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|Index||155 reviews in total|
Strange really, a flick that was never particularly good, a script to
the most blatant product-placement in history with the Mini
underwhelming from go to whoa...yet it is beloved of film buffs (well at
least by the over 45 set) and veritably held up even as some revered Brit
classic! Closer inspection deepens the mystery! With the exception of
Caine, not a solitary half interesting character appears - the majority are
grade A morons. A snooze-inducing opening 40 minutes and the famous
"car-chase" that in fact is a total fizzer. Absolutely NOTHING happens.
Simply the images of the Minis lurching through the sewers of Turin seems
have created an impression of "excitement" that simply isn't there. By far
the best things in the movie are the stylish opening scenes and the
But having said all that - the film HAS something intangible. Perhaps a nostalgic time capsule of life in the 60's (You DID need to be there!) The wholly lovable English humor that ONLY the Brits can possibly identify with. Michael Caine being...well, Michael Caine....GET CARTER in a lighter moment. Speaking of GET CARTER, it saddens me that following the abortion of a remake of THAT classic (for such it WAS) with Sly Stallone two years back, we now have Marky Wahlberg (of all charismaticless actors)as Charlie Croker himself no less, remaking THE ITALIAN JOB as you read this. Due for release next year, one might wonder WHY they have kept up the original title as the setting is now LA..as was that for GET CARTER. Read my LIPS - AMERICANS have the technology to put a man on the moon but they CANNOT successfully remake BRITISH FILMS - and doubtless Caine will be offered another gratuitous cameo. My GOD guys, remakes generally are "iffy" to say the least.....what did they do to PSYCHO, CLEOPATRA, GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS, PLANET OF THE APES, ROLLERBALL??? need I go on?
I loved this film...the late Fred Emney and Benny Hill's little bit and dammit the whole "englishness" - fancy doing that to an Aston Martin and an E-Type? (no attachment to Ferraris!)
As one reviewer suggested however - take Michael Caine out of the equation and what would anyone have ever remembered? What it DID achieve was to sell a truck-load of Mini's throughout Europe that year!
The original Italian Job was a wonderful movie, particularly for Brits who
hark back to what we fondly (and probably wrongly) think was a better
And now a major studio is going to remake it. And the remake will not work. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Why? It's not because it will star Wahlberg and Norton, (although two more uncharismatic planks of wood are hard to imagine); and it's not because it will be mostly based in Los Angeles; and it's not because it will be filled with cgi generated car stunts.
The reason I fear it won't work, is because, like so many of the recent remakes, it will be literally pointless, in the sense that the makers (re-makers) will completely miss the point of the original.
What is the Italian Job fundamentally about? Is it a heist movie? No, even though the heist is the central plot idea. Is it about a car chase? No, even though the speeding minis give us one of the most enjoyable car chases on film. Is it about the politics and attitudes and behaviour of the times? Well we're getting there, and certainly such nuance and subtlety will be beyond our re-makers.
OK, yes it is about all of those things; but at its core it is about Charlie Croker, how he lives, how he thinks, how he behaves; his whole philosophy of life. It's Charlie we identify with, it's Charlie we love, it's how Charlie behaves that we want to see.
This is a film about a hero.
He's irrepressible, he's optimistic, he's quick witted, he's funny and he's resourceful. And it's how he behaves and it's how he reacts that makes and drives the original. IN EVERY SCENE, FROM BEGINNING TO END.
And it's why the ending is so perfect. Charlie is completely and utterly (and life threateningly) snookered. But he doesn't give up. Not yet any way. The ending is Charlie's, and it's the culmination of everything we have seen him do throughout the whole film.
And what do the re-makers see? A heist movie with a great car chase(which of course they think they will be able to better .dear oh dear!), and some stupid bits with Benny Hill that they can forget about.
And that's why the remake will not work. Because they won't understand what it is they are remaking.
And it's this lack of understanding as to why (each in their own special way) the originals worked, that led to such disasters as the remakes of Get Carter, The Thomas Crown Affair and Planet of The Apes.
And if that all doesn't worry you, just think, even as we speak Joel Schumacher might right now be thinking about what he could do to The Godfather!
"The Italian Job" is an enjoyable caper film with fast pacing (there are almost no dead spots), good car stunts, OK performances and a unique, hard-to-forget ending. But many of the scenes involving Noel Coward supposedly planning the whole "job" from inside the jail are laughable (they're just too far-fetched to be accepted as satire of any kind) and the chase goes on perhaps a bit too long. Still, the film is much better than "Dollars" or "How to Steal a Million". (**1/2)
I have enjoyed this film time and time again. I am a lover of movies of this genre made during the 60s. The styles (including the Minis),the sounds and the actors, all go together to make this a trip into nostalgia heaven. Caine is excelent as the brains Charlie Croker and Noel Coward is complimentary as the backer Mr Bridger. And it`s a good laugh too.
What more could you ask: Michael Caine on top form; a brilliant supporting cast of oddballs; some of the wittiest most exciting action scenes ever; great settings; a fab 60s score and song by Quincy Jones; unforgettable dialogue and, to cap it all, one of the finest endings in the history of cinema.
One of my favourite films of all time this one. The Characters are spot on, and Michael Caine does exactly what he does best. There are so many highlights to this film it is impossible to pick any one out. This is a film you can watch again and again, which is lucky because its on every Christmas in the UK.
Clean, slick, hyperpatriotic and 1960's chic, 'The Job' is an
interesting museum piece. The cars sum it all up. The mini cooper was the
funky little vehicle that sold a million, and its sports version won a
string of international rallies at the end of the 60's. The car rode the
wave of 'cool Britannia' confidence that embraced Carnaby Street, The
Beatles and the soccer World Cup, and also added to that mood by being
successful. The mini cooper proclaims, "we may have lost an empire, but
we're a spunky little country with a role to play in the world." Dinky and
diminutive, but with plenty of poke under the bonnet, this car was the
spirit of Britain 1969.
It is clear that this chirpy cockney gold robbery movie was made for the American market. When the Turin police chief reckons the loss to his city, he does so in dollars rather than lire, even though he is talking to fellow Italians. Twee London stereotypes are everywhere, and the weak script is larded with compliments to America, the land which recognizes youth and talent. 'Inside' becomes 'inside of', all for the benefit of "our American cousins".
Mister Bridger is a bigshot in the London underworld. He is currently in the slammer, but so important is he that he is able to rule the prison like a decadent Roman emperor. Noel Coward plays Bridger to camp excess. The toilet scene with Charlie resembles a homosexual pick-up, curiously mimicking Coward's meeting with Alec Guinness in "Our Man In Havana". Charlie (Michael Caine) is the lovable cockney wide boy who needs Bridger's approval if The Italian Job is ever to happen.
Gold bullion is shipped out of Turin every week at the same hour. British ingenuity can defeat Italian precautions, just as the World Champion English soccer team will be beating the Italian team in the Turin stadium. The robbery is a military operation, drawing on British folk memory and a century of life in uniform. Indeed, the robbers wear a uniform, and if Bridger represents the officer class, with its lofty habit of command and aloofness from anything resembling dirty work, Charlie Croker is the redoubtable NCO who works with the men and controls the operation on the ground.
Some things are done well. Quincy Jones's incidental music is great, especially the complex arrangement of "Self-Preservation Society". The mini coopers driving along the pipeline is a splendid visual image, and the accompanying guitar chords resemble Paul Simon's strumming in the almost exactly contemporary "The Graduate". The film's climax is the boarding of the bus by the mini-coopers, the whole thing executed at speed.
Other aspects, alas, are not quite as impressive. Charlie and Lorna walk around the airport asphalt while the gold is being unloaded. Even if this were believable, why would they draw attention to themselves so ostentatiously? The film is packed with gaudy racial and cultural stereotypes, the underlying premise being that Italians are pushovers. Charlie and his team escape from the hideout just as the Turin police batter down the front door. Isn't it just conceivable that the cops might have thought about covering the rear exit? The soccer fans' van is ridiculous, and finds it ridiculously easy to work its way through the traffic jam. I didn't like the scene on the parabolic roof - it seemed slow and pointless. And why would cops and robbers race around a velodrome track? What benefit is gained by pushing the cars out on the mountain road, apart from obtaining some nice images to put in the movie?
'The Job' is very much a product of its era. Robert Redford turned down the role of Croker in order to play Sundance, and it is interesting to note how this film has dated markedly, while "Butch Cassidy" hasn't at all. Admittedly, part of the ageing process is attributable to the 60's setting - attractive villains live in and among fast cars, swish hotels and pretty girls, and wicker chairs hang from ceiling chains, while apartment walls are festooned with 'pop art' posters. Jokey camera work is a must in this type of film (for example, the zoom-ins on the van during the count-down).
"The Italian Job" is like the Turin computer - cumbersome and amusingly quaint, but fascinating to look at, if only in order to marvel at the way things used to be.
Verdict - Charming period piece.
I don't know where to begin with this movie. It's full of flaws and
weaknesses. I can only barely give it a 6 because Michael Caine is
cool, Benny Hill was funny (but pointlessly underused) and the heist
and car chase were generally creative and exciting. It was vaguely
amusing (and sometimes very funny) the way Caine kept shouting at his
team, who really were like a bunch of kids, so immature and selfish.
Caine's character's general attitude is so care-free, he has no doubts
about who he is or what he does. It's just his thing: attractive women,
stealing cars or money and getting into trouble.
But then we're left with the countless weaknesses. Some of the editing was very tacky. One bit with a woman complaining was sped up. It didn't work. Most of the comedy misses. Maybe you have to be British. Or live in the 60s. But then I've enjoyed comedy from all over the world, new and old, so it must just be weak. Caine was funnier in Golmember. Just before Caine's famous line about "the bloody doors", which was very funny for the 5 seconds of screen-time it took, the camera keeps zooming in as he counts down. It's completely unnecessary and very typical for the time. The music was also very dated. Actually pretty unpleasant to listen to, it adds nothing, almost anything else would have been better. The point is, it's not timeless or appropriate but is instead strongly attached to the time and place it was made. It was the latest fashion, a fad which now shows decades of age. This applies to multiple aspects of this film and many others.
One of the worst mistakes in chase scenes is where they have the camera moving in the opposite direction to the action, as if to create more speed or velocity. It's a terrible idea. It's been used in Transformers, Big Hero 6 and countless other movies. It always looks awful. The best way to capture speed or action is a smooth, loose, long shot that stays with the moving vehicles. You feel the air, the road, everything moving past. Or you hold the camera still and let them whiz past. No sudden movements. No rapid cuts. The camera should always be roughly from someone's point of view. Trust me. Movies which have far better chase scenes include: Nolan's Batman trilogy, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Bullitt, the Star Wars movies (yes, all of them), the first two Terminator movies, most James Bond movies and most Pixar movies. The list goes on. This isn't an exaggeration.
The chase here is fun but only mildly so. We don't see the natural flow from one place to another, there's no meaningful sequence, no build- up in tension, no anticipation or exhilaration. Just a random series of stunts. It could be shown in any order and make the same amount of sense. They seem to be getting followed by only one police car at a time. Their tricks are gimmicky and predictable and nothing more than gags. There is sense of danger or risk. Plus, they're dicks. They cause so much destruction and they don't deserve the money. They're not underdogs, just idiots.
The cliff hanger ending is cringe-worthy. It's frustrating, not funny. This movie has no morals, no heart. That would be fine if it was hilarious and action-packed. But it is neither. It's tepid. It's like a soft drink that's gone flat. The characters are stupid and arbitrarily succeed or fail based on what the script decides.
The Italian Job glorifies theft. These guys are jerks. They're not likable. Ocean's Eleven (2001) was also overrated. It had mild comedy and a convenient heist made possible through the magic of movies, not logic. It placed all its bets on its coolness, of which it had very little. A classic flaw in circular logic - "being cool" doesn't make you cool. This movie is very similar, overly confident and cocky but with little work or detail or depth put into it.
They discuss their plans seemingly in public, in front of so many other people. There are no twists or betrayals. This seems highly unrealistic. With that many people, how does the information not leak? The mafia seem completely unnecessary in the movie. Many parts of the movie were difficult to follow. One character gets cheered in jail. So they knew he was behind the crime? Why do they care? Is it a rebellious act against rich people who we all apparently hate? When they get the minis into the bus, why do they keep the bus moving? Stopping would get them all on in seconds after which they can drive as fast as they want.
If you watch this movie, have low expectations. This is not a clever crime thriller. Think of it as a silly, immature movie that's trying to be funny which has some nice stunt and chase parts. Maybe it'll help if you're drunk or haven't seen a good movie before.
It is difficult to imagine a world where car chases are new and this
film was certainly in uncharted territory when this film was shot.
But the car chase is really all there is to the film. The set up is slow and the "women as objects" and men as "the cheeky rogue" is just juvenile and tedious. So, the reason why the Austin Powers films are funny - women going crazy over him for no logical reason - is played as serious here. So the whole nymphomaniac fantasy concept just seems lame.
The pacing is pretty slow and there's no by-play or sub-plot to help hold interest. It's just one long "and here's how we did what we told you we would do". I am sure fans of the film will say my points are invalid, but I offer them not to negate the popularity of the film, but to warn those that haven't seen it to not expect some kind of "Mission: Impossible!" 60s adventure. It's 13 whining guys stealing gold. Brilliant car chase sequences.
The Italian Job. No other film could sum up the sixties England better than this film. It shows the second most popular car EVER taking part in the best robbery every commited. Every thing about the Film is superb. It has everything that anyone could want. Caine plays a brilliant part as Charlie Croker. His stunning girlfriend, Lorna (Margret Blye), fills the important role as the female distraction. Charlie Croker is the loveable rogue, and finally THE BEST cliff hanger ending ever. Scrap that, the best ending ever. Many people don't appreciate the ending, but watch the film for the stunts anyway. No film in its genre has ever come close to this......
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