The Italian Job (1969)
June 5, 2018 4:59 PM - Subscribe

Comic caper movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam.

Slant: 1969’s The Italian Job is a freewheeling, completely unpretentious chase comedy about a gang of British hoods who plan to steal $4 million in gold from the Italian Fiat mafia. Many of the subtle jabs at British patriotism and isolationist attitudes toward the rest of Europe don’t really become apparent until well after its open ending, which literally has the Brits teetering between remaining (and dying) in Europe and fleeing the continent. (The exception to the film’s subtext, of course, is Noël Coward’s marvelously crusty performance as Brit mob boss Bridger, who espouses the supremacy of the Queen even as he is being held in a definitively laissez faire white-collar prison cell.) Michael Caine plays another good-humored swinger here, and I would hazard a guess that the freaky orgies that are obliquely suggested in the first few minutes of the film probably went directly into Mike Myers’s borrowed-shtick notebook. Director Peter Collinson seems to relish grouping every detail of the film into threes: three secretaries, three getaway cars, three sexual escapades. He also keeps the logistics of the big heist that makes up the last third of the film exciting and different. The Italian Job isn’t the first movie to take car chases into strange and new environments, but it sure is creative (the culminating sewer chase is actually quite visceral). The whole goofy package gets its bow from Benny Hill, who goes after “big women” so he can grab a handful of their chunky trunks.


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posted by MoonOrb (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Noel Coward greeting his populace in the prison is a classic.
posted by brujita at 8:02 PM on June 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

All hail His Highness, Noel Coward.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2018

What does the Royal Society of Chemistry care?
posted by Naberius at 9:35 AM on June 6, 2018

I don't remember much about this movie, but the computer hacking scene was unrealistic as they always are :D :D
posted by Calzephyr at 11:38 AM on June 6, 2018

Obligatory link: You Were Only Supposed To Blow The Bloody Doors Off!
posted by Pendragon at 7:24 AM on June 7, 2018

I was excited to watch this but aside from blowing the doors off and the Mini chase, I remember it feeling really confusing and the ending threw me for a loop. I should probably watch it again, especially now that I know that Michael Caine was the facial prototype for Willie Garvin.
posted by PussKillian at 2:10 PM on June 7, 2018

I watched this last night. On average, how long does it take to get the ending song out of one's head? Days? Weeks? It is futile?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2020

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