When Woody Allen's fans refer to his "earlier, funnier" pictures, they often cite his directorial debut as a shining example. Co-written by Allen and Mickey Rose, this side-splitting takeoff of crime documentaries stars Allen as Virgil Starkwell, a sweetly inept career criminal. The film's most celebrated sequence involves Virgil's inability to write coherent holdup notes ("I have a gub"), but others include Virgil's losing battle with a recalcitrant coke machine and his misguided effort to emulate John Dillinger by carving a gun out of a bar of soap (his weapon disintegrates in a heavy rain). As was often the case in Allen's early films, not all the gags work, but for the most part, Take the Money and Run is a delight, enhanced by the on-target supporting performances of Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire, and (uncredited) Louise Lasser, as well as the energetic musical score of Marvin Hamlisch.
by Hal Erickson synopsis