Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1964. Filmways Pictures. Screenplay by Monja Danischewsky, based on the novel The Light Of Day by Eric Ambler. Cinematography by Henri Alekan. Produced by Jules Dassin. Music by Manos Hatzidakis. Production Design by Jacques Douy. Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge. Film Editing by Roger Dwyre.
Thrilling heist caper is right up there with Jules Dassin’s equally memorable Rififi, the setting a lot more colourful this time and the characters a hell of a lot loopier. A group of jaded thieves decide to combine efforts and steal a precious, jewel-engraved knife from the Topkapi museum in Istanbul. When a small-time con man (Peter Ustinov) gets involved, the police decide to sit on him until he rats his friends out. The police were originally suspecting arms smuggling, but thanks to Ustinov’s information get wind of something much more interesting than they imagined. Melina Mercouri is delightful in this adventure, one that reunites her with husband and Never On Sunday director Dassin, as well as Sunday’s composer Manos Hadjidakis.
Academy Award: Best Supporting Actor (Peter Ustinov)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Peter Ustinov); Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Melina Mercouri)