Last week was a tough one but this week I just chose the first 3 movies that popped into my head but this will be a popular week, as opposed to last week, which was a toughie. Wandering through the Shelves is the brainchild of this weekly theme post where you choose 3 movies that fit that weeks’ theme. This week, it’s all about the caper and I could have taken this in so many ways like Bulldog Drummond or The Thin Man series but I went traditional, if I can call it that. Here are my 3...
1. THE ASPHALT JUNGLE-1950
I love this classic caper about a man, Riemenschneider, played wonderfully, by Sam Jaffe, as a conman who is let out of jail after 7 years. Before he can say holy prison yard Batman, he’s back at it wanting to commit a jewelry heist but needs money and man power. He visits with an distinguished, but corrupt, lawyer, played by Louis Calhern, who decides to give him the money plus tell him which men he can use. This lawyer is married but has a gal on the side played by a young Marilyn Monroe in one of her better early roles. Sam meets up with the safecracker, the guy who will drive the getaway car and the thug played really well by Sterling Hayden. You are in on how they will do the crime, acting out the crime and the aftermath. You learn about each character and their hopes and dreams. It is excellently directed by John Huston, written and shot in the classic black & white( ignore the colourized version) which just creates a great film worth seeing.
2. TO CATCH A THIEF- 1955
You know this was a given because it fits so well with this week’s theme. Cary Grant plays a retired jewel thief who must come out of retirement, sort of speak, because there is a copycat trying to place the blame on good ole Cary. He goes to the French Riviera to speak to his old French resistance “friends “ who blame him for being found out as resistance fighters. He soon meets very wealthy American mother and daughter tourists, played by Jesse Royce Landis and the beautiful Grace Kelly. Grace knows who he is and tempts him with her diamonds and her alluring kisses( with a great look into the camera by Cary). When they kiss on the couch, you see the fireworks..how Freudian, Mr. Hitchcock. The gowns (I always wanted the blue o e and the white one), the scenery, Cary and Grace are all beautiful to look at making you forget you are watching a Hitchcock film. It’s one of his most sophisticated films he made which culminates in a fancy masquerade ball.
3. THE PINK PANTHER-1964
I spoke about this film before but I just love it and it so fits the theme. It starts off with Capucine running away so she will not be captured by the police. When she gets into the elevator, she quickly changes her coat, hat and shoes and comes out looking very different. We soon learn she is the wife of inspector Clouseau, played perfectly by Peter Sellers. He is a bumbling oaf who is trying to capture this jewel thief. The rare diamond, called the Pink Panther, owned by the Indian princess, played by Claudia Cardinale, will make an appearance at a Swiss chalet. Clouseau and his wife high tail it to the Alps to protect the princess and the diamond. There we meet David Niven and his horned up nephew, played by Robert Wagner. You find out Niven is the thief and Capucine is his lover. Hijinks ensues which culminates at a masquerade ball and a hilarious chase around the streets of some French town involving men in gorilla suits, a knight, and a zebra. Very, very funny picture with some great songs, great locations and very funny bits. It's so worth seeing
Which 3 would you choose?
I love movies about capers, and you picked three great ones. I have seen all three multiple times. Everyone should watch MM's early career films before she became the famous blonde dazzler in musical comedies. I enjoy her dramatic acting and believe she was underrated as an actress and, for that matter, as a vocalist. I studied The Asphalt Jungle in my college film history course and watched it again in 2007, the year I binged on movies of the mid 20th century and earlier. I am a stickler for watching black & white films in their original form, not colorized.
Notice how many movies revolve around the capers of jewel thieves and feature masquerade balls? I have also seen To Catch A Thief several times and strive to be a Cary Grant completist. I agree with you that the chemistry between Grant and Kelly, the mid 50s gowns, the spectacular setting and the cinematography make Thief one of Hitchcock's finest achievements.
Pink Panther is a hoot, and I am also a Peter Sellers fan and completist. For my pick, I am naming another hoot of a film, the 1988 heist picture A Fish Called Wanda starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline (aka Mr. Phoebe Cates) and Michael Palin. It's hilarious.
Thanks for another week of fun and entertainment, dear friend BB. Enjoy the rest of it and have a safe and happy weekend with my sweet-breath pooch pal Harley!
I'm glad you like all my picks. Marilyn was excellent in this film and her name wasn't even in the main credits until people kept asking who she was.. this film is so good even wooden Syerling Hayden does well. Grace and Cary are just too good looking. Can you imagine if they walked right by you? It puts myflab to shame...lol. I wonder how many films have a masquerade ball in it. Glad you love The Pink Panther and the restnpf the series withh him.i love A Fish Called Wanda! I need to see it again. One of the few times an actor won an Oscar on a comedy( Kevin Kline..hubba hubba)Delete
OMG. There are so many, but I went with the first three that popped into my head and we match on two movies. The Pink Panther and two Cary Grant movies - or did he just pop into my head first? - TCA Thief and Charade.ReplyDelete
And how could I not mention The Great Muppet Caper which is THE best of all the Muppet movies.
The Muppet Caper..brilliant. Cary is great in both films. He's one of my favouritesDelete
Pink Panther - good choice. The Ocean's series comes to my mind.ReplyDelete
I love the Ocean series...so funny and chicDelete
This is a great topic with so many choices. I've seen all of your picks and they are definitely good ones.ReplyDelete
Some that come to my mind are The Italian Job (either version). I've got both versions on DVD I liked them so well.
The other night we watched The Sting which is a classic film in the caper genre. I was surprised to realize I'd never seen it before. It's good, but I found it to be very complex and one has to follow the story closely to get what is going on.
Another film that I think might fit the theme is The Spanish Prisoner (1997). It's been a while since I've seen it, but I recall enjoying it very much and it deals with a clever ruse.
You should get a lot of good suggestions for this caper theme. A lot of good films fit under this.
Tossing It Out
Excellent choices especially The Sting which like you, leaves me scratching my head. I've seen it more than once and still not quote sure what or how it happened. The Spanish Prisoner is a good one with a rare dramatic performance by Steve Martin. He was also in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The Italian job, both versions, are great.Delete
Hi Birgit - well I always know where to come for good film recommendations - I recently saw to Catch a Thief, but I'd enjoy seeing your first ... The Asphalt Jungle ... excellent three to chose - thank you - cheers HilaryReplyDelete
How'd you like To Catch a THIEF? I do believe the Asphalt Jungle is a better film.Delete
I have not seen The Asphalt Jungle, but I've seen the other two. The first film to come to mind was How To Steal a Million, I think it's called. The one with Audrey Hepburn and... His name is escaping me. I can see his face. Shoot. Anyway...ReplyDelete
Peter O'Toole. Yes, that's another good caper filmDelete
Thank you! It was driving me crazy.Delete
Asphalt Jungle is such a tightly constructed film with excellent performances across the board (even the usually boring Sterling Hayden). Marilyn was originally uncredited but there were so many preview comment cards asking "Who's the blonde?" 20th sensing the opportunity made her part of the advertising campaign.
To Catch a Thief isn't one of my favorite Hitchcock films but it is a fun romp and I LOVE Jessie Royce Landis.
The Pink Panther is absurd because of Sellers but a crazy bumbling ride nonetheless.
This is so much easier than last week! I love caper flicks and there are so many choices. The first three that come to mind are the breezy 60's Stephen Boyd/Yvette Mimieux pic "The Caper of the Golden Bulls" set in Pamplona during the running of the bulls. The latter day Edward G. Robinson vehicle "Seven Thieves" with Joan Collins and the inevitable choice of the George Clooney/Brad Pitt "Oceans Eleven", a personal favorite.
Yes, Sterling is good in this film. He usually reminds me of some tree that never moves and when the leaves change colour, they are just brown and fall. ..poor Sterling. I knew that about Marilyn which is weird considering she is in it more thanyou think.Delete
I have not seen your first 2 picks shichbi have marked down. I love the Ocean films and this is a case where the remake is better than the original.
I thought you would have picked Trouble in Paradise. I've seen this film but way too long ago. Which is why I didn't choose it.
I have seen To Catch a Thief, but I remember nothing if it. It is not one of the more memorable Hitchcock films for me.ReplyDelete
No, it's one he made because Hitchcock wanted to go to the Riviera.its just sumptuous in every way.Delete
Ah 2 out of 3 this week Birgit,but the pink panther always makes me laugh…just treated myself to the new downtown abbey dvd keepin it for a wet Sunday….take care xxxReplyDelete
I'd like to hear what you think of it. I was a little disappointed to be honest. I think he tried to fit too much inDelete
LOVE The Pink Panther! Hysterical.ReplyDelete
It's so funny and one feels many had a good time making this movieDelete
I've heard of all of these, but never seen any of them. Wonderful synopses, though, dear Birgit.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you enjoyed this. Maybe, one day, you may see oneDelete
Excellent cherces on yer part! I like all three of those movies, and I really need to rewatch 'Asphalt Jungle' again one of these nights.
Lee mentioned 'THE STING' -- oh, yeah! I love it and own it. That would have to be high on my short list for this neat movie topic.
Let's see, what else comes to mind for me?...
Hmmm.... would 'SLEUTH' with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier count as a "caper" story? If so, that would have to be on my list. I first saw that when I was a kid and the acting knocked me out!
How about a quirky Irish caper? 'WAKING NED DEVINE'? I love and own that one, also.
STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS
I haven't seen Asphalt Jungle, but would like to. Love the other two! The first movie that came to mind was Ocean's 8, starring a stellar female cast led by Sandra Bullock.ReplyDelete