TV Cream

Films: H is for...

How To Beat The High Co$t Of Living

All-girl heist comedy with Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin and Jessica Lange. Their lives variously made a misery by late ’70s galloping inflation, the trio hatch a plan to steal a huge amount of cash that the local shopping mall is collecting in a huge plastic ball for a guess-how-much-and-win-it competition, by tunnelling under it, cutting a hole in the base and hoovering up the notes. Some amusing riffs on the housewives-do-crime premise – domestic appliances employed as burglary tools, having to bring the kids along when a babysitter calls off etc. – and a nice feeling of a now truly bygone era, keep it one notch above high concept desperation.



  1. Tom Ronson

    March 6, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    A bit of a Saturday night BBC1 perennial during the eighties, then it just… disappeared. No idea why, I remember it as being good fun.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    March 6, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    @ Tom Ronson, I can remember this film being shown in the summer on BBC One in the eighties and being watchable as the premise about respectable middle class housewives fed up with high inflation in America in the late seventies stealing money from a shopping mall was excellent.
    You’ll probably like Fun With Dick and Jane, starring George Segal and Jane Fonda, another comedy where a middle class couple are hit by the recession and decide to rob their old employer and the film has a happy and unexpected ending. Saw this( cf The Cat From Outer Space) at RAF Leeming’s cinema in 1981, a useful place to watch films as the nearest civvy cinema was 20 miles away.

    • Tom Ronson

      March 7, 2023 at 2:43 am

      Heh, I’ve just found the animated title sequence, which was probably what lured me in. I liked anything cartoon-related as a kid. The opening theme sounds like a cross between Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters album and Vince Guaraldi’s scores for the 1970s Charlie Brown specials. Probably the most bewildering thing about it to modern eyes (apart from the three women constantly losing their clothes) would be the sight of the meat butcher smoking a cigar.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    March 8, 2023 at 8:05 pm

    @ Tom Ronson, I wonder with this film being released in 1980, with inflation in double digits and unemployment rising in America, if this had some kind of political message as it was election year and President Carter was about as popular as a wasps nest at a picnic. Possibly not, but some Republicans seeing the animated title sequence with the woman chasing the dollar bill and the butcher hiking his prices constantly might have seen a coded message about the Carter presidency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top