The Big Job (1965) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • An inept gang of bank robbers, led by George The Brain, are caught and sentenced to 15 years hard labour each. When they are released from prison they start out to collect the money they had stolen and which George had hidden in a hollow tree during the chase in which they were caught. The only trouble is that the tree was in the middle of a lonely lane when they were imprisoned; now, 15 years later, the tree is in the backyard of a Police Station...


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In 1950 a gang of three men are plotting the detailed arrangements to carry out a bank robbery. Their leader is George Brain. On the day of the big job, everything goes wrong. but after several mishaps the inept criminals get away with the money in a hearse. The police are alerted and follow the hearse, but by now two other funeral vehicles have joined the procession, and the three are being chased round a roundabout by a police car.

    The three robbers decide to abandon the hearse and run for it, chased by policemen. The leader, George Brain conceals a bag with the money in a hollow tree in open countryside. £50,000 has gone missing, say the newspapers. In court, the judge has no hesitation in sentencing them to fifteen years in prison.

    Fifteen years later they get out, and Gorge's girlfriend Myrtle is waiting for them. They go to her house, and she wants an amorous celebration, but George is intent on going to the tree to retrieve the money from the tree. But when they get there, a housing estate has been built over the area where the tree stood. The go into "Oldfield New Town" to see whether the tree is still standing.

    They get to Lovers Walk, where the tree was located, and looking over a high wall, they see that the tree is indeed still there. George decides that the thing to do is to get into the enclosed yard by saying that they are policemen investigating a robbery, but then they discover that the high wall is in fact the perimeter of a police station.

    Inside the police station, the sergeant is thinking about the police concert, while a young constable Harold, knows that the gang has just been released, and that the money was never recovered. He is speculating that the gang might be nearby looking for the money. There is a house nearby with rooms to let, and Myrtle enquires, and takes two double rooms. She has designs on manipulating George into marrying her, and she tells him that the landlady will only let the rooms if they are a married couple. Very reluctantly George agrees, and we see them marrying in the registry office.

    They go to the house where they are going to stay, and are let in by the owner's daughter, who is a sultry girl, Sally. Seeing her, one of the men, Dipper Day, says that this must be his lucky day. The owner, Mildred Gameley, arrives and talks to them, and lets slip that she didn't know that George and Myrtle were married; Myrtle had lied to George, telling him that Mrs Gameley would insist on them being married.

    Suddenly Harold, the young police constable, bursts in to the dismay of the crooks. But he is just another lodger in the house. Now they are in their room, and Dipper arrives with a telescope that he has stolen from the park. It is the kind where you have to put 6d in a slot for a few minutes' use, but George is able to see the tree where the money is hidden. Dipper and George are looking through the telescope and see that a girl opposite is dressing in her bedroom, but there is a ladder against her window. She is eloping, but George sends them to get the ladder, to sue it to get into the police station yard. The man who is eloping has gone back up to the girl's room to leave a not for her Mother, and he is now marooned there, as George's men have taken the ladder. The three have climbed on to the police station wall and sat to rest, when the eloping girl comes and retrieves the ladder, without questioning why it had been placed there. The three are struggling on top of the wall when Harold, the policeman, comes out of the police station office and shouts at them. He pulls at the trouser legs of Booky and his trousers come off, but the three fall to the outside of the wall and run off.

    The next morning in the police station yard, a workman has come out and is investigating the hole in the tree where the money is. Myrtle comes in and is displeased because George hasn't been attentive to her. They go down to breakfast, except Booky who hasn't got any trousers. George mentions at breakfast that a rare bird is in the tree; there is considerable wordplay on "Great Bustard" and "Little Bustard". Harold says that the tree is to be cut down next week. Mrs Gameley the landlady takes a tray up to Booky, and he quickly, but with difficulty, conceals the telescope on the bed with him. Mrs Gameley evidently has romantic designs on Booky.

    George bursts in and she leaves, and Dipper arrives with a pair of trousers for Booky. He took them from an airing cupboard, and it turns out that they belong to Harold, the policeman.

    They decide to fire a harpoon at the tree, and one of them will slide down on the rope. They are setting up the harpoon gun the next evening and fire the harpoon, but they forgot to retain the end of the rope. A second attempt is more successful. But the zipwire trip doesn't work; Dipper just hits the wall. It is not clear how Dipper would have returned if he had been successful.

    Harold finds the harpoons the next morning but the station sergeant is more interested in the forthcoming concert, and expresses no interest in investigating the matter.

    The workmen arrive to cut the tree down, but when they go to their truck for their equipment, the robbers have taken it away, as they intend to use the tools themselves. The workman goes to report it to the station sergeant, who is sarcastically reluctant to be distracted from his musical preparation. He insists on going out to check the location from which it was stolen, but it has been replaced, but the tools are missing, leading to further sarcastic reluctance.

    George now decides that a tunnel is the means of getting inside the police station yard, but their bedrooms are on an upper floor. Booky is told by George to try to talk Mildred Gameley into letting the gang use her ground floor bedroom. She has marital designs on Booky, and refuses the swap without a proposal of marriage.

    George coerces Booky into marrying her, which he does with extreme reluctance. They take possession of her room and start the tunnel. Mildred Gamely and Myrtle are both disappointed brides, waiting alone in bed as their husbands concentrate on the tunnel; disposing of the spoil is a problem and they adopt a number of unlikely ruses to do so.

    Meanwhile at the police station Harold suddenly sees a police warning about the three robbers, during yet another rehearsal for the police concert. He rushes over to the house, and he realises they must be intending to get to the tree. Mildred's daughter shuts Harold in a bedroom, and Mildred tells Myrtle and her daughter that her deceased husband was a burglar; she is obviously on their side. She takes charge, and gets his tools and scales the wall and gets the money. At the same time the men have opened up the tunnel under the police choir, due to a miscalculation. The robbers escape back to the house as the policemen fall into the hole.

    The three women and the three robbers open up the briefcase, but the money had been destroyed by vermin, and is worthless. When Mildred hears that it was only £50,000 she is dismissive, and says that she has been planning a big train robbery that will net a million pounds. She will run the gang now, and this time the plan will work.

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