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Oliver Reed and Michael Crawford play two brothers who are always trying to find some way to succeed with cleverness rather than simple drudgery. Crawford is constantly living in his brother's shadow as the one who gets caught. After Crawford is forced to resign from the army after an episode of unappreciated cleverness, the two decide their careers would go better if there was a large amount of publicity, so they decide to steal the crown jewels from the tower of London. Bombs, misdirection, disguises and acting allow them to enter the tower with all of the alarms turned off. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
While filming a night scene in Piccadilly Circus, director Michael Winner set off an unannounced smoke bomb, causing horrendous traffic jams, after which he sped off in a taxi with the film magazine, leaving other members of the crew to be arrested. This incident caused such resentment that for many years afterwards permission to film there was denied; John Landis' An American Werewolf in London (1981) was the first to be allowed to do so. See more »
Why couldn't Michael Winner keep making films of this caliber?
Two clever, but rebellious and anarchic upper-class brothers (Oliver Reed and Michael Crawford) plot the ultimate robbery - the theft of the crown jewels from the Tower of London and concoct what they believe is the perfect alibi; the trouble is, can they trust one another?
Both are a couple of drifters from a highly privileged background and have been given the best in life, but they are bored and suffer from a superiority complex which means they think they are above the law and that winning is all that matters. The theft is a chance to cock a snook at the British establishment, of which they are a part, and to brag about it to their party-going 'hooray' friends, thus enabling them to become part of folklore for their generation. They believe they can get away with it so long as the jewels are returned to the Tower - and there lies the crunch.
The opening scene shows the Crawford character being slung out of the army for breaking every rule in the book and circumnavigating the army's chain of command so that he can capture his objective on Salisbury Plain. The fact that he used his initiative is neither here nor there - he's a rebel with no ethics and that doesn't fit well with the British Army. In time of war, you need buccaneers like the brothers in order to win the day. They are straight out of sixteenth century tradition of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh and this coincides exactly with the spirit of the hedonistic 'swinging sixties' where anything goes.
The picture is tremendous fun and is well scripted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, two of the best screenwriters around. Michael Crawford didn't want to participate in the making of the film originally as he thought no-one would believe he could be Oliver Reed's brother. However, prior to filming, he met Reed's real-life brother who displayed an uncanny resemblance to Crawford and this made him change his mind. THIS MOVIE MUST BE BROUGHT OUT ON DVD NOW!!!
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