We’ve had to deal with a lot of uncertainty lately. Pre-lockdown the most dreaded word began with a ‘B’ and not a ‘C’… the much loathed Brexit is making a comeback… and The Italian Job is the perfect remedy.
Anyone who’s spent any time perusing the shelves of tapes at VideOdyssey will know that 80s comedies are the guilty pleasure I most often prescribe for any situation, followed closely by heist movies.
The Italian Job is a bona fide classic of the genre and demands a watch right now.
Featuring London at the height of it’s Swinging Sixties glory, riding high on Beatlemania and World Cup winning splendour.
In breezes a young, blonde and handsome Michael Caine, who’s released from jail and immediately picked up by his glamorous girlfriend in a stolen car.
Caine plays Charlie Croker, who learns his friend’s multi-million robbery has been thwarted by the Mafia and decides to take on the caper and the mob himself.
After breaking back into his prison to visit erudite crime lord Mr Bridger (played to perfection by Noel Coward) and seek the backing for his ambitious plans to put a crew together and steal the biggest gold haul in history.
Having just celebrated its 50th anniversary, this classic film speaks to our times right now, with a need to dig deep and dare to dream about pulling off impossible tasks in the face of adversity.
You can achieve a sense of time travel by watching one of your favourite films. Taking you back to previous moments in your life and giving us a reminder of forgotten hopes and aspirations.
Even just mouthing classic quotes can put you in the driving seat towards finding that feeling of a simpler time in your life and bringing that back to the here and now: “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”
The Italian Job was my dad’s favourite film and one we watched many times together, so even though he recently passed away, I feel his presence every time it’s on. We often talked about scoring a red Mini and driving from Liverpool to Turin.
Featuring the most amazing motor stunts – this film leaves you wondering how on Earth did they achieve all that 50 years ago and with Mini Coopers?
The actual Heist is one of the most delightfully constructed on celluloid. The Chinese government sends £4 million pounds of gold to the Italians to build a Fiat car factory.
An England vs Italy footy match provides the perfect cover for the crew of cockney criminals who cause the mother of all traffic jams and ambush a heavily armoured cavalcade; before escaping through bustling piazzas, tunnels, rooftops and finally over the Alps and across the border into Switzerland.
Other notable hi-lights include comedy icon Benny Hill, who plays a computer expert with a weakness for ‘big’ women and Robert Powell in his first film role.
The score also stands alone for its star quality. Composed by music supremo Quincy Jones it features On Days Like These sung by Matt Monroe over the opening credits and Getta Bloomin’ Move On, otherwise known as The Self Preservation Society, after it’s chorus during the climatic car chase. Michael Caine is among the singers on this track and… “not a lot of people know that!”
The ending of the film is one of the most talked about in movie history and has inspired countless parodies. It is the dictionary definition of cliff-hanger and perhaps the genesis of action films leaving the story open for a sequel.
There could be a lesson for us all in the final predicament Charlie and his crew find themselves in. You can go for glory, but there’s a fine balance to strike between overextending yourself and chasing your dreams.
If you’ve never had the chance to see this classic caper, head on up to The VideOdyssey video shop at Toxteth TV and we’ll hook you up with your very own Italian adventure.
“Hang on a minute lads… I’ve got a great idea!”