Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Michael Caine Blogathon Special: The Italian Job (1969)

The Italian Job (1969)
Oakhurst Productions, UK, 1969.
Participating The Marvellous Michael Caine Blogathon event arranged by Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews to celebrate his 85th birthday!
Heist man Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) has just been released from prison. Meanwhile the Italian Mafia has killed his friend who bequeathed an ultimate heist plan to Charlie. The plan is to travel to Turin and rob an armored van using a self-caused traffic jam as a ruse. The funding comes from jailed crime king and patriot Mr. Bridger (Noël Coward) whose love for Queen and Country turns him into a supporter of the plan. After all the heist is a chance to get back at those pesky Italians who have just made an important industrial contract making the British automotive industry suffer!
Michael Caine
Charlie Croker
Noël Coward
Mr. Bridger
The plan requires a participation of different specialists, one of the most memorable being computer specialist Professor Peach who chases big women (appropriately performed by Benny Hill). The plan culminates into the heist and escape with three Mini Coopers speeding through shopping malls, down the stairs and on the roof of a stadium.
Benny Hill
Professor Peach
The Mini Cooper chase is iconic
The Cockney character Michael Caine performs here is a lovable rogue. He's stylish, cool and popular with women. Charlie's girlfriend Lorna (Margaret Blye) is quite liberal in the Swinging Sixties way and even arranges coming out party for Charlie with semi-clad girls. It is hard not to think about showing the character even more virile than James Bond (Caine had turned down the role two years earlier). Charlie even drives Aston Martin that looks similar to Bond's favourite vehicle, being only an older model.
Margaret Blye
Planning the heist
This is a classic heist movie with British tongue-in-cheek style fit in the style of 1960s. Before the iconic final chase the movie is carried by Michael Caine's charm and the comical hijinks of his teammates. The cinematography with Italian cities and mountain roads looks beautiful and there is eye candy for fans of vintage cars. The story is light and comical and even campy, making it never too serious although the Mafia offers a serious threat. Of the actors the most memorable are Caine, Coward and Hill. However many minor characters are left quite underdeveloped and some of the plotlines are never resolved, leaving the story literally hanging in the air. Sequel was planned but it was was never made.

Rating: Very good

Starring: Michael Caine, Noël Coward, Benny Hill, Raf Vallone, Tony Beckley, Rossano Brazzi, Margaret Blye, Irene Handl, John Le Mesurier, Fred Emney, John Clive, Graham Payn, Michael Standing, Stanley Caine, Barry Cox, Harry Baird, George Innes, John Forgeham, Robert Powell, Derek Ware, Frank Jarvis, David Salamone, Richard Essome, Mario Valgoi, Renato Romano, Franco Novelli, Robert Rietty, Timothy Bateson, David Kelly, Arnold Diamond, Simon Dee, Alastair Hunter, Lana Gatto, John Morris, John Louis Mansi
Director: Peter Collinson 

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