Thursday 24 March 2011

Nine Things About The Italian Job For No Particular Reason

In perhaps one of The Incredible Suit's most pointless exercises, I thought I'd highlight some of the things that make "knockabout caper" The Italian Job a highly enjoyable experience for anyone with the capacity for the enjoyment of things. If all this seems a bit redundant just imagine it's 1969 and it'll instantly become new, original and groovy.

The Opening

How is it possible to make a leisurely drive through the Alps in a Lamborghini Miura even more enjoyable? Simple: get Quincy Jones and Don Black to write a lovely song and have Matt Monro drizzle it into your ear like honey but without the irritating clean-up operation that the aural drizzling of actual honey would necessitate. 'On Days Like These' immediately sets up the breezy, unaffordably stylish nature of The Italian Job before slamming it into a bulldozer and exploding in a ball of fire.

Michael Fucking Caine
Michael F. Caine's entrance in The Italian Job is cinema gold. As if his very presence wasn't so effortlessly magnetic in the first place, he magnifies the effect by leering right up to the lens and looking like - well, like some kind of lovable cheeky cockney geezer on the cusp of a "knockabout caper".

He's also uniformly amazing for the rest of the film, working wonders with an already great script. Forget "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" - I frequently find myself quoting lines like "This car belongs to the Pakistani ambassador!", "B-I-G. Big," and "You wouldn't hit a man with no trousers on, would you?" in circumstances as appropriate as you can imagine.

The Bit Parts
Benny Hill! John Le Mesurier! Irene Handl! It's like some kind of dream dinner party. It's easy to drop a bunch of famous faces into a film for almost no reason; it's another thing entirely to get away with it. But then The Italian Job is all about getting away with it.

The Clobber
animated gif maker
Until Caine pulls on the blue jumpsuit that he wears for the duration of the heist, he wears a different outfit in almost every single scene. That's over fifteen costume changes in the first hour of the film. Even Anne Hathaway didn't have that many on Oscar night. And what's more, he looks utterly godlike in every single one, even the ludicrous flowery shirt he gets measured for and NEVER WEARS AGAIN.

Sir Noël Peirce Coward
He was born in 1899 you know. EIGHTEEN NINETY-NINE!

The Self Preservation Society

Has there ever been a more jubilant musical celebration of lovable cheeky cockney geezers enjoying a "knockabout caper" than this song? I've thought long and hard about it, and I've come to the conclusion that probably not. AND it's not even called 'The Self Preservation Society', it's called 'Getta Bloomin' Move On!' Mental.

The Motors
Everyone bangs on about the Mini Coopers, and quite rightly. They're lovely. And although there are 412 separate mentions of the word "Mini" on The Italian Job's IMDb trivia page, at no point does it mention the fact that the crew had to cut holes in the bottom of each one for the actors to put their feet through and run like in The Flintstones because Italian petrol was so expensive. Unbelievable.

The Waltz Of The Mini Coopers

Speaking of the Mini Coopers, this deleted scene fulfills all the requirements of great deleted scenes in that a) it has absolutely no place in the film, and b) it works brilliantly as a standalone piece of nonsense.

The End
Genius. But, like everything else I've mentioned here, you know that.


  1. Haven't seen this film in years so, if nothing else, you have made me want to revisit it. I have a sudden urge to get my skates on, mate.

  2. You'd better put your apples and pears on and pop your Peckham Rye inside your Gregory Peck too, you plate of meat.

  3. For number ten, I'd say the heist itself. Ocean's madcap schemes are a poor second, eighteenth, and last (in order of "ridiculousness to do-able-ility scale"), The Italian Job being 0-999 (i.e. brilliantly un-ridiculous and totally do-able) and Oceans Thirteen being the polar opposite.

  4. Actually - Julia Roberts, srlsy? I fear I may have dreadfully overrated on my random assignment of ocean's episodes.

  5. The Italian Job appears again and again on lists of best films; ones that you assume everybody has seen like Star Wars, Ghost Busters, Men In Black, Bullitt, The Third Man and Citizen Kane.

    Everything about the film is brilliant but like so many classic enduring films that define a genre it won no awards at the time.

  6. You are not going to be sick. You are not going to have your migraine. And everybody is gonna sit in the back of the motor!

    I echo the thoughts of TheUnwashedMass, it's too long since I last saw this film.

    Incidentally, I got the Mark Wallyberg version of The Italian Job for Christmas several years ago, and I'm very proud to say that it's unwatched and still in its cellophane wrapper, and may it stay there until the end of the world.

  7. You know, that Waltz of the Mini Coopers just made my morning. You know when they were making it they were thinking, "this is so brilliant, it's obviously making the cut."

  8. You realise you just said "You'd better put your stairs on and pop your tie inside your cheque/neck too, you feet" right?

  9. Cor blimey me old jam jar, anyone would tom dick I didn't harry lime anything about ruby murray or chicken curry. Rub-a-dub!

  10. The Italian Job is ultimately a sensory assault that, outside of its running time, leaves me feeling like a cheap and used slaaaaaag.

  11. Translated: Cor blimey me old car, anyone would sick I didn't time anything about curry or hurry. Pub!
    =) Wise words!