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Directed by Ronald Neame
Produced in 1966
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Julian Upton sits back and relaxes with this sparkling sixties jewel-heist caper starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine.
Exotic locations, feather-light comedy, Rififi-style crime and blacked-up character actors – Gambit is the kind of effervescent caper movie they could only make in the 1960s.
Michael Caine is on top form as the – wait for it – shouty Cockney con-man trying to break into the big time as a gentleman cat burglar, recruiting Eurasian dancer Nicole Chang (Shirley MacLaine) to help him steal a priceless bust from one of the world’s richest men, Ahmad Shahbandar (Herbert Lom).
There’s real comic and sexual chemistry between the leads, and MacLaine shows off her talent for statuesque mime by remaining entrancingly silent and poker-faced for the film’s first 30 minutes. Making sure there’s never a dull moment, director Ronald Neame handles the comic, romantic and thriller elements with equal aplomb, but his real touch of genius is having the heist perfectly executed in a dream sequence before staging it in all its clumsy reality. Add in solid production values and a catchy score by Maurice Jarre and you’ve got 100 minutes of great, sparkly fun.
Julian Upton on 20th October 2009
Author of 172 reviews
One of the classic comic heist movies of the sixties. Michael Caine (in the same year as Alfie) takes the lead as a cockney thief who conspires to steal a priceless statue. All he needs is the right accomplice to play the part - and Shirley MacLaine's showgirl fits the bill. Of course, events unfold differently to how they are planned, but then little is what it seems in the twisting plot.
Publisher: Second Sight
Length: 104 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 30th November 2009
Cat No: 2NDVD3168
Subtitles: Hard of Hearing - English
- Audio commentary from Ronald Neame.