Tag Archives: Peter Ustinov

Topkapi

1964

directed by: Jules Dassin

Oscars: Best Supporting Actor – Peter Ustinov

Picked this up over the weekend.  Decent heist movie.  Let’s go into it.

So this starts out on a massive LSD trip with weird colors, weird dialog, and a weird looking blonde foreign (older) chick.  And I thought to myself, ‘oh no, Mike, what kind of movie did you get? Some sort of Euro-Mod-Hippie incoherent mess of a movie.’  But then the titles roll, and no mention of any of this is made again. Or so it seemed for me.

So this move plays out (broadly) as a museum heist.  Long-time criminals (played by older blonde foreign chick & a dead ringer for the villain in The Mask) wait… I always get mixed up on what the villain from The Mask looks like… Ok, I’m back, nope not him.    AH HA! The villain from License to Kill.  And the Goonies. And to a certain extent, Die Hard…. well he played the FBI agent. Sorry about that, okay so these two basically hire a bunch of rag-tag amateurs to help burgle this knife from a Turkish … Sultan…Emperor…Tsar…Dude.  Enter Peter Ustinov as the bumbling grifter who gets in way over his head and is quickly apprehended by the Turkish Secret Police.  This is where the movie gets really good.  Because it seemed like 20 minutes in, he gets caught , and welp, that’s all she wrote.  But he, as Catherine Zeta Jones did in Entrapment, is (everyone all together) “playing both sides”.

Hijnks ensue.  It’s mostly a “will they (the secret police) find out? / will the bandits get away with it?”  .  Not many places to go at the end , plot-wise.

Beautiful cinescapes of Istanbul in the 60’s though.  Worth checking out for Pete Ustinov’s performance and fans of heist movies (Who isnt?) and fans of Turkey/Greece.

Oh and Mission Impossible totally rips off the ‘dangling Tom Cruise from above and lowering him because he can’t touch the floor’ from this movie.

Underrated Actors: Ustinov won the Academy Award (must have been a slow Oscars year), Robert Morley as the old British guy that made toys… nah, not really.

 

 

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