How To Steal A Million (1966 with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole)

UK – USA / 1966

Director: William Wyler
Writer: Harry Kurnitz, from a story by George Bradshaw

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach. Hugh Griffith, Charles Boyer, Fernard Gravet, Marcel Dalio, Jacques Marin

Harry Kurnitz contributes a spritely screenplay, based on a story by George Bradshaw, and Hugh Griffith is well cast as a Frenchman who for years has been forging unknown masterpieces by great painters, to the continuing despair of his daughter Audrey Hepburn. But vanity and hubris overtake him and he allows his Cellini Venus (created by his grandfather) to go on view in a Paris gallery. Important art critic Charles Boyer, suspicious of items in Griffith’s collection, engages private detective Peter O’Toole to investigate and, when he breaks into Griffith’s home, he is apprehended by Hepburn who mistakes him for a burglar and proceeds to hire him to steal the Cellini Venus from the gallery before insurance inspectors can pronounce it a fake.

The story was very much in the style of such perfect crime capers as Rififi and Topkapi , given a high gloss by the skill and professionalism of the performers and Wyler’s attention to mood and detail. “Miss Hepburn”, wrote The Times , “is, as ever, charming” and, stated The Sun , “She is always enchanting in this type of sophisticated comedy and here she enchants again. O’Toole, who has all the best lines anyway, relaxes into a neatly timed and attractive performance.”

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