on 29 February 2012
A fact to face here is that everybody loves The Italian Job. I'm 17 and I love it. So the original film has obviously been reviewed to death. So I'll do my review on the actual Blu-ray copy itself.
The picture is very very impressive. It has been cleaned up really well and makes the film that much better. Blemishes have been removed. I don't remember seeing any, but I imagine that you could if you were sad enough to go through the film frame by frame. Very good picture.
You have two options for sound. A remastered original mono option or Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option. The sound is also good enough. Many people have complained that it's too low, but trust me it's really not that low at all. It still has that old movie kind of sound to it, which adds to its originality.
My favourite extra had to be the deleted scene. Beautifully done and also comes with a commentary explaining why it was cut. The interviews are interesting to watch and the commentaries are interesting to listen to.
All in all I would recommend this Blu-ray to anybody who's a fan, and those who aren't. No collection is complete without it!
I ripped the shrink-wrap off this little gem this morning with the glee of a six-year old delinquent given a day pass to Cadburys. I then sat down to watch it and emerged two hours later with the grin of a 51-year old Cheshire cat on Viagra.
We all know "The Italian Job" is a Sixties classic, but what you don't know is that this 40th Anniversary reissue of it (issued today 15 June 2009) is simply off the charts good...
First up is the print - which is GLORIOUS - as pristine as you could hope for and a joy from start to finish. And although it doesn't state it on the outer box, this is the fully restored British Film Institute version, which has been cleaned up frame-by-frame (and those clean shots are used in the "Making Of" extras too). One of those features is the 30th Anniversary reissue trailer from 10 years ago, which uses the famous "...doors off..." van sequence. Untouched - it's covered in scratches and has no definition whatsoever - it allows you see what the film stock did look like as opposed to how beautiful it looks now after restoration.
There are so many scenes that now stand out - as Matt Monro's cheesy song "On Days Like These" plays and the car drives through the Alps in the opening credits - when Charlie comes out of prison as he walks through the gates and Maggie Blye greets him in a stolen car from the Pakistani Embassy - when the three Mini Coopers climb the roof of the football stadium with the Italian cops in pursuit - it's just all BEAUTIFUL. The BFI have also done "Zulu", "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner" and "Saturday Night And Sunday Morning" and this is up there - done to the same stunning standard as they were (see my reviews).
The extras are generous too (nearly two hours worth):
1. Commentary with Screenwriter Tony Kennedy Martin and Author Matthew Field
2. Commentary by Producers Michael Deeley and Author Matthew Field
3. Mini Adventures (in HD)
4. "Self Preservation Society: The Making Off The Italian Job" (in HD) - features new interviews with the cast, writers, producers including Michel Caine, Maggie Blye, Troy Kennedy Martin, Michael Deeley, reminiscences on Noel Coward, the Director Peter Collinson, Quincy Jones on the cool score etc...
5. Music Video (in HD)
6. The Deleted Scene With Commentary by Author Matthew Field
7. Theatrical Trailer
8. Re-release Trailer
The casting of course was a mixture of luck, fate and genius - Caine perfect as Charlie Croker the likely lad, Benny Hill as the groping computer boffin, the suave yet deadly Raf Vallone as the Turin Mafia boss and Tony Beckley as the dandily dressed Camp Freddy. But the biggest coup of all was Noel Coward as Mr. Bridger - the master-criminal doing time in her Majesty's prison service. He has tea and scones, worries about the British economy and has his cell plastered with pictures of the Queen. Coward is just priceless as he lords about the decking of the prison block, "Rule Britannia" played behind him by a string quartet - it's enough to make you howl with laughter...
You see you forget how funny The Italian Job is - the catty gay tailor saying Charlie's pre-prison clothes could now be part of a museum exhibit, Coward standing beside two prison guards as they hand him his two newspapers and a toilet roll. Prison Governor John Le Mesurier's look of astonishment as Coward complains that 'his' toilet was invaded by Michael Caine (pitching the heist to him) - a man's toilet is his castle... The snooty garage manager played beautifully by John Clive counting the money Michael Caine has just given him for looking after his Aston Martin DB - it's been in his garage for two years while Caine was away in `India'. "I was shooting tigers old boy..." Garage owner counting the fifties, " ...there must have been an awful lot of tigers sir..."
The Turin locations are wonderfully colourful, the mountain scenes as crisp as those in the James Bond reissues and Caine's freckles clearer than ever - all of it - what a peach!
I've reviewed a lot of oldies on the new BLU RAY format of late - some successful, some woeful - but this is up there with the very best. In fact, I suspect that it'll tickle Michael Caine pink that his films "Zulu" and "The Italian Job" will go a long way towards establishing BLU RAY as 'the' format to restore old movies to and preserve them properly. Onwards to David Lean boys...
As you can tell - and if you'll forgive the pun - I was blown away.
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Recommended - big time.
on 2 June 2012
Well being over 50, of course The Italian Job was played ad nauseum during my growing up years on the telly. However, let me just say this: After buying the Blu-Ray edition, I then brought the CD soundtrack, the book on The Making Of The Italian Job, plus occasionally still slip back in the Blu-ray film just to marvel at the great feel good factor and cinematography of this marvellous movie classic! In otherwords, you ain't really seen the film and ain't really fully appeciated it until you get to sit through it in glorious HD! Right from the opening shot, it proves it's lovingly digitally remastered credentals: There it is! A blue sky with actually NOOOOOOO grain! Unlike some Blu-Ray transfers from the same period!
Of course there's no point in talking about it's plot which most people now know by heart anyway. But if you've always liked the film, than prepare yourself to truly love it once you've experienced a glorious Blu-Ray HD transfer, as well as the great enlightening and entertaining Extras that come along with it! Full marks to how a classic on Blu-Ray should be released!
How anyone can give this classic film a mere one or two star rating is beyond me, i can only assume they are confused with the truely dire remake that was set in L.A. because frankly that version was a complete waste of time, especially as the original (which i am reviewing) is such a classic.
The storyline which does take time to build up (like all good stories do) is set around the often used scenario of a loveable english ganster mob performing a blag and getting away with it (almost). The script contains much subtle british humour, and the shots of 60's London with empty streets and classic cars are a joy to behold. All the usual ingredients for films of this genre are there, the initial doubt, the bungled rehersals, and the most unlikely looking bunch of crooks ever seen in the same room that somehow on the day, manage to pull it off. The dialogue is sharp and witty and full to the brim with superb one liners, phrases and sayings, some of which have entered the english language, and how many films script can have that claim to fame?
Michael Caine is peerless as Charlie Crocker, with his unique voice and acting style proving to the be the icing on the cake for this classic British caper. It is his acting and the script that provided an undeniable template for many a British gangster\mob film to follow i.e. Lock Stock \ Snatch \ Layer Cake...
What is worth bearing in mind is that at the time of it's original release (1969) England were very much on a high with the sixties still swinging, we were football world champions, and as a country we were looking forward with optimism to the common market and europe, hence the almost celebratory atmosphere throughout, and the light hearted us against them feel of the whole film.
This is not only a truely classic film, it is solid family entertainment with the loveable Mini Coopers providing the 'rule brittania' ending that we all remember so well. Do they ever get the bullion into the Geneva bank ? "Hang on Lads, i've got a great idea..."
on 5 January 2010
Having seen the original movie some years ago, I am very much looking forward to having this on blu ray.as I have a region A player could anybody tell me whether this is all region or region B.So that if it all region i will definitly buy it
Update on 14th Jan 10
I ordered the film, arrived yesterday and watched it. Good News. Blu ray is a ALL REGION so it will play on any player. As I have region A PS3 player.
The Film Quality is UNBELEIVABLE.It is fantastic. As somebody has said it is as if filmed in high def yesterday.
the extras are good. In the extras on the best scenes is all the MINIS and the lancia dancing(to music) on ice ring like(arena) to a live Orchestra.
This is a movie I will treasure
on 13 December 2009
The picture quality on this one is really fantastic - especially when you consider that the movie is forty years old.
However, like at least one other reviewer, I find the sound is far too low when played on a normal HD TV (Panny Viera). Using an AV receiver helps: but not everyone has one of these. So, to hear this film clearly, you may have to jack the volume up much further than for normal TV listening.
Mind you - low soundtracks on DVDs are not uncommon. I dunno why they make them so low. But I wish they wouldn't.
So, despite the stunning visuals, only three stars from me for the far-too-quiet soundtrack.
on 17 October 2004
I've just finished watching this masterpiece for the umpteenth time and have found yet more gems of the cinematic art to both love and admire.
It reminds one of an England that no longer exists. An England in fact that hardly existed when the film was shot in 1968/69, but that should not detract from the pieces underlying charm. It may not be directed by a depressive Bergman or a visionary David Lean but who really cares? Just enjoy the roller coaster of fun!
Why not suspend the critics persona and simply appreciate the caper for what it is. A celebration of being English and being ever so slightly suspicious of our brethren 'over the water'!
Chill out and discover a sense of humour you hostile desperados!
on 2 May 2013
The Italian Job - 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] Most people of a certain age will be aware of the cockney/continental comedy crime caper, if however, you've never seen it, your in for a treat! For fans and repeat viewers, the Blu Ray version is spectacular, the restoration is filled with love and care and you've never seen the movie shine like this before. Scratches, blemishes, and filming defects have been removed to produce a superb restoration job.
I'll concentrate more on the transfer rather than the movie, but rest assured, this is one of the greatest British movies ever made and its a classic. Featuring a great cast, great story, action, stunts, comedy, and not forgetting a cliffhanger ending to end all cliffhanger endings.
The transfer itself looks beautiful and you could be mistaken for believing this film was made recently and not in 1969, although the swinging sixties are perfectly portrayed. The movie is set between London & Turin, and colour wise, London can look dull & grey, especially as a lot of scenes are initially set within a prison whilst the 'job' is arranged, buildings can look intentionally uninspired and boring, but when we are treated to the psychedelic costumes on screen, the colours really pop. The costumes look fantastic against this backdrop, from Mary Quant miniskirts to pin sharp Saville Row suits, displaying things that were hip during the time of 'Cool Britannia'. Interiors also look great too, and colours appear to be faithfully reproduced, although I wasn't around to witness it for real. And thats all before we even get onto what some people class as the real stars of the movie.....the cars. If your a fan of classic cars, this movie has plenty of eye candy for you, with high levels of detail on show. We have a Lamborghini Miura, Aston Martin DB4, E Type Jags, and of course the fantastic Mini Coopers, which make up the colours of the Union Flag or Mod Roundel, adding more of that cool British 60's style. Its just a real shame to see how a lot of them end up.
Upon seeing the main character for the first time, I initially thought that they had overdone it with the Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), as his skin and features appeared waxy and unnatural. This wasn't the case though, the result came from the picture clarity showing the heavy make up usage for filming, and lets not forget Michael Caine was around 36 when this movie was made. Other characters, and you should recognise a few if you haven't seen the movie before, all show excellent skin tones, and detail (wrinkles, creases and blemishes) that would not be seen on other versions/formats.
The Blu Ray version really shines during the sunny Italian scenes, with images of beautiful mountain vistas, and also in & around Turin itself the disc comes alive. After the duller backdrops of London, the colours really pop in the movie, especially one of the first scenes when the gang arrive from London, the contrast is really evident as we see the stunning Alps against a backdrop of endless blue skies. Shadows are reproduced well, with good depth in black levels. The famous Mini scenes look awesome on this Blu Ray version, and for me, it just felt like watching the movie for the first time.
Unfortunately I can't comment on the audio quality of the disc at the moment as my home theatre system is packed away ready for a move, so it was just viewed & relayed through the T.V speakers. I was more than happy with what was reproduced this way, dialogue was clear, explosions were loud, and the movies soundtrack sounded great, I challenge you to not sing along to 'Get a bloomin' move on'. With a English Restored Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 and English Dolby True HD 5.1 on the disc, I can't wait to watch it again on my surround sound system.
Extras include, two audio commentaries, a detailed 'making of' featuring the cast & crew, and a deleted scene featuring the Mini's, so there's plenty of value at this price.
So if you haven't seen this movie before, or you or looking to boost your Blu Ray collection I can't recommend it highly enough, especially at this price. I am currently adding some 'classics' to my collection and this is the earliest made film in my collection, I have not been disappointed in any way with the transfer. Because of this I'm certainly going to be adding further films that aren't modern Hollywood blockbusters, with the right level of treatment, older movies can look awesome on Blu, even more impressive, so don't let that put you off (My next will be another Michael Caine classic - Zulu, which apparently is also stunning). The Italian Job has plenty of re-watch value and provides lots of laughs, thrills and spills, get it today. Well done Paramount!
After a spell in prison, it's not long before Charlie is planning his next job, and it's a big one...
A plan to steal a delivery of gold from under the noses of the Italian authorities (and the Mafia) leads to what many argue is the greatest car chase sequence in cinema history, there is no argument though - it's never been bettered. This is a film of two distinct parts, the first deals with planning of the heist and when Charlie gains the support of criminal leader Mr. Bridger, the plan gathers momentum. As the team is put together there are some cracking bits of dialogue, particularly around computer genius Professor Peach and his curious ways which give the film a comedy element which remains funny today. The film is perhaps guilty of glamorising the criminal underworld, and the criminals here come across as lovable rogues rather than a menacing force, but the light-hearted feel is part of what has allowed The Italian Job to thrive as a film enjoyed by all ages. It may lack the heaviness of Get Carter, but it is unashamedly entertaining - the second part of the film consists primarily of the Minis in their car chase across Turin and although some moments seem ridiculously implausible it doesn't matter, they look superb and add to the flamboyant whimsy of this fun caper.
The Mini Coopers are a big part of this film, the classic small car is more than a metal box with wheels, they have personality and are just as big a presence as Caine himself. After watching this as a kid I wanted a mini, it was a dream I eventually achieved (though I wrote the thing off the day after I bought it!) and it's impossible to watch this film and not feel part of the of fun as they jump over roofs, nearly do a 360 through a drainage tube, and drive up a ramp to park in the back of a moving bus. Here, Michael Caine sounds more like Michael Caine than he does in any other film! - And there's *that* line, delivered by Caine impressionists over the decades and recently voted the best film one-liner. If you don't know the line I'm referring to then you deserve a good going over by Camp Freddie.
The picture quality on Blu-Ray is a definite upgrade from the DVD. The breezy cool opening sequence where a Lamborghini meanders along the mountainous roads before exploding was disappointing with 'mushyness' of the grassy landscape as is it moves across the panorama. Perhaps that's something to do with the way the video was treated for the text to be added because after this the picture improves. There are some scenes where the level of texture really stands out and there are details I have never been able to see before and it compliments the stunning cinematography. Colours look fabulous here, and this is the psychedelic sixties, so there are plenty of them - much better than the VHS version I watched nearly twenty years ago! Audio-wise there's the option of 5.1 or re-mastered mono - as I don't have a fancy audio system I opted for the nostalgic mono track and it is clear throughout, with no instances of speech drowned out by car engines or the brilliant score. There are some standard but still impressive bonus features here too. In addition to two commentaries there is a 'making of' documentary which is nearly as long as the film itself, plus a documentary about the Mini - both are very interesting and it's clear that a lot of love has gone into them. There's a music video for fans of 'The Self Preservation Society' and a deleted scene which I've seen on both VHS and DVD releases in the past involving skating minis, it's very graceful but you appreciate why it was left out of the film.
In a nutshell: With Noel Coward a relic of a bygone age when people stood at the sound of the national anthem, Michael Caine epitomising the British film industry during the sixties along with the iconography of the mini - and all set during an England football victory over Italy, could any other film represent `cool Britannia' better than this? The fact that it flopped in America makes it even more of a British gem. Oh, and it contains the greatest ever car chase sequence ever committed to celluloid. This is one of the most entertaining films I have ever watched and this Blu-Ray release bundles it with a bunch of extra features to extend the entertainment value even further.
on 23 January 2003
By the number of voters on each review of this film, I have the impression that maybe a lot of younger people (ie students, possibly?) have heard a lot about this film but are unsure whether to buy it, because of its age. Well, as a 22 year old, let me tell you: it is DEFINITELY worth buying.
Like a lot of you, I imagine, I was sceptical that the film's age (it was made in 1969) would detract from its quality. It doesn't at all. The Italian Job is one of the funniest, sharpest and exciting films ever made.
The plot centres around Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) and his motley crew who plan to steal $4m worth of gold bullion by causing a huge traffic jam in Turin. The Turin scenes in particular are fantastically shot and very picturesque. Caine, surprisingly, does not steal the show but is merely an important component in the brilliance of this film. Benny Hill's preoccupation with the larger woman is very amusing, as are the subtle one liners ("they went thataway", "you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off", etc.). The lovely Britt Ekland is a nice distraction from the chaos of the film. Much is made of Noel Coward's performance in this film as the corrupt police officer, Bridger, but he does not really add much to the film.
The pace of the film is always at a good tempo, where you think that if you miss a scene you've missed an important part, although the story is easy to understand.
As for the car chase scene...utterly hilarious and brilliant. It shows that big money effects are not always needed to make a good action film.
The cliffhanger (literally!) is amusing as well, and from the car chase to the end you will have a broad grin on your face. The scenery, the dialogue and the music have a very decadent Sixties feel about them.
This is a film that you will watch over and over again. It also annoys you when you think a dumbed-down American version is currently being made. The Englishness of this film is what makes it. Ritchie, Statham, Jones...on your bike you muppets.