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MICHAEL CAINE IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF 'THE ITALIAN JOB'

Michael Caine looking McQueenish Year: 1969 Rating: **

A stern, turtleneck-clad Michael Caine resembles BULLITT Steve McQueen on THE ITALIAN JOB poster, a misleading heist film as slapstick impairs what could have been a damn cool action vehicle...

Which it is during the 11th hour when those famously nifty minis zip through Italy after Caine's gang of British criminals rob millions in gold... but the chase follows what's a far too easy heist with very few hitches, and the main problem — other than Quincy Jones's horrendously dated hippie-dippy soundtrack — is the overlong setup: a shame since the "collecting of ensemble misfits" is usually involving and fun...

But only Michael Caine — fresh out of prison before breaking back in to talk Noel Coward into funding the heist — seems like he knows what's going on and how the hell to get there, and back: Even the experienced getaway bus driver at the literal cliffhanger finale was the wrong choice, taking mountainous corners like a wacky open road joyride, and... While many viewers loathe the ambiguous ending, it's actually the best (and most suspenseful) scene in the picture since, for the first time, all of the otherwise goofy characters are dead serious, literally for their very lives, which should have happened a lot more times and a whole lot sooner.

The little car chase in THE ITALIAN JOB directed by Peter Collinson
The little car chase in THE ITALIAN JOB
Future Get Carter hoods Tony Beckley and Michael Caine, and cat
Margaret Blye and a handful of babes in THE ITALIAN JOB
Margaret Blye and Michael Caine in THE ITALIAN JOB
John Clive and Michael Caine in THE ITALIAN JOB
"Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea!" Michael Caine, The Italian Job

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