The Italian Job (1969)

"Very Good"

The Italian Job (1969) Review


Only the British and Steven Soderbergh seem to be able to make funny caper movies. The Italian Job -- the original one, that is -- is a quite funny, minor classic of the genre, elevated from midnight movie fare thanks to the presence of a spot-on Michael Caine.

The film's setup is pretty staid: Caine's Charlie Croker is straight outta prison, and he's right back at the crime game the moment he's released. Thanks to guidance from boss Bridger (Noel Coward, appearing primarily in films given to Caine), the job is meticulously planned and staffed: Ultimately the gig is to cause a giant traffic jam in the city of Turin, steal $4 million in gold from an armored car, and escape using clever non-roadway surfaces so the cops can't follow them.

Ultimately the planning for the job -- an hour of narrative wherein a dozen or so characters are introduced to us -- is a bit of a bore. But once the job itself is underway, the film truly shines. The Italian Job is never remembered as a character study or a twisting caper film. It's a movie with a fantastic heist and car chase at the end; the three Minis that race across Turin's rooftops and through its sewers have become iconic additions to film history. The chase is so good it makes the rest of the film pale in comparison. Oh, and the abrupt ending (intended to leave the movie open for a sequel that was never made) is a fantastic throwback that you never see today (though I suspect Kill Bill Volume 1 will give us something similar).

Coward's appearance in the film is as disposable as Benny Hill's (he plays, of all things, a computer expert who just happens to have a fetish for large-breasted women and who often appears in sped-up scenes). The many supporting characters and odd tangents serve simply to give the movie more than 30 minutes of running time -- dazzling though it may be.

On DVD, producer Michael Deeley offers a commentary track along with Matthew Field, who wrote a book about the movie. The other notable extra is one deleted scene -- a stylized part of the car chase meant to emulate a ballet and shot on an ice rink. It's funny but its reason for deletion from the film proper is obvious, as it would have slowed down the movie considerably.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Peter Collinson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.