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An American gangster is exiled from the United States for criminal activity and is sent back to the Greek island where he was born. Once on the island, he is watched by a corrupt local police chief. Upon meeting an exiled king, he attempts to purchase the king's family jewels for a million dollars. However, when he wires for the money to his associates back home, they double cross him and send him a beautiful gun moll instead. Written by
If Brynner got paid per word- he'd be a millionaire
In this fast talking, mostly comical movie- Yul Brynner plays an American gangster, Nico March and dressed appropriately for the part, that has been deported to the country of Greece. Along for the ride is his goody-two-shoes girlfriend Gabby Rogers, played by Mitzi Gaynor, and they are living the boring life of visitors on the coast of Greece.
Nico meets a laundry load full of suspicious characters while cooling his heels and even meets the exiled King Pavel II played by Noel Coward. He comes up with a clever plan to steal the King's crown but there are just as many other criminals waiting to do the exact same thing.
If you are reading this review without watching the movie then you may believe that it is a nice semi-mystery and cunning portrayal of the criminal mind. Perhaps it would have been a better movie had the writers decided to go that way. Instead we have Brynner and Gaynor playing a comedy team that was so ill-matched it took away from the entire story. When a person thinks of Yul Brynner- 'Comedy'- does not come to mind, nor does comedy come to mind in this presentation. First of all, some people have a hard time clearly understanding words that Brynner speaks. Now throw in Brynner speaking like the fast talking Fed-Ex commercial man, and even the most noted linguist teacher would have a problem with the dialog.
Mitzi Gaynor added very little to the script by just playing the sweet unintelligent girlfriend and doing nothing that caused interest to the character. The only time that the viewer really takes notice of Gaynor is when she, along with Coward, is singing the title song 'Surprise Package' and that comes too late to help the movie.
Not to take anything away from Yul Brynne but he appear a miscast for this type of movie. Perhaps another actor could have helped with the interest of this film. But that is a moot point. But I will say that the movie did have some nice 'one-liners'.
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