The three thieves who walked into the Brink's movie production office in Boston with drawn guns and walked out with two reels of film last Friday have only the 'clone' of Scollay Square.
"I told them to buy a projector when they called and asked for $600,000 ransom," said Billy Friedkin, who is directing a movie production of the robbery. "The negatives are in a vault in L.A."
The segment of unedited film the crooks can watch night after night if they follow Friedkin's suggestion is a street scene of recreated Scollay Square that cost the company more than a million dollars to build.
Superintendent of detectives John Doyle of the Boston Police Department, who was on the team of detectives which arrested the original culprits 35 years ago, said: "We have an active investigation going, but no comment on the ransom demand."
Asked it the story about the film being in a vault in California was a ruse to bring the ransom down, Friedkin said, "We don't need the reels they grabbed."
A spokesman for the FBI who moved into the scene a few days ago said, "It's primarily a police matter. The general feeling is that the movie company is not that crazy about recovering it."
A call to Brink's production office in Boston yesterday was taken by Bill Jordan, a retired police detective from L.A., who works as security chief for the movie which is called "Brink's."
The voice said, "We have 'rubberized' the original offer and now are asking $500,000."
Friedkin said, "We don't need the section of film but are cooperating with the FBI, who asked us to make an offer of $20,000 just to keep them talking, but they hung up."
The movie company began shooting the $12.5 million Dino De Laurentiis production of the original Brink's robbery at 70 locations in Boston on May 1 and finished yesteday.
Each day the film was processed and Friedkin viewed it the next night.
Bill Jordan the security chief, said, "It was what they thought of as their big one-shot trip to the pot of gold. Although they asked for specific film segments, I can't picture three heist guys being familiar with the film."
In striving for authenticity, Friedkin interviewed several people for roles as extras, a few of whom were known to the police.
As one police spokesman said: "The movie company hired a bunch of hoods, who know?"
Whatever happens to the wayward film, it can't be as bad as what happened to Tony Pino, played by Peter Falk, who was the mastermind of the Brink's robbery. When Pino stood over his john on the night of the robbery, he flushed $10,000 down because the bills were new and in sequence.