Bold Bank Robbery: Antecedents

Bold Bank Robbery

  1. The plagiarism myth
  2. Antecedents

  3. Legacy
  4. Extra: The Outlaw Cut

Great Art Boldly Robs

Films, like all products of human economic and social life, do not burst full-blown from the ether, but rather build upon antecedents. "Shakespeare routinely stole plotlines and even whole scenes from other writers for his own plays". 1 In fact, genre is defined by similarities in form, style, or subject matter, and so cannot exist without the commonality that results from a significant degree of replication.

Bold Bank Robbery followed in the tracks of films in a popular new genre: the crime film. Its most direct influences were the 1903 films The Great Train Robbery and A Daring Daylight Burglary.

Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (Dec 1903)

Although Bold Bank Robbery is clearly not a remake of The Great Train Robbery, it does owe its existence to the phenomenal success of that film, as described in Genre and Hollywood : Perhaps most importantly, "The Great Train Robbery" was part of a violent crime genre which had been imported from England a few months earlier. Porter was consciously working (and cinema patrons viewing) within a framework established by Sheffield Photo's "A Daring Daylight Burglary", British Gaumont/Watter Haggart's "Desperate Poaching Affray", and R.W. Paul's "Trailed By Bloodhounds"...Its success did not encourage the production of other Westerns, but other films of crime - Lubin's "The Bold Bank Robbery", Paley and Steiner's "Burned At The Stake", and Porter's own "The Capture of Yegg Bank Burglars".

A closer inspection reveals that elements of Bold Bank Robbery also have parallels in The Great Train Robbery.

  1. The robbery starts off with forcing a man to assist the robbery. The victim is then knocked out, and left bound and gagged.
    Bound and Gagged
  2. Then, a loyal employee gets shot while trying to safeguard the corporation's money...
    The Great Bold Flunky gets it
    ...followed by robbers exploding the repository.
    The Great Bold Blowup
  3. Later, the bound and gagged victim is revived by a young female. The revived victim provides information that leads to the capture of the outlaws.
    Revival of victim

Frank Mottershaw's A Daring Daylight Burglary (Apr 1903)

A Daring Daylight Burglary was a rich source for filmmakers. The Great Train Robbery and Bold Bank Robbery both have scenes that first appeared in A Daring Daylight Burglary.

  1. The chase starts on the rooftop...
    The Daring Bold Rooftop Chase
  2. ...then heads to the water. While the chase in A Daring Daylight Burglary merely goes by the water...
    The Daring Water Chase
    ...in Bold Bank Robbery, the chase leads to a struggle in the water...
    The Bold Water Chase
    ...as in the climax of William Haggar's 1903 Desperate Poaching Affray.
    The Daring Water Chase
  3. It seems like the pursued has escaped from his pursuers by hopping on a train...
    The Daring Bold Escape By Train
  4. ...but only to be captured on alighting.
    The Daring Bold Rooftop Chase

    But Bold Bank Robbery added a helpful linking scene, that shows the police renew their thwarted chase by sending the message ahead that leads to capture:

    Messaging ahead

Great Art Also Gives Back

Bold Bank Robbery paid handsome dividends on its borrowed ideas, contributing its own ideas that were far ahead of the norm for films of that era.

  1. Quote boldly robbed from a review of "Against Intellectual Monopoly"

Bold Bank Robbery

  1. The plagiarism myth
  2. Antecedents

  3. Legacy
  4. Extra: The Outlaw Cut

Related:

A Daring Daylight Burglary

One of the models for 'The Great Train Robbery'and 'The Bold Bank Robbery'. Also provides an early taste of the police procedural, in the form of a detailed rendering of emergency medical assistance for the injured policemen (a digression that, regrettably, breaks the pace of the chase).

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Desperate Poaching Affray

'Alas, my hat...'. Desperate, gun-toting, upper-class posse chases desperate, gun-toting, hat-fetishist poachers.

View...

The Great Train Robbery

Considered a milestone in film making

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