Thursday, December 18, 2008

Topkapi (1964)

After years of enduring movie lampoons of his 1955 crime-caper classic Rififi, director Jules Dassin topped them all with his own spoof, Topkapi. It's a rather disreputable crew that teams for the elaborate jewel theft masterminded by Maximillian Schell. Sexy Melina Mercouri (Mrs. Dassin) is probably the best of the batch: the others are faffling Robert Morley, unreliable Gilles Segal and Jess Hahn. Bumbling Peter Ustinov (who won an Oscar for his performance) is duped into helping the thieves, and soon finds himself uneasily straddling both sides of the law. As in Rififi, the theft itself (taking place in Istanbul's Topkapi Palace museum) is played out in near-complete silence. We won't tell you how the crooks are foiled; just be advised that money flies out the door when something else flies in the window. Topkapi was based on The Light of Day, a somewhat more somber novel by Eric Ambler.

~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Starring Melina Mercouri and (Sir) Peter Ustinov

Akim Timoroff, our favorite Armenian who plays all the Turk/Arab/Indian roles in 60s Hollywood (like After the Fox with Peter Sellers).

And rumors of a remake:

Former JAMES BOND PIERCE BROSNAN is set to return to the big screen as master thief THOMAS CROWN in a remake of PETER USTINOV's 1964 crime caper TOPKAPI. Brosnan hopes to cleverly implant his Thomas Crown character into the Topkapi plot, which revolved around the theft of a jewelled dagger from a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The new film will be called THE TOPKAPI AFFAIR. Brosnan tells website, "(Topkapi) is much loved by people who love that genre of film, and it has a sentimental resonance to it. "So we just took Thomas Crown off the shelf, kind of dusted it off, and took Topkapi, which is much loved, and is also in the cannon of the MGM library, so it didn't cost us anything. "This version of Topkapi will have a different part, different woman, and different affair... and we're using wonderful locations." The THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR remake, which starred Brosnan and RENE RUSSO, was a critical and commercial success when it was released in 1999.

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