A hilarious tongue-in-cheek crime comedy, one of the finest to come out of the Ealing Studios during their most prolific years. Guinness stars as a mild-mannered transporter of gold bullion who, after 20 years of faithful service, blithely decides to steal one million pounds' worth. He
enlists Holloway, an old pal who is a paperweight manufacturer and a bit of a sculptor. They team up with James and Bass, two cockney professional crooks, and the scheme is launched. After a successful hijack, they melt down their booty, mold it into small, souvenir Eiffel Towers, and ship it off
to Paris. Guinness and Holloway follow the gold, only to learn that six of the Eiffel Towers have been purchased by a group of daytripping English schoolgirls.... Much hilarity follows, including a superlative chase scene in which Guinness and Holloway, driving a stolen police car, thwart their
pursuers by issuing contradictory messages over the police radio, which ends by broadcasting "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" to all cars! The film had begun, however, with Guinness telling this story to a man in a swank Rio restaurant. The camera returns there for the conclusion, and we see that
Guinness is not only having a drink with the other chap--he's handcuffed to him.
Guinness is winning as the last man on earth you'd suspect of being a criminal (he was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Gary Cooper, for HIGH NOON). Clarke's screenplay quite rightly won the award. Many of England's best comic actors are seen in small roles, including Sidney Tafler, Peter Bull,
and John Gregson. In a tiny role, you may notice James Fox (brother of Edward), still being billed as William. And in the opening sequence, Guinness hands a cute young woman some money and tells her to buy a little gift. You'll have to look fast to recognize Audrey Hepburn as the little girl.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A hilarious tongue-in-cheek crime comedy, one of the finest to come out of the Ealing Studios during their most prolific years. Guinness stars as a mild-mannered transporter of gold bullion who, after 20 years of faithful service, blithely decides to steal… (more)