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  1. #1
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    Default Safes & Vaults versus Hollywood

    Purely for fun I though I'd start a discussion of how Hollywood treats safes & vaults. Sometimes it's quite ridiculous, sometimes it's interesting. What are your favorites?

    - James Bond, I forget which movie, used a credit-card-sized X-ray viewer to open a wall safe by viewing the wheels. Very difficult to do unless the X-ray source is on the other side, and even then quite unlikely. Nevertheless the lock industry has long offered "radiation resistant" wheel packs and other countermeasures. What impressed me was the image looked like a real X-ray view of a real safe lock. And the wonderful product-placement choice of "Sharper Image" on the imaging card.

    - Ocean's 13 used a similar idea in the opening, this time to view the locks and boltwork of a massive vault door. The image looked plausible though the device was pure baloney.

    - Goldfinger. Quite silly representation of a vault, and it seemed that everybody knew the combination. But it sure was impressive-looking, and the door was moderately realistic.

    - Bond, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (I think). Over a lunch hour, he uses a suitcase-sized auto-dialer to open a safe. A clever idea, and portrayed more realistically than most gadgets and techniques. Today they are somewhat common; did they exist in 1969?

    - Ocean's 11, my favorite scene is near the beginning when the vault/explosives expert "blows" what looks like a real York door (US patent 929,907, dated 1909). It looks to me like they even got the boltwork right (easy if it's a real door) and the mechanism is even shown in the "locked" position as the door is opening. Just ignore the utter silliness of shaped charges cutting through the door and slicing through the bolts :-)

    Any thoughts on the above, or addition?

    Jim

  2. #2
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    On the auto dialer. I beleave that there was one that some government entity was working on. This is why they came up with the X series of locks as there is no set 0 to the dial.

    On the shaped charge I do know that it is possable to cut a bolt thru a door...think about a dragon rocket and its shaped charge can cut thru the outer skin of a tank and have a jet of hot metal go thru the tank. Now I would think it would take a bit bigger and different shaped charge to do what they wanted but it is possable. My father was an engineer that delt with shaped charges. I helped...god that was fun!:twisted:

    ---------- Post added at 03:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:00 PM ----------

    I agree with the xray parts.

    The Italian Job - That was the best acting of a safe tech I have seen in the movies. Mostly right for what was shown.

    The best lock picking shown was "The Burgler" when Whoopi Goldburg picked a lock.

    The worst was McGuiver when he used two picks to pick and turn a lock.....
    Last edited by Dean Nickel; 23-12-09 at 04:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Kind of related, I did enjoy the Mythbusters popping a safe by filling it with water and using 1/2 stick of dynamite. They don't always do good science but they are usually entertaining.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halflock View Post
    The Italian Job - That was the best acting of a safe tech I have seen in the movies. Mostly right for what was shown.
    Do you mean the 2003 movie, or the 1969 movie?

  5. #5
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    This isn't an explosives forum, so without going into detail, I must agree with Halflock - shaped charges can be used very effectively for cutting/punching through things, and enough research has been done that a shaped charge could be designed and fabracated to produce just the results desired, in a relatively controlled manner. That said, I don't see them becoming part of a safe tech's kit anytime soon ;)

    Britain had a show similar to Mythbusters, I think it was called Brainiac. During the 2003 season they have a safe they are 'testing' - it gets attacked with all manner of methods, one per episode. They used handtools, powertools(done correctly, of course this could have worked, there is no question that somebody qualified could drill it), attacked by firemen's gear, dropped it from a crane, thermite(lol) & eventually they tried explosives (some detcord I think) - by this time the safe wasn't looking too good, but it stayed firmly closed.

    Finally, they got the military out, to shoot it with a kinetic energy shell, shot out of the main gun of a Challenger 2 Tank... there wasn't much trace of the safe having existed after that. There is footage of this online.

    The Mythbusters demonstration of filling a safe with water and using dynamite is a technique that wCas once used by safebreakers.

    In a similar vein to McGyver and his 'two picks' approach, I noticed a real EPG on TV recently, the pins were vibrated and then the whole EPG was turned as if it was a key - so much for applying tension... The same show had scenes filmed inside a prison, it was a nice touch to notice a fullsize Folgar-Adams jail key on each keyring - even though keys are only ever in frame for a second, and never used in a lock. I doubt many people would ever notice the key let alone recognise it.

    I don't know it's true, but I've read on another lock related forum that Hollywood has/had a 'rule' against showing both the pick and tension wrench in action in a lock.

    ...mercurial

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylk View Post
    Do you mean the 2003 movie, or the 1969 movie?
    2003 ... don't remember much on the other one being I haven't seen it since I was a kid....haven't gone thru the trouble of seeing it again.

  7. #7
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    1969 was much better, although there was no safe opening in it as far as I can recall ...

  8. #8
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    No safes that I recall, but a really good explosion, practising entry to an armoured van, the peterman overcooked it a bit and destroyed the whole van, prompting one of the most quoted Michael Caine lines... "You`re only supposed to blow the b****y doors off!" ...Superb film, must get the DVD....

  9. #9
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    Saw a film a while ago, can`t remember title or who was in it but it involved a bank robbery where the manager was forced to divulge the combination to the outer doors of the vault and the hero produced two very nice shiny black S&G dials and pushed them onto the shafts to dial open the outer doors. Is this a common thing? or was the detached dial thing just a plot device? The whole thing got a bit silly when the wall next to the main vault door (timelocked) was breached with a few rounds from a 20mm cannon at point blank range. The robbers were all right though, they had protective goggles!!! Wot a crock....

  10. #10
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    I defer to any safe techs here, but having the dials separate from the spindles is not a common, or even a 'done' thing. And it'd suck to carry around a dial puller to get them off again...

    Miniature emergency dials do exist, for use by safe techs when the dial has been removed (by vandalism, or removed by the tech to get to a drill point, etc).

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