Friday, June 26, 2015

22: The Italian Job (1969)

So many classic moments. Not just the visual effects of having the coloured Minis driving through the back streets of Turin, but the wonderful cast put together to include Michael Caine at his absolute peak, Noel Coward of all people ruling the roost from behind bars and even Benny Hill as the somewhat 'troubled' scientist. Add some music by Quincy Jones, references to the England football team (the current World Cup holders) and you have a joyous portrait of 1969 as well as a tremendous story.

Then you watch it again and enjoy the performances even more. The quotes are legendary:

"'You must have shot an awful lot of tigers, Sir' - 'Yes, I used a machine gun'"

"Just remember this - in this country they drive on the wrong side of the road."

And of course...

"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"

And then there's the Self-Preservation Society song and the frankly bizarre ending, the bus teetering over the edge of a cliff with no way out unless they lose all the gold. All set up for a sequel.. which of course never happened, so that means it's up to us to figure out what Michael Caine's "great idea" was. In 2009 the Royal Society of Chemistry ran a competition to find the best scientifically-sound solution, the only conditions being it took less than thirty minutes and did not use a helicopter. You can read about the winning solution here, but it just goes to show how deeply ingrained the film is in the UK's national consciousness to still be not only recognisable but causing debate after 40 years.

Just like me, right?

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