - one upstairs and the other in a phone booth. The tension created has roller-coaster effects through much of the film to see what the next move is for each character. I was riveted through much of it. Added in for some extra measure are various love liaisons for Gould and lots of depth given to the main characters. Gould does a very good job carrying off a very difficult role as a man who is quiet, overlooked, and introspective. Plummer is his equal as a maniacal killer/thief who knows how to play cat and mouse. The film has several memorable scenes: the ending in the mall was just fantastic as were all the scenes shot in Gould's apartment. Susannah York gives an integral performance as a co-worker at the bank. The director gives this rather pedestrian material lots of life, though the film obviously is a product of the 70s with way too much nudity for a film like this. Just about every woman in the movies goes bare-chested at some point(not that I am complaining mind you). If you are looking for a real edge of your seater then the Canadian production The Silent Partner might just be what you need to see.
  • avatar


    In Toronto, the methodical and lonely bank teller Miles Cullen (Elliott Gould) works in a bank in a shopping mall. He feels unrequited love for his coworker Julie Carver (Susannah York) but she is having a love affair with the married bank manager Charles Packard (Michael Kirby). One day, Cullen discovers a note on the counter indicating that the bank will be robbed and he soon identifies the handwriting of a Santa Claus in the mall as the author of the note. However he does not tell the police about of his findings and he hides a large amount of cash in his lunch box. When the thief heists the bank, he keeps the money for him. Soon the thief Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer), who is a psychopath, tracks Cullen down, breaks in his apartment and threatens him to give the robbed money to him. However Cullen sets Reikle up and he is arrested for stealing a van. Meanwhile Cullen's father dies and he meets his nurse Elaine Muriel (Céline Lomez) at the funeral. They have a love affair and Cullen finds that she is working with Reikle that is in jail. But she is in love with Cullen and helps him to recover the key of the safety deposit box that he had lost. But soon Reikle is released from jail. What will happen to Cullen and Elaine?

    "The Silent Partner" is one of the best thrillers from the 70's, with an intelligent story and top-notch performances. Christopher Plummer is scary in the role of psychopath. The gorgeous Susannah York and Céline Lomez have important participations. Elliott Could steals the show with another brilliant performance. The unforgettable John Candy has a minor role in the plot. The cat-and-mouse game between Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer is breathless and increases the intensity along the story. After almost forty years, this film has not lost the impact. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Parceiro do Silêncio" (VHS)("Silent Partner")
  • avatar


    A razor-sharp suspense drama with plenty of nifty, nasty surprises.

    Gould gives one of his top performances, and Christopher Plummer is a revelation: you'll never look on him as the stalwart Herr Von Trapp again as he turns in one of the most cold-blooded sociopathic performances ever committed to celluloid. (Yeah - right up there with Robert Mitchum's Max Cady in Cape Fear.)

    And yes – this does have some moments of honest-to-God, shockingly intense violence (it sure ain't no chick-flick ;-)

    But for my money – IF SOME CHOWDERHEADS WOULD RELEASE IT ON DVD, ANYWAY – this is one of best suspense dramas in the past 30 years, much in the league of films like Point Blank and Charley Varrick.

    Don't miss this one.
  • avatar


    If you like your bad guys evil and believable, see Christopher Plummer do his thing in this entertaining film. The plot is very well conceived and the setting in Toronto is perfect. A word of warning to the sensitive -- watch out for a very attractive woman's encounter with a fish tank.
  • avatar


    I saw this movie when it was in the theater originally. I remembered liking it a great deal and had looked for it for a long time. Although I remembered it as being excellent, I was 17 when I saw it originally, and probably drunk. I wasn't sure I would like it nearly as well when I was 47 and sober.

    I was very pleasantly surprised. Eliot Gould doesn't work for me all that often. Seems like he is unbelievable/miscast in most roles. This role is perfect for him and he does a great job. The only thing wrong with Christopher Plumber (Plummer?? I can't spell) is that he hasn't really gotten that many good roles. He has a great role in "The Silent Partner" and he swings hard and connects fully. He is completely believable and his eerie character is highly memorable.

    I can't think of many movies that I consider true "sleepers"-- movies that are vastly better than you would think given the lack of public attention or critical acclaim. "The Silent Partner" is on that short list. In a way it kind of reminds me of two other movies on my very short "sleeper" list-- "Blood Simple" and "Miller's Crossing." Tough to call any Coen Bros. movie a sleeper, but those got way, way less acclaim than they deserved. The Silent Partner has a similar kind of eerie intrigue to those movies. It is more similar to Blood Simple than Miller's Crossing. The plot and characters in Miller's Crossing were pushed to the point of hyperbole--and that line was kept the whole movie, but never crossed to the point of eroding the suspense. But, The Silent Partner displays many of the same virtues Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing have. It cracks into my top 50 movies. If you watch it on DVD, treat it like you are at the theater-- dark room, no interruptions, etc. It would be a waste not to.
  • avatar


    Recluse bank teller Gould spots a robbery in the making when he eyes a creepy mall Santa carefully planning his heist. Rather than alerting the authorities he decides to one-up the robber by stashing a hefty sum in his lunch box and only handing over a portion of it to the robber. Then begins a cat and mouse game between the teller and the psychotic robber.

    Despite being a wonderful time capsule in showing the 70's decadent lifestyle, this little suspense film serves up the goods in many respects. The tight and incredibly inventive script, deliberate pacing and some show stopping moments (including one particularly nasty scene) ensure "The Silent Partner" is a real keeper.

    Gould does well in the lead, delivering his usual relaxed performance but Plummer is the real winner here. Here he creates a truly disturbing sociopath who really gets under your skin.

    As said, the script be Curtis Hanson is top notch. The Gould/Plummer duel is excellent and the fairly plot ridden story is tightly written, although some twists were fairly obvious.
  • avatar


    The Silent Partner starts a few days before Christmas where Miles Cullen (Elliot Gould) is head vault teller for the 'First Bank of Toronto', he's an ordinary guy who fancies his co-worker Julie (Susannah York) but she's already having an affair with the bank manager. One day Miles life changes when he realises a career criminal named Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer) is going to rob the bank dressed as Santa Claus, his first attempt is foiled by a young boy & it's at that point Miles decides to turn the situation to his own advantage. Miles puts 1000's of dollars from the bank in his bag & waits for Harry to come back which he does, he does indeed try to rob the bank, Miles gives him a few hundred & blames the other missing 1000's that he has stolen himself on Harry. It's a clever plan if not for the fact Harry figures out what Miles did & he wants his money but neither can go to the police, it becomes a game of cat & mouse as each man tries to gain the upper hand with $48,350 at stake...

    This Canadian production was directed Daryl Duke is a really smart thriller that most people probably will never even have heard of which is a shame because it's a great film. The intelligent script by Curtis Hanson was based on the book 'Think of a Number' by Anders Bodelsen takes itself very seriously & is a neat well crafted little crime thriller with an intriguing concept which hooks you & isn't too predictable, it moves along at a nice pace, it has some great scenes especially between Gould & Plummer & it even has a cool twist ending. The Silent Partner is a pretty exposition heavy film & therefore there isn't much on screen action so those with little in the way of patience may want to skip it, for those who do like a good story driven crime thriller this is definitely a film you should check out because I'm pretty sure you'll like it. The character's are very good as is the dialogue although there are a couple of times when Plummer's villainous Reikle disappears from the film for a bit especially when he gets thrown in jail & when he does it becomes dullsville with a fair amount of character development which is fine but before long you'll want Plummer back again stirring things up as that's when the film is at it's best & most entertaining.

    Director Duke does OK, it looks as if The Silent Partner didn't have a huge budget as it's a fairly standard looking film without much style. I would imagine that this was a hard film to sell to the public at it's time of release, despite being a great film it has a very bland sounding title, it has no big action scenes so making a theatrical trailer which would excite people was almost impossible & they couldn't give much of the story away because it would have spoilt the twists & turns so I would guess that's probably why it's not a commonly known film. There are some nice tense scenes in this & some creepy ones when Plummer is around. There is some violence & a bit of nudity but nothing excessive.

    Technically the film is alright, it's well made I suppose but nothing special although having said that this is a film which relies on strong storytelling rather than flashy & expensive action set-pieces although there are continuity problems at the end as Plummer is shot in the back as the bullet wound starts in the center, then disappears altogether for a couple of shots then reappears slightly to the left! Apparently this was shot at the Eaton Centre in Toronto in Canada which had only just been built. The cast is excellent & there's even a small early role for John Candy who is not as fat here as in his latter films, sure he's still fat but not as fat.

    The Silent Partner is one of those hidden gems that virtually nobody has heard of or would ever particularly consider watching but for good word of mouth, personally I think it's well worth watching.
  • avatar


    A mild bank teller is pursued by a psychotic criminal after a bungled bank robbery. Thriller with less violence and more suspense. Fine understated acting, tense atmosphere and believable story. (Rating: A)
  • avatar


    I heard someone on a radio talk show about movies mention this film in regards to Christmas-themed movies. While not about the holiday season, it is instead an intelligent and tautly directed story of a bank teller attempting to outsmart a bank robber. Christopher Plummer is great as the robber. It's worth watching just for this alone. I've never cared much for Elliott Gould, but this role was just right for him. - Find this film if you can, and give it a go! Well worth the effort. - I found a copy on ebay, and will probably just keep it now. It's only available on VHS. Go get 'em!
  • avatar


    Riveting battle of wits. Clever bank teller Cullen (Gould) figures out way to filch cash from bank and get it blamed on a robber (Plummer) who gets away with only a minor amount. Trouble is robber Reikle figures out where the bulk went and decides to harass Cullen into sharing his amount. But Cullen cleverly leads cops to Reikle's flat where they arrest him. Now it looks like Cullen's home free, but is he.

    Cullen's a fascinating character. Humorless and nerdy, he appears married to the bank and his big aquarium. But inside that deadpan appearance lurks a calculating brain that knows an opportunity when he sees one. Thus, as Cullen knows, strength can lie in being underestimated as he usually is.

    This would seem one of actor Gould's easier assignments since Cullen rarely breaks an expressionless exterior. Nonetheless, the humorless part really requires a lot of self-control, which Gould manages in ace fashion. On the other hand, Plummer doesn't get much screen time, but Reikle's icy stare and mocking voice make an unsettling contrast to Cullen. Girl-wise, the blonde York has a rather thankless role as bank co-worker Julie who sort of likes the diffident teller, but can't figure him out. On the other hand, Cullen seems mildly interested one minute only to turn cold the next as he calculates what his various schemes require. It's really Lomez who gets the plum part as the steamy Elaine. Not bothered by his odd manner, she quickly attaches to the conflicted Cullen who has trouble resisting.

    All in all, the plot threads are cleverly woven into a compelling whole, along with an apt ending . And I like the idea of the enclosed but breakable aquarium as a key metaphor. Anyway, the film's an outstanding 110-minutes, whether taken as a solid crime suspenser or as an imaginative character study. Either way, it's highly entertaining.
  • avatar


    This rather ingenious movie, based on the novel "Think of a Number" by Anders Bodelsen, has a story, complete with fun twists and turns, that really keeps the viewer watching. Elliott Gould stars as bank teller Miles Cullen, held up by psychotic criminal Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer). Unfortunately for Reikle, he doesn't obtain his entire potential take because Miles has already figured out a clever way to steal from the bank himself. When the robber realizes he was screwed, he's enraged and the two characters indulge in a battle of wits, with each man making moves that surprise the other. It's this whole interplay between these characters that provides this movie with some real meat, and it just goes to show that some people can't be taken at face value, are capable of daring actions, and may be far more crafty than we believe. On location shooting in Toronto is an asset (it's quite clear this takes place in Canada from the get go), as well as a cracking pace and a number of riveting scenes. Gould is nicely understated, as the unlikely thief, and Plummer, in one of his more interesting roles (it's cool to actually hear him curse out Gould), is damn convincing. Miles' bravado extends to his aggressively pursuing both Julie Carver (Susannah York), a co-worker and the mistress of his boss (Michael Kirby), and Elaine (Celine Lomez, an exquisite lady who even does some full frontal nudity), who's not what she initially appears to be. While the occasional bursts of brutal violence are indeed a little jarring, they do go a long way in showing the utter depravity and ruthlessness of the Reikle character. The screenplay is by Curtis Hanson, who also takes an associate producer credit, and the taut direction is by Daryl Duke ("Payday"). It's also fun to see a young John Candy in one of his earliest film roles; although he never gets to do much here, that inherent likability of his still comes through. The story here is a truly entertaining one, from its chilling robbery sequence wherein Reikle makes for an intimidating Santa Claus to his ugly confrontation with Elaine. This movie is a true sleeper that definitely deserves to be better known. Eight out of 10.
  • avatar


    Quiet, timid, but shrewd Miles Cullen (an outstanding performance by the always affable and reliable Elliott Gould) works as a teller at a bank in a shopping center. One day Miles gets held up by vicious psychotic criminal Harry Reikle (a superbly chilling portrayal by Christopher Plummer). However, Miles only gives Harry a small percentage of the money he asked for. Miles pockets the rest of the bread himself. Pretty soon Miles finds himself playing a dangerous cat and mouse battle of wills with the lethal Harry. Moreover, Miles aggressively pursues sweet, fetching coworker Julie Carver (a wonderfully radiant and ravishing Susannah York) and becomes involved with Harry's lusty girlfriend Elaine (a charming turn by the lovely Celine Lomez). Director Daryl Duke, who also helmed the terrific "Payday," ably wrings plenty of nerve-wracking tension from Curtis Hanson's supremely twisty, gripping, intelligent script, astutely creates a vivid atmosphere, and elicits uniformly first-rate acting from a stellar cast. Billy Williams' handsome, polished cinematography and Oscar Peterson's rousing, jazzy, elegant orchestral score are likewise strong and impressive. A pre-stardom John Candy has a small part as one of Miles' goofy fellow tellers. The occasional outbursts of brutal violence are genuinely shocking and upsetting. A real bang-up little thriller winner.
  • avatar


    You're in for a lot of suspense with this one, I've never understood why this movie was not more widely seen, even though it is deservedly highly-regarded. The whole cast is terrific, above all the great Elliott Gould. Curtis Hanson's screenplay offers just the right twists at just the right moments and it all adds up to a very believable story. Don't miss it!!
  • avatar


    This is where everything that makes good suspense comes together, a well-paced story, authentic characters, a clever hero, terrific direction, just the right atmosphere and fine writing.

    The actors make it all the more outstanding, Elliott Gould, who has phenomenal range spanning from dry comedy to innocence to riveting dramatics and angst-driven neuroses, delivers here one of his best.

    Susannah York lights up the screen with her sparkle and talent.

    All the others are equally effective, plus we have the added bonus of the great John Candy.

    If you get a chance to see it, go for it!!
  • avatar


    "The Silent Partner" is a Canadian film and shows that the Canadian film industry of the 1970's possessed some major talent.

    Like all English-speaking film industries, the Canadians have to compete with the 300-pound gorilla in the room, Hollywood. Of course, being right next-door, the Canadians probably have the toughest job in creating cinema that reflects their national identity, and which doesn't just blend in with the US product. However, their films do have a unique vibe that Canadians may not recognize as easily as an outsider can.

    These days, we see quite a lot of Canadian material on cable in Australia and you can tell that it is Canadian even without seeing flags, police uniforms, or hearing the word 'about' pronounced as 'aboot'. After watching hundreds of American films, you can easily sense the change in locale.

    "The Silent Partner" is a clever and stylish movie that would stand out in any cinematic company, although it doesn't seem to get too many mentions in overviews of the Canadian Film Industry.

    Elliott Gould plays Miles Cullen, a bank teller who at bank closing time discovers a note that tips him off that the bank will be robbed the next day. Dissatisfied with his job and pretty much his life, he hatches a plan.

    When the robbery takes place, Miles gives the robber a token amount of money, and causes him to flee when he trips the alarm. However, he has kept aside nearly $50,000 for himself. He then reports the total amount as stolen by the robber.

    The only other person who knows what he did is the perpetrator. In a truly edgy performance, Christopher Plummer plays bank robber, Harry Reikle, who is not only a thief but also a sadistic psychopath – he comes looking for the rest of the money, and he and Miles play out a deadly game of cat and mouse.

    The film has a fascinating cast including Susannah York who plays a co-worker with whom Miles has an on again, off again relationship, and John Candy in an early non-comedy role as a young colleague at the bank. And then there is Celine Lomez, an actress who was considered too sexy to be one of the leads in TV's "Charlie's Angels" – a backhanded compliment if ever there was one. She plays Elaine with whom Miles has an affair before discovering that she is not all that she seems.

    As the story unfolds we find that Miles is made of stern stuff and doesn't give ground easily, which only makes Harry more excessive in the pursuit of the money.

    The film ends as cleverly as it started, but not before one of Miles' beloved tropical fish is pinned to the wall with a knife and a human head ends up in the fish tank. "The Silent Partner" also features a sequence worthy of Hitchcock at his best when Miles must dispose of a body deposited on him courtesy of Harry.

    "The Silent Partner" hasn't dated much at all, and is still one of the cleverest crime dramas you'll ever see. Although the film did well in Canada at the time, it failed to find an audience in the US, but one American critic rightly hailed it as "…one of the best sleepers of the late '70s". It's still a great little discovery to make today.
  • avatar


    This is a very entertaining cat and mouse thriller starring Christopher Plummer, Elliot Gould and Susannah York.

    Elliot Gould is a bank clerk working in a busy mall. It is Christmas time and the mall stores are making big cash deposits. Gould notices the same Santa always seems to show up outside the bank when the large stores are making a deposit. Gould figures the man is casing the place for a possible robbery.

    The gears start grinding as he decides to take advantage of the situation if it happens. Gould takes several large deposits and hides them in his briefcase. Sure enough, the Santa, Christopher Plummer, shows and shoves a note at Gould. Gould hands over 3-4 grand. Plummer knows there should be more and produces a gun. Gould hits the alarm and the guard and Plummer exchange a few rounds. Plummer then beats the feet out of the mall.

    Gould, the guard and fellow clerk, Susannah York, are taken to the police station for a look at some mug books. Gould sees Plummer among the photos but says nothing. He returns to the bank and grabs his case with the $50,000.

    The next day, Gould and his fellow employees are interviewed on television. Needless to say our man Plummer is sitting in front of the tube watching. He knows Gould beat him out of his big score and he intends to get it.

    Gould takes the cash and puts it in a safety deposit box under a false name.

    That night, he gets a phone call from Plummer demanding the cash. Gould hangs up. He was not expecting this curve. Plummer calls again and says he is watching him right at the moment. Gould looks out and sees Plummer at the phone booth outside the apt. "I want my money or it won't go good for you." Plummer growls.

    Gould says OK and tells Plummer to come up. Gould then leaves down the back way. When he sees Plummer inside, he phones from the booth. Plummer answers, "Go **** yourself!" Gould tells Plummer.

    Plummer roars down the stairs to put the grab on Gould. When he can't find him, he heads home. Gould comes out of the shadows and follows. He sees where Plummer lives. He starts home when he has a flash. There is a delivery van dropping off fresh veggies etc. Gould jumps in the running van while the driver is in the store. Gould takes the van over to Plummer's place and parks it. He then makes an anonymous call to the Police about a man with a gun and a stolen van.

    The Police swoop in and gobble up Plummer. The next day, Gould, York and the guard, Sean Sullivan, are called in for a line-up. It seems Plummer has form as a bank hold-up man. Again Gould does not identify him. Plummer does however go away for 6 months on the van charge and some outstanding warrants. Problem solved.

    While all this is going on, Gould has been chasing York for a little horizontal mambo. York however is involved with the bank manager.

    A few months go by and Gould meets and quickly beds Celine Lomez. This is great till Lomez asks him about the cash. Lomez is Plummer's girl and was sent to get the cash or the info on its location. Gould makes a deal with Lomez for a split that leaves Plummer out. Lomez tells Gould that Plummer is a very nasty fellow and will kill him over the cash. Gould says Plummer is still in jail.

    Plummer now gets out on an early release. He has a talk with Lomez about Gould and the cash. He realizes that Lomez has switched teams. Plummer decapitates her, then, leaves her head in Gould's fish tank and her body on the apartment floor.

    Gould discovers the body parts and is needless to say rattled. The phone rings and it is Plummer. "Do I have your attention now?" Gould agrees to hand over the cash. 'You have to meet me at the bank and I'll hand it over' Plummer agrees. Now Gould wraps up Lomez's remains. He dumps them in the foundations of a new bank building that is pouring concrete the next day.

    Gould is at the bank the next day when Plummer comes for the cash. This time Plummer is dressed as a woman. Gould hands over a paper bag and tells Plummer everything is there. Plummer smiles. Then as he turns away, Gould throws up his hands and yells "No don't shoot me!" Everyone in the bank looks at Plummer. Plummer yanks his gun out to silence Gould. He gets off one round before the bank guard plugs him several times. Plummer staggers out of the bank, then drops dead on the escalator.

    A wounded Gould is taken to the hospital. Needless to say he never handed over the cash.

    This is a much better film than I make it sound. There is plenty of suspense and some great twists.

    The screenplay is by Curtis (L. A. Confidential) Hanson and is based on the novel, THINK OF A NUMBER by Anders Bodelsen.

    The director was Daryl Dukes. His films include TAI-PAN and PAYDAY. PAYDAY is my favourite Rip Torn film.

    The D of P was Billy Williams. His work included, WIND AND THE LION, GANDHI and ON GOLDEN POND
  • avatar


    Like Hammer Films' CASH ON DEMAND (1961) which I watched earlier the same day, this is a bank heist thriller set during Christmastime but with the location transposed to Canada instead of Britain; the stars are New Yorker Elliott Gould, native Canadian Christopher Plummer and British Susannah York…although, truth be told, their limelight is somewhat stolen from right under their noses by sexy Canadian starlet Celine Lomez who is given ample opportunity to show off what Mother Nature provided her with! She would eventually be up for the role of TV's CHARLIE'S ANGELS cult series but she was deemed too hot for the small screen!! Incidentally, THE SILENT PARTNER also provides an early role for future burly star comedian John Candy (as a philandering banker).

    Despite the Yuletide festivities going on and the presence of Gould, the film is no light-hearted affair and, indeed, is a pretty unpleasant one at times: apart from the abject use of recreational drugs and illicit sexual encounters taking place during a supposedly wholesome Christmas party, Plummer is a psychotic robber who takes to dressing up as Santa Claus in the vicinity of a bank branch housed inside a shopping mall before he is nabbed by the police for rape, assault and battery charges (towards a singing waitress in an episode that occurs inside a gym's sauna). Alerted to his criminal intentions by a note handed to him during an aborted robbery attempt, bank teller Gould outsmarts Plummer by handing him only a fraction of the loot on a subsequent retry while he does away with the lion's share of the stolen money. This does not sit in well with the increasingly impatient and unhinged Plummer (especially after learning, through a TV interview that acquires Gould instant celebrity status among his clientele, that the missing cash holdings amounted to around $50,000) who starts to pursue Gould by contacting him from a phone booth underneath his apartment and even raiding his home in search of the hidden cash.

    To complicate matters further, fellow worker York (who is their boss' mistress) also starts getting interested in Gould but she cannot understand the way he brusquely cuts off an amorous dalliance (upon receiving yet another phone call from Plummer) or when he fails to identify him during a routine suspect identification parade down police headquarters. But, as already intimated above, Gould has his own scheme to ensure Plummer's capture but the latter has another trick up his sleeve as he send another waitress/lover (Lomez) to seduce Gould into revealing the whereabouts of the money. What he had not counted on was that the two would eventually fall for each other (after laying all the cards on the table – she had posed as a carer for the senile father he had just buried and, eventually, dresses up as a luscious, curly-haired and bespectacled safety deposit locker owner!) but Plummer soon reveals his utter ruthlessness by beheading(!) Lomez on the broken glass of Gould's beloved aquarium (having previously pinned his prized fish to the wall!) and presenting himself once again at the latter's counter in drag! Actually, Plummer's characterization had been rather flamboyant throughout – with prominent use of the eyeliner – so watching him dressed in women's clothing is not that much of a stretch as it might initially appear)! By this time, Gould has had enough and he sets off the alarm system – an action that is repaid by a bullet wound from Plummer's gun and the latter is in turn shot repeatedly by the bank's security guard while making his escape in a crowded escalator. Written by future director Curtis Hanson (of 1997's L.A. CONFIDENTIAL fame) and directed by Daryl Duke, the movie (which contrives a happy ending with an ambulance reunion between Gould and York with the money safely in tow!) emerged triumphant at the Canadian Film Awards…despite falling somewhat between the cracks in the interim until a barebones DVD release brought it back into public availability.
  • avatar


    Another surprise package from the 70s (to add to Elliot Gould's 1974 feature "Busting"), in what isn't your typical suspense thriller. This little Canadian produced production is actually quite unconventional thanks to some glowing performances, deft plot turns and tautly handsome direction. A placid bank teller accidentally stumbles across some clues that a bank heist is going to occur, so he hatches up a plan to transfer the cash into a container just before it happens. For the teller things go to plan, until the thief realises that that he has been short changed and then he goes after the teller for the money. However a battle of wits occurs, as they try to out-smart each other in what becomes a twisty cat and mouse game. Watching these two characters trying to gain some sort of upper hand over each other is simply enthralling, as you're never quite sure how it's going to turn out. An ironic chain of events seem to occur and this helps keep the atmospheric tension right up there with its well-timed precision. While this is going on, it still takes time out to open up its characters for dramatic effect and it's believably done to match up with the sober-like manner. Elliot Gould might be discreet as the bank teller, but his performance is truly outstanding with complexities shining through. Christopher Plummer also chimes in with an understated performance, but still consists of unpleasantly creepy and psychotic shades. The interplay between the two simply crackled ("Feels like I know you every well") and this is what carries along the narrative. Across from them was the wonderful Susannah York and Celine Lomez was genuinely good. Also there was solid support by Michael Kirby, Ken Pogue and John Candy. Slow-winding and lean with some unpleasant moments, but a cleverly constructed thriller.
  • avatar


    Miles Cullen (Elliott Gould) is a somewhat meek, thoughtful bank clerk who turns out to have unsuspected depths of resourcefulness and questionable morality. Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer), a bank robber, is definitely not meek. He's just as resourceful as Miles but also is a murderous psychopath with a taste for beating women. When Harry says to Miles, "One night when you come home you'll find me inside waiting and that will be the night you'll wish you'd never been born," we believe Harry means it. Miles believes it, too, and it's great, nasty fun to see how Miles deals with Harry.

    It's Christmas time in Toronto and Miles is at work at his bank branch in a brand new shopping mall. Miles realizes that the jolly Santa outside may be planning to rob the bank. Miles thinks about this. When Santa finally acts a couple of days later, Miles is ready. But Miles is ready with his own plan. He cleverly palms the $50,000 in his bank tray, gives Harry chump change, and only then sets off the silent alarm. Harry barely escapes with little but the assumption from the police that he got away with $50,000. Miles places the money in one of his bank's safe deposit vaults, then plans to wait a while before quitting his job and starting over. In his own quiet way, he hopes that Julie Carver (Susannah York), who also works at the bank and is his bosses mistress, will join him. Harry, however, is smart as well as violent. He realizes what Miles did and finds out where Miles lives. And then Miles gets that phone call one night. All Harry wants is "his" money from Miles, whom he even sees as sort of a partner.

    For the next hour or so we are up to our necks in a genuinely creepy and clever heist film. Miles may have been a meek kind of guy, but he's not about to give up that money. He manages to track Harry down, turn the tables on Harry, use a beautiful young woman who is trying to use him, still wants Julie but is not above using her as well, and is forced to deal with a grotesque murder Harry leaves in his room. Elliott Gould does a great job as Miles. This isn't the flip, smart-alecky Gould who wore out his welcome after his great success in MASH. Here, Miles is thoughtful. He collects tropical fish. He's underestimated. Our pleasure in part is trying to think ourselves of what Miles can possibly come up with against a killer like Harry Reikle. Christopher Plummer does not have all the screen time that Gould gets, but he is a powerful, compelling presence. Reikle is not just unpleasant, he really is a controlling psycho. Miles has become his "partner," and he is determined to get the money from Miles and, we are almost sure, will kill Miles. Harry doesn't like being taken advantage of. Plummer has given many excellent performances over the years. Harry Reikle is one of his best.

    Curtis Hanson, who wrote (and directed) L. A. Confidential, has given us a screenplay that is almost funny at times, certainly clever with unexpected twists, logical enough to work and just unpleasant enough to be satisfying. There is really only one scene of startling violence, but the jolt comes as much from what we realize has just happened than from what we actually see.

    The Silent Partner is a sly, clever and queasy cat-and-mouse game, where at least some aspects of Miles' morals may not be much better than Harry's. I liked the movie a lot.
  • avatar


    Fascinating movie with great performances, loads of surprises and a good glimpse of Toronto. "Toronto the Good," BTW, is a term that Canadians used to use to refer to the overall virtuous, well-behaved character the city used to have.

    I recently saw a laughably *bad* movie, "No Ordinary Love," that obviously borrowed some of the Silent Partner's plot and then just wasted the good material.

    But I digress. I really liked the film which I saw in a theater in Montreal in 1980. I'd love to see it again if it surfaces in DVD.
  • avatar


    Should be on the top 100 greatest movies ever made. One of my favorite parts is when Christopher Plummer opens the mail slot to reveal what my wife calls "very scary eyes". Miles Cullen (Gould) appears at first to be a bank nerd, but then fools Reickle (Plummer) at every turn. I especially like it when he turns the tables on the girlfriend. I have the tape and watch it every once in a while, and never get bored of it.