Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Tip Not Included (1966)

Tip Not Included (Die Rechnung – eiskalt serviert) was the fourth of the German crime thrillers featuring George Nader as ace G-Man Jerry Cotton. It was released in 1966.

It opens with a glamorous girl singer in a nightclub, always a good way to start a movie. In the English dubbed version her name appears to be Phyllis but in the German version I believe she’s named Violet. Don’t ask me why. Jerry is at the bar and sees a young guy (we later find out his name is Tommy) getting menaced by a couple of hoods. Naturally he intervenes.

What Jerry doesn’t know yet is that he has stumbled upon a clue that could foil a spectacular hoist.

The villains are intending to steal millions of dollars in withdrawn bank notes, plus ten million dollars’ worth of diamonds.

There’s another clue. The controller who has to supervise the shipment of the cancelled currency was mugged. That worries Jerry. He can’t see a connection with the currency shipment but he has a hunch there’s a connection just the same. And of course he’s right (Jerry’s hunches usually are right).

The nightclub canary (played by Yvonne Monlaur) is Tommy’s girlfriend and Tommy is mixed up in the heist.

The complicating factor is that a rival gangster is taking an interest in this heist, meaning that a double-cross is a real possibility.

Jerry has his own problems. He tries to do something honourable and generous and ends up getting suspended. Of course that doesn’t mean he’s going to give up his interest in the case. He did tell Phyllis that if she found herself in trouble she should call him and now she’s in trouble and she calls him. And Jerry finds himself in trouble as well.

There are all the standard plot complications that you’d expect. It’s maybe just a little too reminiscent of the previous movie in the series (The Trap Shuts at Midnight) which was also a heist movie, and in my view a slightly better one.

The robbery itself is quite clever and is handled skilfully by director Helmuth Ashley. It’s very much the highlight of the movie although the action finale is quite good as well. Helmuth Ashley seems to have worked mainly in television although he did direct one of the Edgar Wallace krimis for Rialto.

Georg Hurdalek wrote the screenplay (and also wrote one of the krimis).

Peter Thomas contributes yet another wild crazy score which adds to the 60s vibe.

As usual there’s plenty of stock footage to try to convince us this is all taking place in the United States.

George Nader is as usual an adequate lead. Nader was supposedly headed for stardom in Hollywood in the 50s but it never happened. He was being groomed as another Rock Hudson but he notably lacks Hudson’s charisma.

Yvonne Monlaur is a perfectly fine leading lady. She’s best known to English-speaking audiences for a couple of Hammer movies in the 60s. Birke Bruck is pretty good as gangster’s moll Mary.

The transfer is reasonably good although the image is just a bit on the soft side.

All eight Jerry Cotton films (in both German-language and English dubbed versions) are included in the recent German Jerry Cotton DVD boxed set. The movie was shot widescreen in black-and-white (the series would switch to colour for the last few movies).

Tip Not Included is a solid modestly budgeted crime thriller done with a reasonable amount of style and energy. It’s worth a look.

I’ve also reviewed a couple of earlier Jerry Cotton movies - The Violin Case Murders (1965) and The Trap Shuts at Midnight (1966) which are both slightly better than this one.

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