Is Mad Money based on the Brassiere Brigade?

Happy New Years everyone! My apologies for the absence of posts for the past week. I was on vacation, visiting family on the east coast and in Arizona.

One month ago I posted about a group of female criminals from the 1950s called the "Brassiere Brigade." They stole money from the counting room of a telephone company, where they worked, by smuggling rolls of quarters out in their bras.

I only discovered the story of these women by accident when I came across a reference to them in an old newspaper. I thought I had stumbled upon an incredibly obscure story, and it occurred to me that it was perfect material for a movie -- one of those cute "chick-flicks" that Hollywood churns out. I had visions of writing it up as a screenplay and making a fortune.

But my hopes were dashed when I recently saw the trailer for a movie called Mad Money that's coming out on Jan. 18. The movie (which stars Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes, and Diane Keaton) is the story of three women who steal money from a Federal Reserve Bank, where they work, by smuggling the money out in their underwear. In other words, it's basically the story of the Brassiere Brigade in a different setting (a bank instead of a phone company). Somebody got to my idea first!!!

I'm not sure if Mad Money actually was inspired by the exploits of the Brassiere Brigade, though it's close enough not to make a difference. The Mad Money site doesn't make any mention of the Brassiere Brigade. The movie seems to be a remake of a 2001 British made-for-TV movie called Hot Money, about a group of British cleaning women who steal money from the Bank of England. The British movie claims to be based on a real-life incident, though it provides no specifics about that incident. Perhaps there was a group of female British criminals who copied the modus operandi of the American Brassiere Brigade. Hiding money in underwear may be a far more common method of theft than I realized.

Mad Money doesn't look very good, so I'm not going to bother seeing it in a theater. Perhaps I'll rent it on DVD. I think it would have been much better if it actually was the story of the Brassiere Brigade, set in Miami in the 1950s.

Entertainment Law/Police/Crime

Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008


With the brassiere brigade, 2nd base sounded like a "jingle". Now 3rd base crinkles. Weird. 😉
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  11:06 AM
Alex, Hollywood LOVES repeats and doing the same basic story over and over. Go ahead and write your screenplay. Just mention how similar it is to the hits Mad Money and Hot Money. Then mention how sexy the title Brassiere Brigade is, how it will attract the 16-year-old male audience until they realize it isn't aimed at them.

Go for it, just donate 1% to me for encouraging you when you thought it was hopeless.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  11:46 AM
I thought the same thing Alex ... ...
Posted by oppiejoe  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  12:38 PM
oppiejoe, I get my 1% first!
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  12:55 PM
Women carry all kinds of fun stuff in there, not only the normal fun stuff they were intended for.
Posted by N E O  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  01:25 PM
Yeah, the fact that a movie's already been made seems to be no impediment to doing it again and again. Just look at all the sequels and remakes.

It's been said that "Imitation is the sincerest form of Hollywood."

And the story of the Brassiere Brigade is, indeed, more interesting than this similar one.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  02:51 PM
Happens all the time. I once had a killer idea for a movie that combined "An Affair to Remember" with "A Night to Remember", but...well...we all know what happened there.
Posted by SME  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  04:51 PM
there was a case in the UK a few years ago with staff filling their underwear with old notes due to be destroyed.

the notes would be taken to a facility in the UK once to worn to be in circulation anymore to be incinerated.. and one of them noticed that between the final count and the incinerator was the perfect opportunity to grab some.. the police had no idea how much they stole..

sorry I can't be more help, as in dates etc, but I hope what I do remember can be of help in finding out more information
Posted by Khai  on  Thu Jan 03, 2008  at  11:48 PM
Hmm, does this kill my chances for selling my screenplay about a guy (played by me) who works in a sausage factory and smuggles the product out in his Jockey shorts?

No, it is not autobiographical.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  02:15 AM
Sorry, Cranky Media Guy, but Kids in The Hall already did that one on TV.
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  10:00 AM
OK, I am sure I should not nit pick the inherent illogic of Hollywood films but the switch to the Fed Reserve does not make sense. In a phone company unknown quantities of loose money come in and people are paid to count and organize it--that is what makes the whole theft possible.

The Federal Reserve is not a retail bank and does not have normal "customers". They basically transfer pre-existing bank reserves around and extend credit. None of that would facilitate uncounted amounts of cash around to stick anywhere. Any cash a fed would come into contact with would be of a known quantity and easily missed even if the pilfering were missed.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  11:45 AM
Floormaster, in this movie's scenario (and the British flick of which it's a remake) the bills the women lift are worn-out ones that have been retired from circulation and are due to be shredded. The women who are supposed to feed the money-munching machine just pocket (or stuff in their undies) some of the bills they were supposed to shred. Since those bills were already destined for oblivion and already counted as destroyed, ostensibly nobody will notice the theft.

In real life, I strongly suspect the Federal Reserve has safeguards against this gambit, too. It's highly unlikely that nobody's had that idea before. For that matter, any Federal employee who shows a sudden, unexplained increase in wealth tends to be investigated (that's how they've caught a number of spies and crooked cops). But we can dream, or at least hack screenwriters can.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  03:14 PM
I thought that all employees of these kind of places were weighed coming in and going out, those that had gained weight were obviously taking stuff. I could be wrong.
Posted by mr royale  on  Mon Jan 07, 2008  at  05:27 AM
As Khai has said there was a real UK case of this and security was obviously far too lax. The ring leader only got caught because she was coming to work in a very expensive car boasting about the foreign holidays she had been on!
Posted by Robert N  on  Mon Jan 07, 2008  at  07:34 AM
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