It might have been called "Son of Brink's" when three men walked into the Boston office of a film crew yesterday, pulled out guns, handcuffed four lab workers and walked off with a large suitcase of film.
The film belongs to a Hollywood production crew that has been reenacting the 1950 robbery of the office of the Brink's Armored Car Co., which netted $1.2 million and which, at the time, was the largest cash robbery in history.
Ironically, the value of the 300,000 feet of film, of which there is no duplicate, may be more than the cash of the original heist, and producers of the film, "Brink's" speculated that it would be held for ransom.
The filming of the reenactment of the sensational Brink's robbery is being produced by Dino De Laurentiis, directed by William Friedkin and stars Peter Falk at a cost of $12.5 million.
Scollay Square, a section of Boston where, 20 years ago, people went for fun had been urban renewed out of existence but was rebuilt near the original site for the movie at a cost of $1 million. After the segment of filming it was torn down again. It is film of this sequence that the robbers took.
"There has been no request for ransom money," said Leo Janos, public relations man for the company. But a similar theft occurred "in Italy once when they stole a segment of a Fellini film called "Casanova," Janos said.
The office where yesterday's robbery took place is in Boston's old Back Bay, behind the Copley Plaza Hotel, which retains a certain elegance: people move slowly through the narrow winding streets.
There is a sign at the entrance to the lobby of the production offices saying, "Brink's Barber," for Friedkin is a sticker for detail and wants the extras to have haircuts of the '50s.
A second sign with bright big letters says. "Extras" with a large arrow pointing left.
The three men yesterday got on an elevator to the seventh floor labs, knocked on the door, pulled their guns, asked specifically for the film of the Scollay Square sequence and a courthouse scene, and left. Like the original Brink's robbery, no hair was mussed.
The filming of Scollay Square took place early in June as Academy Award-winning production designer, Dean Tavoularis ("The Godfather), recreated in a nearby neighborhood the outdoor markets that attracted people in the early '30s.
Sandy Richardson, and John Adolph (Jazz) Maffie, original participants of the Brink's robbery who have been hired as consultants for the film, were aghast when they heard of the heist.
Sonny Grosso, the New York ex-cop, who was responsible for the "French Connection" arrests and who has been hired as a security officer for "Brinks," said, "When people first started to call to ask about the robbery, they asked if this was a publicity thing. My first thought was it was a joke."
"It's no joke," he added firmly.
The original Brink's robbery was six years in planning. It took six years to catch the robbers, and the search cost taxpayers $29 million.
Grosso said he hoped that the heist of the film recreating the old Scollay Square of people eating a steamed hot dog at Joe and Nemos, getting a tattoo, Sally Kieth, watching (Queen of the Tassles) at the Crawford House or Rose LaRose, (Queen of the Doves) at the Old Howard, would not lead to a situation where all films in the future would have "to be guarded by 30 guys with machine guns."