Tag Archives: Benny Hill

The Italian Job (1969)

(In French, On Cable TV, April 2018) If you thought that having seen the 2003 remake of The Italian Job negated the need to see the original, think again, because the original is about twice as inventive and ten times as cool as its remake. It’s off to a roaring start as its protagonist (played with impeccably charm by Michael Caine) gets out of prison and straight into London’s Swingin’ Sixties: In-between the cool car, cool clothes and entourage of beautiful women, he’s living the dream and sharing it with us. The film gets more ordinary as it explains the subsequent caper and assembles the team of specialists to see it through. Noteworthy is the script’s emphasis on a primitive form of computer hacking, as traffic signals are trafficked as part of the caper by a computer expert (played by no less than Benny Hill). Cool scenes abound (“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”), culminating in a demented car chase through Turin featuring three of the original Cooper Minis and a spirited singing of “Getta Bloomin’ Move On.”  The only real flaw of the film comes at the ending, which famously ends on a literal cliffhanger and deprives the audience of a truly satisfying ending—although it does trade it for a heavy dose of irony. It doesn’t matter all that much, as The Italian Job remains great good fun from beginning to end. Heck, writing about it makes me want to watch it all over again.