The other night I cracked open the Hammer Icons of Suspense DVD set and settled in with a buddy to watch CASH ON DEMAND. The main reason was that the film starred Peter Cushing but I had also heard very good things about it online. As the film began we were surprised to note that the story takes place a couple of days before Christmas and as the opening credits rolled there were some interesting visuals that made both of us think that the director was referencing Dickens' classic 'A Christmas Carol'. Then as the first few minutes ticked by, and the fantastic Cushing proved to be playing the priggish head officer of a regional bank, the echoes of that tale began to be stronger. Very Scrooge-like in his attitude and mannerisms Cushing is unbending in his adherence to rules and quite cruel and condescending to his subordinates. The one difference from old Ebenezer seems to be that this haughty, self-important man has a wife and son for whom he clearly cares deeply. It is this variation from the literary template that will be used against the character to drive the tasty crime tale forward.
When Andre Morrell makes his appearance as a government bank security inspector the sharp dialog between these two fine actors shows the story's debt to Dickens' original and (for me and my buddy) doubled the enjoyment of this very good movie. I am a huge fan of 'A Christmas Carol' and have spent years seeking out film variations on both TV and at the movies . How did I miss this one? The credits explain that the story is based on a play and since the action takes place over the hours of a single day I can see how well it would have played on stage. I refuse to give any more away but will simply recommend catching up with this gem as soon as possible.