Topkapi (United Artists 1964, Peter Ustinov, Akim Tamiroff)


In Topkapi a team of daring (and quite amusing) thieves contrive a diabolically clever plot to steal a priceless dagger decorated with four dazzling emeralds from the Topkapi Palace Museum in Turkey.

Melina Mercouri and Maximilian Schell enlist electronics expert Robert Morley, acrobat Gilless Segal, muscleman Jess Hahn, and bumbling driver Peter Ustinov for their scheme. Though Ustinov turns informer, all goes well (including a dangling stunt to avoid the floor-wired alarm that must have been borrowed by the writers of 1996’s Mission: Impossible) until a bird blows their cover. A tongue-in-cheek caper from director Jules Dassin based on Eric Ambler’s The Light of Day.

In fact Bruce Geller, the creator of the hit TV series, Mission: Impossible (1966-73), has acknowledged that his show was inspired by the intricate plotting and action of this movie.

Cast: Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Gilles Segal, Robert Morley, Akim Tamiroff, Peter Ustinov, Jess Hahn,

Producer and Director: Jules Dassin
Director of Photography: Henri Alekan
Editor: Roger Dwyre
Composer: Manos Hadjidakis
Screenwriters: Monja Danischewsky, Gilles Segal
Art Director: Max Douy

USA / United Artists / 122 minutes / 1964

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