Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Italian Job (Special 40th Anniversary Edition)

The Italian JobA double feature was recently offered on cable TV that allowed me to view "The Italian Job" twice the 1969 version with Michael Caine and the 2003 version. The two films have little in common except a gold bullion robbery, 4 million dollars worth in 1969, and 27 million in 2003, to allow for the decreasing value of the dollar and bigger and better ways to spend it! I enjoyed the 2003 thriller but the older film is really an excellent comedy. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see it, because I missed it, and lots of laughs, the first time around.

"The Italian Job" (1969) is a campy caper packed with 1960s nostalgia. There are enough gadgets and girls in this film to make even James Bond content, although Bond would never work with the bumbling, quirky characters that Michael Caine, called Charlie Croker here, is forced to deal with. The film opens with a choreographed hit by the Italian Mafia. The choreography could have been done for the June Taylor Dancers. It's a riot! Anyway, Roger Beckerman, a brilliant thief, is murdered because he had masterminded a potential heist to take place in Turin, Italy, involving millions of dollars of Chinese gold bullion. Beckerman leaves a tape for Charlie Croker, who has just been released from a British prison. The video tape, to be viewed in the event of Beckerman's death, explains the entire caper and offers Charlie the opportunity to do the job. Charlie gets the funding for the project from Mr. Bridger, played by a wonderfully comic Noel Coward. Bridger is an inmate of the prison where Charlie had spent the last few years and he rules the UK underworld like a king, from his jail cell, with guards and inmates paying him homage. Croker fights off the advances of gorgeous blondes with one hand while he uses the other to whip into shape his motley crew of screwball bandits.

The dialogue is hilarious at times, especially when the team of thieves, who seem to have a collective IQ of 75, go at each other like recalcitrant adolescent schoolboys. Croker who occasionally is forced to step out of his role as master-thief to play schoolmaster, yells at his men during a particularly delicate operation, "Get yourselves sorted out and shut-up! No one talks anymore except me!" During a meeting with the Mafia leader who threatens to kill Croker and his men if they pull-off the job, Charlie responds, "You will be making a grave error if you kill us. There are one-quarter million Italians in Britain and they will be made to suffer. Every restaurant, cafe, ice cream parlor, gambling den and nightclub in London, Liverpool and Glasgow will be smashed. Mr. Bridger will drive them into the sea!"

This film is pure fun with the mother of all car chases as the grand finale. Not to be missed!


This is one of the finest heist films ever committed to celluloid. This is one of the finest ensemble performances assembled. This is, without question, one of the finest films of its genre.

Michael Caine is, as always, smooth and calculating and funny in his subtle, English way. The heist and the set up to the heist are handled brilliantly. I am a longtime fan of all heist films and this has to be, alongside "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3", the best. From Caine's dead associate talking to him from beyond the grave on reels of black and white film...outlining the whole the flawless execution of the plan, the pure excitement of the chase scene (The BEST CAR CHASE SCENE EVER)and the twists and turns and even the theme song....everything is pure magnificence.

Oh man. Get this movie. Love this movie. Cherish this movie and then watch it again and again.

Never before have you seen the things you'll see in this movie. NEVER.

I fear that any review I give will be more convoluted and uninforming than actually watching this movie. So that is what you must do. I guarantee you will be grinning from ear to ear and dancing that happy dance you dance when you discover a film as good as this one....

thank your lucky stars...

Buy The Italian Job (Special 40th Anniversary Edition) Now

This is the movie that defined the word, 'Classic'.

Michael Caine plays Charlie who's just been released from prison. Rather than trying to keep on the straight and narrow, he immediately embarks on trying to steal gold bullion from the Italian's. He gets the backing of Mr. Bridger, London's head of crime, who's in prison himself.

To help him carry out the plan, he gathers together an array of colourful people including Benny Hill as the clever professor who has a penchant for big women.

Add to the mix three Mini Cooper's as the unlikely get away cars and you're in for a fun filled, action packed film that sees Charlie and his gang trying to outrun both the police and the Mafia.

The build up to the heist is interesting and funny but the unique get away at the end is the scene stealer. Through underground sewers and subways, down church steps, through rivers and up to the very rooftops, it's gripping and highly entertaining. I think anyone that watches the film will just yearn to have a Mini Cooper afterwards.

Of course, the cliff hanger of an ending just fits so perfectly too.

To add; I also think the soundtrack is great and the film produced one of the most, if not THE, memorable quote of all time from Michael Caine when he sees the truck explode into thousands of pieces during a practice run and then turns to the unfortunate explosives 'expert' and says, "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off."

Mr. Caine has said that he still has people come up to him in the street and say that to him, even now!

To conlcude, The Italian Job is very patriotic, even the cars are red, white and blue, and I think it's the masterpiece for all British classic's.

So, "get your skates on, mate" and buy it now your collection is lacking if this film isn't a part of it.

Read Best Reviews of The Italian Job (Special 40th Anniversary Edition) Here

It is true that original ideas in Hollywood are even rarer than lasting show-biz marriages, but the remake of the '60's British classic "The Italian Job" stands out as the glaring example of the industry trying to pass off flash and flair in the guise of eye-candy actors and high-tech special effects in place of the human elements of acting chemistry and film craftsmanship.

The 1969 version of "The Italian Job" succeeded on so many levels; it was a fantastic film that was well-indicative of its time (the afterglow of the sexual revolution as well as the London fashion boom seen recently only on a second-hand basis from the Austin Powers movies in addition to Ing-er-lund's winning of the 1966 World Cup, British hipsters could actually display the Union Jack and sing "Rule, Britannia", unthinkable for the UK apologists of today) as well as a crime caper with a decidely different twist to the wit of say, the Rat Pack version of "Ocean's 11". And the distinctly European take on the car chase already iconocized in Steve McQueen's "Bullitt" demonstrated by the use of the ORIGINAL bumper-to-bumper crumple zoned Mini Coopers as opposed to the full-throated Detoit muscle flexed by "Bullitt"'s Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang is ably accentuated by some of the best stunt driving seen in a generation among some of the most beautifully picturesque backdrops in the world.

This is an admittedly dated, though terrifically quirky and extremely fun movie to watch. It's a fine example of why Michael Caine was one of the most charming actors of his generation and another example of what a movie can be when given over to human inspiration and creativity as opposed to a cookie-cutter script handed over to an overzealous special effects department. Rent the Wahlberg/Theron/Norton remake if you must; it's a good enough example of the quick fix mentality that prevents anything new and original from succeeding in Hollywood today. But for an example of a wonderfully produced and well-filmed classic MOVIE, this one's worth adding to the serious film afficinado's collection.

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I grew up with The Italian Job in the UK. It was one of those films the BBC used to show all the time. My friends and I have been watching the video for years we put it on whenever a boozed-up night of shouting out the classic lines is required, e.g. "He was put away for doing something disgusting with a net." Just typing it in makes me laugh, see the film and you'll see what I mean. Add to that a bizarre Mini car chase, a singalong Cockney soundtrack and an authentic swinging London 60s setting and it's a must-see.

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