Michael Caine is still enormously charismatic as a cheeky con in a release that confirms the enduring brio of this crime caper
All films now have to be inspected for Brexit resonance, and it’s pretty much inescapable here. The much-loved Brit crime caper The Italian Job is this week rereleased 50 years on. A feline young Michael Caine plays Charlie Croker, the cheeky cockney scamp who plans to pinch a fortune in gold bullion from an armoured car convoy in Turin, having fixed the traffic lights to create gridlock preventing police pursuit, and using as cover the thousands of English football fans in the city for an away fixture with Italy. (At the time we were still glowing from our 1966 World Cup victory.)
But first he must get the go-ahead from ageing crimelord Mr Bridger, played by Noël Coward, who runs things from his prison cell. Charlie tells him it’s a patriotic attack on “Europe … the Common Market … Italy … the Fiat car company …” Mr Bridger is convinced by Charlie and incidentally notes that all those football fans could be counted on “to help him if required”.