Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nugget Reviews - 7

The capers are here! 

How to Steal a Million ( 1966 ) 18k

An intrepid insurance investigator discovers a master painting forger in Paris but falls in love with his daughter and helps aid her in stealing back one of her papa's forgeries - a statuette valued at one million dollars - from the Paris LaFayette Museum. Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, Hugh Griffith, Charles Boyer. 20th Century Fox. Directed by William Wyler. 

This is undoubtedly one of Oma's favorite movies. We had watched it countless times growing up ( these kind of films were shown for our education! ) and Oma adored it because it brought back memories of the time she spent in Paris and the people she knew. She especially enjoyed Monsieur Bonat's secret entrance to his art studio and wished that we had one. I did too! Anyway, it's a wonderful romantic comedy and has great atmosphere. Paris. That alone earns it an 18k rating!


The Ladykillers ( 1955 ) 14k

A sweet little old lady is known at the local police station for telling rather imaginative tales of activities she thinks her neighbors are taking part in, but when a group of real bank robbers take lodging in her house with their stash of the lolly she finds the police do not believe her story.  Alec Guinness, Katie Johnson, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellars, Cecil Parker, Danny Green. Ealing Studios. Directed by Alexander MacKendrick. 

This is always a delight to watch, in no small part due to Katie Johnson's marvelous performance as the little old lady who unwittingly bumps off all of the bank robbers. My grandmother always enjoyed Peter Sellers performance best and wished that she had lived in a little house by the railroad tracks. Bless her heart, in real life I'd doubt she would have put up with the rumbling.Screenwriter William Rose claims that he dreamed the entire plot one night and only had to write down the details when he awoke. That dream earned him the BAFTA award for Best British Screenplay.


The Pink Panther ( 1963 ) 18k

A jewel-thief, known as the Phantom is prancing across Europe stealing the most priceless jewels. Inspector Clouseau attempts to capture the Phantom when it is rumored that Princess Dala has the Pink Panther, the largest diamond in the world, in her possession during a ski trip in northern Italy. Little does the Inspector know that the Phantom's accomplice is none other than his own wife! David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Peter Sellars, Capucine, Robert Wagner, Brenda de Banzie. Mirisch Corporation. Directed by Blake Edwards. 

Now this is one delightful film! It is no wonder that it spawned 10 sequels. But alas, like most films the first remains the best. Inspector Clouseau appears as one of the most original detectives to ever hit the big screen, being both terribly cunning and clumsy at the same time. The Pink Panther boasts a superb cast of comedic talent, features beautiful location scenery at Cortina d'Ampezzo, and has a wonderful soundtrack from music maestro Henry Mancini. And who can forget the lovable Pink Panther himself? It was this film which introduced the spunky cartoon character. 


Gambit ( 1966 ) 14k

Two criminals take part in the theft of priceless antiquity residing in the private collection of millionaire recluse Mr. Shabandar, with the help of an American dancer disguised as his late-wife. Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, Herbert Lom. Universal Pictures. Directed by Ronald Neame.

One can never go wrong with a Ronald Neame film and this movie is no exception. While it does not earn an 18k gold rating from Pete ( due to its slower pace ) it is nonetheless a very entertaining caper. Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine make a marvelous team and it is a shame that they did not make more films together. 


L'Homme de Rio aka That Man From Rio ( 1964 ) 14k

An airman embarks on an 8 day leave in Paris to visit with his fiancee but within one hour sees her kidnapped in order to gain information about a South American statuette her father, a professor, discovered. His pursuit of the villains takes him to Rio De Janeiro and the Amazon jungle. Jean-Paul Belmondo, Francoise Dorleac, Adolfo Celi, Jean Servais. United Artists. Directed by Phillipe de Broca. 

That Man from Rio capitalized on the popularity of the James Bond spy features and when it was released it became the 5th highest-earning film of the year ( in France ). In the States, hardly anyone knew of the film. But what a great movie they missed! That Man from Rio packs a wholloping good punch in its 110 minute run-time and there is a hardly a minute's pause in the action. Jean-Paul Belmondo is a ravishing good lead as our James Bond/Indiana Jones adventurer hero. 


  1. Good list! I love "How to Steal a Million," and I really ought to see "Ladykillers" some day soon.

    1. It's been a long while since we've seen The Ladykillers as well, but I remember it being a great British comedy.