Michael Caine is a jewel thief recruited by Eric Portman and wife Giovanna Ralli for a big job. Caine falls in love with Ralli, but that’s fine with Portman, who’s gay. There are yet more secrets that he has yet to reveal, however, and they could jeopardise the success of the partnership.
As an example of how not to make a thriller, this is hard to beat. John Barry is undoubtedly one of the great film score composers, but the music should support the film, and not the other way aro…nd, which is exactly what happens as his guitar concerto, in its entirety, is performed (conducted on-screen by Barry), cross-cut with one of the two big burglary scenes. Result: the robbery is protracted to the point of tedium, the cross-cutting drives one to distraction, and the suspense is killed. And that’s the high point. Thereafter, a whole lot of nothing happens, filled with pretentiously oblique but meaningless dialogue, and the whole thing comes to an end with a preposterously ponderous crunch. And don’t even get me started on Bryan Forbes’ insufferably smug “artistic” direction.
Mono and 2.0 stereo options are here. The stereo version adds some warmth and depth to the music, but there is no surround action going on here. The music is decently handled, but not completely free of distortions. Similarly, the dialogue is sometimes afflicted with a slight sibilance. A completely unexceptional audio track.
The film looks much better than it sounds. The colours are very strong, with excellent flesh tones and blacks. The image is extremely sharp, and there is no visible grain or edge enhancement. The print is in pretty much perfect shape, with no damage or signs of the passing of time. Very nice.
There’s a featurette about John Barry, which makes sense, since he’s the only one who really did a good job on this film. The same logic goes for the isolated score track. There are also trailers for this and the other recent (bad) Caine films.
This is worrisome. The Cinema Classics Collection is starting to look like the Festival of Lousy Caine Movies.
Special Features List
- “The John Barry Touch — The Music of the Master” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailers
- Isolated Score and SFX Audio Track