The Italian Job (1969) Looks Great On 4K Ultra HD

The Italian Job, a 1969 comedy caper starring Michael Caine and Noël Coward, is now available on 4K UHD by way of Kino Lorber.

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” – Charlie Croker

Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) is recently out of jail and is already planning his next big heist. Croker and his company of thieves end up targeting a gold bullion shipment in Turin. He breaks back into jail in order to get the financial backing from Mr. Bridger (Noël Coward). Pulling off the job is no easy feat. This group takes on the mob, police, and traffic in the process. These are real traffic jobs in the film. I mean, they’re creating the traffic jam itself while filming and somehow people never saw the cameramen.

One of the funniest things in cinematic history is ending The Italian Job on a literal cliffhanger. I mean, Croker and company are hanging on a cliff and trying to save the gold. This is when he says, “hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.” While a sequel never saw the big screen, a sequel series focusing on Croker’s grandchildren is in the works for Paramount+.

As female characters go, Lorna (Margaret Blye) was written as a developed character. There’s a love scene written between the Lorna and Charlie. But once the film went into production, director Peter Collinson manages to inject some more comedy into the film. I mean, once you start casting the film, it starts to change the tone of what Troy Kennedy Martin was going for. Regardless, Michael Caine and Noël Coward deliver solid performances. I’m more familiar with Caine’s work in the Christopher Nolan movies and other recent films but this is something else. It’s weird watching Caine as a younger actor but my G-d, the man can be funny when necessary.

Peter Collinson certainly a nice job with directing. Interestingly, producer Michael Deeley preferred Peter Yates because of his previous relationship. Anyone directing the film needed to be able to shoot cars, which is why Yates was probably in mind for the job. In any event, the film is beautifully lensed by Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Douglas Slocombe. I cannot say enough nice things about the car chase during the climax. That said, Slocombe reflects in the bonus docs and says that he would shoot some of the chase in slow-mo if he could do it all again. But also, you can argue that the film in and of itself is a car commercial especially for Mini Cooper. They only have three cars (red, white, and blue) during the climax but they make it work to their advantage. Still, all those damaged cars.

Ian Kennedy Martin originally had an idea for a story set in London. Unfortunately, nobody was going for it at the BBC. His brother, Troy Kennedy Martin, borrowed this idea and moved the setting to Turin, Italy. Meanwhile, Robert Evans became the head of Paramount after Charles Bluhdorn acquired the company. The next thing you know, Paramount acquired the film. Because this is a British film, it was written with Michael Caine in mind for the role of Charlie Croker. Obviously, Paramount wanted Robert Redford because every did at this point in the 1960s.

Musically, Quincy Jones–a celestial twin of Michael Caine–handles the score but we need to talk about the songs. “Getta Bloomin’ Move On” is better known to people as “The Self Preservation Society.” It’s such a catchy song with rhyming East End phrases and also accompanies the climactic car chase.

Featuring a spectacular performance from Michael Caine, The Italian Job remains one of the best representations of British culture in the late 1960s.

Bonus Features

DISC 1 (4KUHD)

  • New HDR/Dolby Vision Master by Paramount Pictures – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary by Screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin and Matthew Field, the Author of The Making of THE ITALIAN JOB
  • Audio Commentary by Producer Michael Deeley and Matthew Field, the Author of Michael Caine: You’re a Big Man

DISC 2 (BLU-RAY)

  • New HD Master by Paramount Pictures – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary by Screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin and Matthew Field, the Author of The Making of THE ITALIAN JOB
  • Audio Commentary by Producer Michael Deeley and Matthew Field, the Author of Michael Caine: You’re a Big Man
  • THE GREAT IDEA: 2002 Documentary (25 minutes)
  • THE SELF PRESERVATION SOCIETY: 2009 Making-of Documentary (86 minutes)
  • GETTA BLOOMIN’ MOVE ON: 2002 Documentary (24 minutes)
  • MINI ADVENTURES: 2009 Featurette
  • The Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Matthew Field
  • Original Theatrical and Re-Release Trailers

DIRECTOR: Peter Collinson
SCREENWRITER: Troy Kennedy Martin
CAST: Michael Caine, Noël Coward, Benny Hill, Raf Vallone, Tony Beckley, Rossano Brazzi, and Margaret Blye, with Irene Handl, John Le Mesurier, Fred Emney

Paramount released The Italian Job in theaters on June 5, 1969. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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