on 20 October 2014
THE ITALIAN JOB [1969 / 2009] [40th Anniversary Special Edition] [Blu-ray] A Film That Exuberantly Celebrates The Fact That It’s Ace Being British!
Join Sir Michael Caine and his gang of crooks for the ultimate British caper movie packed with fast cars, beautiful girls and swinging 60’s action. In his final screen appearance, Sir Noel Coward joyfully sends up his own patriotic persona, and there are small though priceless cameos from the likes of Irene Handl and John Le Mesurier.
‘The Italian Job’ 40th Anniversary Special Edition blows the doors off with astonishing array of BRAND NEW extras, including EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH SIR MICHAEL CAINE, QUINCY JONES and others, as the tell us what really happened making ‘The Italian Job.’ PLUS HOST OF STUNTS, MINIS and MORE, in this thrilling set of DEFINITIVE DOCUMENTARIES and COMMENTARIES.
FILM FACT: The music for the soundtrack was written by Quincy Jones. The opening theme, "On Days Like These", had lyrics by Don Black and was sung by Matt Monro. The closing theme, "Get a Bloomin' Move On" (aka "The Self Preservation Society"), was performed by the cast and had lyrics featuring Cockney Rhyming Slang. Many incidental themes are based on British patriotic songs, such as "Rule, Britannia!", "The British Grenadiers" and "God Save the Queen," and lead actor Sir Michael Caine is among its singers. Although it received a Golden Globe® nomination for "Best English-Language Foreign Film," the film was not a success in America. Sir Michael Caine blamed its failure on unattractive and misleading advertising. As a result, plans for a sequel were shelved.
Cast: Sir Michael Caine, Sir Noël Coward, Benny Hill, Raf Vallone, Tony Beckley, Rossano Brazzi, Margaret Blye, Irene Handl, John Le Mesurier, Fred Emney, John Clive, Graham Payn, Michael Standing, Stanley Caine, Barry Cox, Harry Baird, George Innes, John Forgeham, Robert Powell, Derek Ware, Frank Jarvis, David Salamone, Richard Essame, Mario Valgoi, Renato Romano, Franco Norvelli, Robert Rietti, Timothy Bateson, David Kelly, Arnold Diamond, Simon Dee, Alastair Hunter, Lana Gatto, John Morris, Louis Mansi, Hazel Collinson (uncredited), Lelia Goldoni (uncredited), Frank Kelly (uncredited), Valerie Leon (uncredited) and Henry McGee (uncredited)
Director: Peter Collinson
Producers: Michael Deeley, Robert Porter and Stanley Baker
Screenplay: Troy Kennedy Martin
Composer: Quincy Jones
Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Anamorphic]
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: Dolby Digital Mono, French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish
Running Time: 95 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: In this classic crime film, small-time crook Charlie Croker [Sir Michael Caine] organises a motley group of thieves to steal four million worth of gold bullion from an armoured car in Turin, Italy. The mastermind of the heist is Mr. Bridger [Sir Noel Coward], an experienced convict who has come up with the idea, but can't take part in its execution because he's in jail. To pull off the plan, the gang must tie up traffic in the centre of the city to divert attention from the robbery, and ultimately make off with their booty undetected. The caper leads to one of the most exciting and fantastic automobile chases ever filmed.
I can’t stress enough how wonderfully, quintessentially ‘60s ‘The Italian Job’ is. The cars, the clothes, the music, the camera work, the exuberance. And the women, ironed down hair, goofy underwear, and every one of them as beautiful as a Bond girl, with even less dialogue. Because the film is essentially quirky British attitude, the robbery is not simply a capitalist venture. The heist comes across, however vaguely and misguidedly, as the last hurrah of some youthful social rebellion. The films light-hearted tone turns briefly revolutionary as the lad's club police officers and smash pickaxe handles through cop car windshields. ‘The Italian Job’ also makes light of the antagonism Britain has always had with the rest of Europe, especially with “bloody foreigners” one of the crooks mutters as he wanders Italy. Words and phrases like “anarchy” and “angry young man” would not be inappropriate. This was the 1960s, after all, when even action movies were allowed to have social commentary.
Enter the legendary Sir Michael Caine, in one sharp suit after another, whose name is deservedly painted like the Union Jack in the re-release trailer. He plays Charlie Croaker, fresh from prison with absolutely no compunction about turning to crime again. The prize is a half-ton of gold being transported through a giant traffic jam in Turin during an Italy-UK soccer match. To this end, Croaker enlists a small army of Cockney crooks, and soon it’s “bloomin’” this and “bloody” that as the lads soup up three mini Coopers. There’s bugger-all we can do about it as we’re off to Italy where our heroes can short out computerized video cameras, cross the Mafia, and walk nonchalantly past jaw-dropping Renaissance architecture. The movie doesn’t bother developing the gang too much; Tony Beckley is the prissy one, Stanley Caine (Michael’s brother) is the lummox, and Benny Hill is… well, Benny Hill, and let’s all thank God for that.
Blu-ray Video Quality – This is a 100% top of the shelf image from Paramount Pictures on this classic brilliant British film. All the stunning 1080p encode image and with the breath taking 2.35:1 [Anamorphic] aspect ratio has a stunning bright, happy colours, and impressively high detail for a film celebrating its 40th Anniversary, which you would thought was filmed today. It shows some depth, strong contrast and black levels. It looks almost brand new and seems to have greatly benefited from the move to hi-def. The visuals approach the spectacular with over 26 Gig being filled on the dual-layered disc for the feature film. All in all Paramount Pictures has done a sterling impressive job.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – On the English language front we have a brilliant 5.1 TrueHD Master Audio Surround mix or you have the option for the restored mono track. The disc starts by giving you a choice of about a dozen different languages for menus and optional DUBs and subs. I'm usually a fan of the original but I switched to the 5.1 TrueHD mix as it gives you a much more natural sound and it suited the film well with so many more subtle effect noise and sympathetic music tones sounding crisp and clean. The car chase scenes are dramatic and evenly separated with some action to the rear speakers.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin and Mathew Field, author of "The Making of The Italian Job": A great, very informative commentary. The two gentlemen discuss the history of the film, what it took to get it made, how it resonated with critics and audiences.
Audio Commentary: Commentary by producer Michel Deeley and Matthew Field, author of "The Making of The Italian Job": A new commentary recorded for the special edition of the film. Once again, a wealth of information is supplied.
Special Feature: Self-Preservation Society: Making of The Italian Job  [1080p] [89:00] A selection of behind-the-scenes episodes where many of those who were involved with the film talk about its history, legacy, appeal, style, etc. and is a terrific brilliant supplemental feature. Contributors include Don Black, John Clive, Hazel Collinson, Michael Deeley, Frank Jarvis, Disley Jones, Troy Kennedy-Martin, Douglas Slocombe, John Trumper, Derek Ware and Philip Wrestler. Narrated by Lancelot Narayan. Directed by Lancelot Narayan and Matthew Field. Screenplay by Lancelot Narayan and Matthew Field. Music by Quincy Jones. Cinematography by John Hazell.
Special Feature: Mini Adventures  [1080p] [17:00] A celebration of what many regard as the true star of The Italian Job, the Mini, which is enthused over by stunt driver Russ Swift, whose career as the leader of a Mini display team was inspired by his love affair with the film, ‘The Italian Job’ director Peter Collinson's son and self-confessed Mini fanatic Tara Collinson, and vehicle suppliers, drivers and actors in the film Barry Cox and David Salamone. Directed by Daniel Skinner and Matthew Field. Music by Quincy Jones. Cinematography by Iain Ovenden and Nick Barnett.
Special Feature: Music Video [1080p] [4:00] The Self-Preservation Society. Get a Bloomin' Move On (aka The Self-Preservation Society as it is sometimes referred to) originated from old East End tunes like My Old Man's a Dustman. Quincy had a fascination with Cockney rhyming slang, he found it very funny and apparently created it for the amusement of the production team.
Special Feature: The Deleted Scene with Commentary by author Matthew Field [480i] [2:00] The only deleted scene from the film is deconstructed by Matthew Field.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [3:14] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘The Italian Job.’ When The Italian Job was released in the UK, it didn't receive many blistering reviews; in fact it was quite the opposite. The British film review press elite thought it to be unpolished and rather rude. Despite the bad press, many individual cinemas put in a lot of work to promote the film displaying Mini Coopers on stairways and even on the roof of foyers. Even though it wasn't a smash hit, it was nominated for a Golden Globe for 'Best English Language Foreign Film' in 1969.
Re-Release Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [1:45] Back in 1969, little did the critics know that The Italian Job would become a full blown cult movie with later reviews of its re-release on the 10th September 1999 being nothing short of fan-bloody-tastic. In an interview with The Sunday Times, writer Troy Kennedy Martin had a stab at explaining why the film had become such a success 30 years on “Much of the reason why it's so fashionable right now is today's "Loaded culture," which has made it alright to be a lad again.”
Finally, this is such a fun film and Sir Michael Caine is totally perfect. ‘The Italian Job’ is a fun British Comedy Caper. Excellent performances, and one of the most memorable car chases ever filmed make this a very enjoyable movie. Paramount presents this film in a special collector’s edition with some interesting added features. The menu sequence is also nicely done, with a 3D animated rendering of the three Minis. This Blu-ray is close to perfect impeccable image transfer, great audio options and, possibly, the most complete extras of the year. Super job Paramount and Wow - what a package! The other amazing aspect of this film, is hearing the silky smooth voice of the amazing British Singer Matt Monro singing over the opening credits, that was composed by Quincy Jones, and includes "On Days Like These" and the lyrics were penned by Don Black, another brilliant Brit. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso