25
Mar
09

Movies on DVD Review: The Italian Job (1969)

italian_job

 

THE definition for “cliffhanger.”

 

Starring Michael Caine, Noel Coward, and Benny Hill. Directed by Peter Collinson.

 

Note: the original, not the remake.

 

Charlie Croker (Caine) has just been released from prison. He’s met by his girlfriend Lorna (Margaret Blye) who picks him up in a stolen car (“Charlie, I just wanted you to come out in style, baby.”) Later he finds that an old partner Roger (Frank Jarvis) left a film for him to watch. On the film is the greatest heist idea of all: stealing $4 million from Turin. Charlie thinks it over and decides to do it for the money, and for England. Breaking back into the prison he informs Mr. Bridger (Coward), a fellow prisoner who has attained a king-like hold over the prison (the guy goes to the bathroom escorted by two guards who provide him with the current newspaper). Croker then takes the initiative to assemble a crew; albeit of miscreants (“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”). The plan: stage a traffic jam in Turin during a sports event and get out of the city with $4 million. The obstacles: aside from getting out of the city with the gold, the Mafia know about the plan and threaten him and his team. Croker and company are forced to speed up their plans for the gold and most importantly for the glory of England.

 

Forty years since and “The Italian Job” is still a fun movie. Michael Caine is great as Charlie Croker, a swingin’ Sixties convict. Coward eats up being the King of the Penal Colony. Benny Hill does a great job at being Professor Simon Peach, the resident “computer expert” who is into “big women.”

 

The movie itself can be divided into two parts: the buildup to the heist, and the chase. The buildup to the heist is the main humor of the movie: Croker’s motley crew practicing with the mini-Coops, Bridger’s reactions, and Charlie himself.

 

The second half, the car chase, is one of the coolest ever on film. The minis drive on sidewalks, through buildings, and even top of a building (you have to see it to believe it).

 

Overall, a fun little movie. A great way to spend a weekend afternoon, or pop it in on a weeknight. You’ll find yourself singing, “The Self Preservation Society.”

 

Of note, the DVD contains the deleted scene of the mini-Coopers driving around to the tune of Strauss’s “The Blue Danube.”

 

My grade: B+

 

 

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1 Response to “Movies on DVD Review: The Italian Job (1969)”



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