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Topkapi (UA 1964, Peter Ustinov, Robert Morley)

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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.

production details
USA | United Artists | 119 minutes | 1964
Director: Jules Dassin
Script: Eric Ambler, Monja Danischewsky,

cast
Robert Morley as Cedric Page
Peter Ustinov as Arthur Simon Simpson
Titos Vandis as Harback
Melina Mercouri as Elizabeth Lipp
Maximilian Schell as Walter Harper
Gilles Ségal as Giulio
Jess Hahn as Hans
Akim Tamiroff as Gerven the Cook
Joe Dassin as Joseph
Ege Ernart as Major Ali Tufan
Senih Orkan as First Shadow
Ahmet Danyal Topatan as Second Shadow

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