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The Italian Job (1969)

Film review: The Italian Job (1969), directed by Peter Collinson

Odds are, you will have heard of this movie. In particular if you’re a fan of Eddie Izzard, who does quite a bit about it in one of his stand-up shows. “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” and so on.

Smooth criminal Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) is released from prison, and is told of a great plot to steal £4 million in Italy. So, with his current squeeze Lorna (Margaret Blye) as a sidekick, he starts assembling a team to carry out the plan – and even gets a prison manager (Noel Coward) involved!

And once the preparations are done – which include getting a trio of Minis set up – it’s off to Italy to carry out the nefarious plot.

I think I was expecting more from this film than it delivered. While Michael Caine is always fun to watch, and Benny Hill (!) as the creeptastic professor Peach who has a thing for “big ladies”, it starts out as a story of the Perfect Crime. Then the crime is carried out. And then the other half of the film appears to be a very long commercial for the Mini car company. They drive around a lot.

It has a great feel of the 1960s, with the fashions and clothing and sense of adventure in films (this was the decade where we got spy stories like The Saint and James Bond, after all), but after a great set-up, it’s just a bit disappointing, to be honest. Lots of driving around trying to outrun the police by driving through shopping centres and so on.

Loving the vibrant colours, the humour and Michael Caine, but as a film in general, I’m disappointed. I thought it would be better, or at least more memorable. All I remember now is a bunch of blokes driving around in small cars. And it’s not meant to be an episode of Top Gear. So, sadly, it’s not going to be more than 2.6 out of 5 Fiats.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

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