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The Italian Job (1969)

Introducing the plans for a new business venture

Directed by:

Peter Collinson

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

When you see Michael Caine waist-deep in Dick Dastardly-style car chases, immortal one-liners and light-hearted xenophobia, it’s easy to see why there’s a temptation to pass off ‘The Italian Job’ as the crowning glory of his career. When you think of today’s Caine caricature, you immediately think of the Cockney crim Charlie Croker, pulling off heists and bedding beauties. It’s iconic Caine. It’s classic Caine. It’s also a tad-overrated.

This isn’t a bad film. In fact, it’s pretty good fun. But the simple plot-line of Croker and his gang of likely lads stealing $4million-worth of gold bullion and getting one over on the mafia in the process is hardly gold itself. In fact, it probably owes its cult status predominantly to two or three superb lines delivered to deadpan perfection by Caine (‘you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off’, etc), than any sort of major comic consistency or outstanding action sequences.

Most of this enjoyable nonsense takes place in the streets of Turin, where our cheeky rapscallions use the passing crowds of England football fans to help cover their naughty wrong-doings. Being made in 1969, it’s all a bit dated, of course – for example, where are all the skinheads jumping up and down on top of bus shelters and trashing pavement cafes?

There’s a long line of familiar British faces among the cast, most notably Noel Coward in his last film acting role as the prison inmate lording it over fellow prisoners and staff alike. Benny Hill takes third billing, though with the high-speed-chases-set-to-silly-music left to the cars, there seems very little for him to actually do. John Le Mesurier, Irene Handl and Robert Powell are also in there somewhere if you know where you’re looking.

It's Got: A cliff-hanger ending – literally.

It Needs: To ‘get a bloomin’ move on’ during the slightly over-long car chase sequence.

DVD Extras A great range of features for a film so old – including an audio commentary, deleted scenes, three documentaries (The Great Idea, The Self Preservation Society and Get A Bloomin Move On) and a theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Actors, The Italian Job (2003)

Summary

Mildly entertaining tripe.

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