Peter O’Toole Magnificent In Early Film Role!

18 Feb

I just saw the Warner Archive DVD of the MGM-British film “The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England” (1960). This is a great film with a wonderful cast starring Aldo Ray, Hugh Griffith, Albert Sharpe, beautiful Elizabeth Sellars, and a young Peter O’Toole in only his third film. O’Toole is always worth watching even in bad films but this one is a small masterpiece. Griffith just won an Oscar for “Ben-Hur” (1959) the year before. O’Toole’s very next film was “Lawrence Of Arabia” (1962) for director David Lean!

— rswilltell


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  1. rswilltell

    February 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    My error navigating here but this film plays often on Turner Classic Movies. Ralph Schiller

    • David DeWitt

      February 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      And associate Peter O’toole with Errol from his hilarious Flynneske performance in My Favorite Year!

  2. Gentleman Tim

    February 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Thank you, Ralph. Going to have to watch this! Must have helped him land the role in L of A.

    No one was Errol Flynn … not even Alan Swann … but young O’Toole in this film looks like he might have fit in quite well in “Charge of the Light Brigade”!


  3. rswilltell

    February 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Hey Tim; Peter O’Toole and the powerhouse actor Aldo Ray have two contrasting acting styles. Yet for their scenes together in ‘The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England’ they actually compliment each other making this film a gem! ralph Schiller

  4. Texas Gal

    February 20, 2015 at 3:35 am

    O’Toole was wonderful in his own right!

  5. shangheinz

    February 20, 2015 at 9:58 am


    You are o-so-right here Ralph. In the high octane and very entertain-ing book “Hellraisers” there is a reference to…

  6. zacal

    February 23, 2015 at 6:09 am

    David Lean had originally intended to cast Albert Finney in “Lawrence of Arabia” but, after testing him, didn’t think he would take his direction. He later saw “The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England” and spotted O’Toole playing “a silly ass Englishman” and decided to test him. Years later, Finney would also turn down the role of Alan Swann in “My Favorite Year”. tumblr_m7u79w3F5A1qcv4yjo1_1280.jpg

    • shangheinz

      February 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Well, Albert Finney turned Lawrence down, thumbed his nose at Sam Spiegel and returned Flynn style in a sensational swashbuckler:…

  7. rswilltell

    February 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks ZACAL for the insight into David Lean’s choice of Peter O’Toole for the role of a lifetime. I read a book on another great British film director Anthony Asquith who originally was working on a film biography of Lawrence. His choice was Dirk Bogarde for the role. Somehow David Lean was able to pry the project away from Asquith which broke his heart. The role also fell through for Bogarde who then was a much bigger star than O’Toole. Bogarde has already starred in a big budget Hollywood flop ‘Song Without End’ (1960). ‘Lawrence’ could have put him over but instead made O’Toole a star. Ralph Schiller